Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How Are You?

A simple question for anyone who isn’t chronically ill becomes a difficult one when you are constantly in pain. It is a common greeting that many ask without expecting much deviation from the standard response of “good, and you?” 

Do people really want to know? When passing by people you know and they ask, there usually isn’t time for more than a few syllables anyway. So, how should we answer?

Some say we should answer truthfully, because honesty is the best policy or be shouldn’t have to put on a happy face for others. 

Others may not want to sound glum all the time. If we answer truthfully, people may get tired of hearing that we are not feeling good. It may push people away, and we already have a hard enough time making and keeping friends.

I have heard some creative answers, as this seems to be a frequent discussion question. Some like to avoid the question by changing the subject. Some give different answers to different people, depending on how well they know them and whether they really want to know. 

There seem to be so many different opinions on how to answer such a simple question. And sometimes I think it is sad that we actually have to put so much thought into it, while healthy people don’t have to give the question a second thought.

I know I have rationalized my answer. I fall into the not wanting to sound glum category and automatically respond with a “good, and you?” But also being a honest person who doesn’t believe that we should have to pretend to feel good when we don’t, I figured out how this answer can be the honest one for me.

I figure the question is relative. If I am well enough to be out of the house, have someone over, or answer the phone, then it is a good day for me. Good for me isn’t the same as good for someone else. So when I answer that I am good, I truly believe I am having a good day because I am comparing it to my bad days. 

Being chronically ill, I felt the need to change my definition of feeling good. Changing my definition also helps keep me positive. I think I might get depressed if I let myself think that everyday is a bad one. Comparing everyday to my really bad days makes the rest of the days seem better.

That is what works for me. Of course, we are all different and need to answer the question in a way that makes each of us feel comfortable. How do you answer the question?