Doing OK = Not Good or Bad

Fourteen days I’ve been out of the hospital. I lost count, but my MyFitnessPal app keeps track of how many days I’ve logged in, and since I log in every day…

okFourteen days I’ve been asked, “How are you doing?” or something of the same ilk. And I almost always answer, hesitantly, “I’m doing OK.” I hope my hesitation gives the impression that I am doing neither good nor bad, but somewhere in the middle. Something like, “I’m managing, but there are still symptoms.” I suppose it would be better not to assume people jump from, “I’m OK” to “I’m managing, but there are still symptoms.”

I’m not sure why I find it hard just to say the latter rather than risk someone thinking OK means Good. For some people I’d like to brush over the question, as I again assume that the person doesn’t really want to hear about all my symptoms. (I’m doing a lot of assuming!) <i’m doing=”” an=”” awful=”” lot=”” of=”” assuming!=””>It’s easier for me to let that person think I’m not in immediate danger and everything is alright. Again, I’m assuming people don’t want to hear how I’m really doing. Culturally we often ask each other, “How are you doing?” and expect the answer “Fine” or “Good.” Perhaps I’m leaning on that idiom and hope that my saying “OK” means “Not exactly good.”

Other people I’ll say “OK” to, and then expand on that. They are my circle of support. It’s important for me to be honest with them, no matter hard it is. I even still find it hard sometimes to be honest with my psychiatrist or therapist, the two people I need to be the most honest with, especially when it comes to my safety! And those times are the times when I find it the hardest to say I was rehearsing or I’m obsessing and I can’t handle it anymore.

And that’s the same information my support system needs in order for them to give me the wake-up call, “It’s time for a higher level of care.” Truth is that I still feel like a burden to these friends, having landed on their doorsteps and then promptly have a mental illness blow up in my face, complete with neediness of friends in the area since family is elsewhere. Guilt is a terrible feeling to add on top of truth about how I’m doing. Therefore, I try not to say, “I’m OK” to these people, and if I do, to follow it up immediately with some details – at least that symptoms are low or high or manageable.

Truth is hard.

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9 responses to “Doing OK = Not Good or Bad

  1. I wish you the best of luck, keep fighting

  2. Truth IS hard. But you will be okay. Just work on being okay. I believe in you.

  3. I hate the “How are you?” question. I hate that it’s a greeting that really doesn’t mean what it says usually. Unless I’m really good, which doesn’t happen often, I have no idea how to handle it. “My mood is okay, but my pain levels are high.” “I got zero sleep and haven’t been eating, but at least I’m out of bed.” “I’ve been thinking of hurting myself.” Not really the answers to throw off the cuff in passing at the grocery store.

    Fine or okay aren’t the truth, but neither is the question. I try to remember that.

    Thanks for writing. I’ve struggled with depression for many years (as well as many other mental health issues). I was just diagnosed with Bipolar II last week. I’m still finding my way.

    • Yeah, “I’m thinking of hurting myself” doesn’t work for off the cuff, even if it is the truth.
      I hope the new diagnosis will help with more effective treatment. Diagnosis helped me, and I continue learning that it’s just a part of me.

  4. I can totally relate. “How am I doing” is a question I truely like to avoid. I too feel like you in that I feel flat with no real feeling of good or bad. I also don’t like the question because it usually leads to “what are you up to these days?” Which I also dislike like since my world revolves around trying to keep my head above water and just cope; meanwhile knowing my friends all have lives with many pluses and activities going on. I fell your discomfort and hope you continue to move forward and fight for change.

  5. I did a post similar to this about a year or so ago. “How you doin'” drives me nuts. I made a commitment then that I would stop doing it and just say “hell,” or “good morning,” or whatever…so far, I think I’ve done pretty well. Heaven forbid anyone who honestly answers, “How you doin'”

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