Saturday, October 3, 2015

How Are You?

Somehow those three innocuous little words have become one of the most dreaded questions in my existence. One would think "How old are you?" would rub me much wronger, given the youth-obsessed culture we feed off of like vampires here in good ol' America. Strangely enough, given all I've survived in my younger years, I'm actually quite proud to confess to my thirty-nine years of existence. "How much do you weigh?" should hit me as pretty offensive too, but considering I'm down about 100 lbs. from my all-time prednisone/Lyrica high, and pump so much iron I can easily stuff my folds of remaining elephant skin into a svelte size six, I'll gladly tell the world I still weigh in at a walloping 148 lbs. 

But "How are you?" is a different matter entirely, because I'm seldom fine. Yet this little pleasantry is how every single encounter starts, with every single person I cross paths with, every single day of my life, forcing me to either lie or complain, neither of which I'm comfortable doing. In fact I'm not just uncomfortable doing so, I kinda refuse to answer. Not to a customer at work, where I'm being paid to represent the company, not my personal problems, but pretty much everyone else. For to lie is to betray myself and my reality, which after ten years of living sick every day I just can't do anymore, but to complain opens an even bigger can of worms.

Complaining makes me weak. It makes my problems everyone else's problems, which they aren't. Grumbling about how horrible I feel, or bad I slept, or the amount of pain I'm in only makes my reality more horrible, tired, or painful. Living with chronic illness means in order to get through life I have to ignore the internal alarms my body is blaring and instead talk about things I couldn't care less about, like Donald Trump or how badly my hair needs a trim. Therefore, the very last thing I can do is answer somebody's pleasant, mindless inquiry into the status of my state of being. "How are you?" is far too personal of a greeting for polite conversation, in my book. When I see you, tell me you're happy to see me, or that it's a nice day outside, or how pissed off you are at your husband, but please, for the love of all things holy, take pity on this sick girl and don't ask me how I am. 

Thanks for joining,
Leah

#fibromyalgia #chronicillness #fibro #fibroblog            

10 comments:

  1. Just wanted to say that there are many responses available to you other than "I am fine." thus reducing you to lieing or complaining. How about "Oh hanging in there." Sometimes if I know the person I say "Oh hanging in there, barely....." Or how about "Well I'm here, haha, how are YOU?" thus deflecting your situation onto THEM and what person do you know who doesn't usually LOVE to talk about themself? Or "doing OK" "doing OK today" or "uh let's not talk about me, how are YOU." I am sure you can think of 25 other responses to say other than I AM FINE, when you are not.

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  2. Leah, I wholeheartedly agree. Usually, before I was sick, I would say, "I'm fine" and really mean it. However, there is something so grating, when you cannot utter those words, "I'm fine". When everything inside is screaming..."I AM NOT FINE!" It becomes very personal! As a nurse, I know very well that people are not "fine" even if they don't look sick! Hang in there! I really appreciate you candor!

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  3. You are so right. I also hate "You're looking better."
    I used to feel the same way about "That isn't bad "about something I did. That comment isn't worth wasting air. I agree with your choice. I just let it blow past me. They don't know or care about my reality and don't want or need a response.

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  4. On days that I feel good I run my self ragged trying to prove to everyone that I am fine knowing deep inside that I'm really not....which then puts me into my bed for two days in pain and feeling helpless when I should be up being a wife, mother and friend. I am married to the love of my life, I have to wonderful boys and a family that would do anything for me....it is so hard explaining to them that "I just don't feel good" when I was up grocery shopping, cleaning the house and hitting the gym the day before. I don't know how I came across this page...Google I suppose ... But it's nice to know that I'm not alone. I know when I'm going through a flare up and instead of fighting my way through it some days I just medicate and stay in bed. Other days I cry....because all I want is to feel better and live a normal life.

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    1. To the lady that wrote this comment.... You just described my life...like exactly.
      I don't know anyone in real life with fibromyalgia. So I end up online looking for..answers/help/hope?
      I can't relate to the term flare up because it has yet to "flare down" It's so difficult to mother my boys through fibromyalgia.

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  5. I am right there with you on "fine". If it's a close friend, she knows fine is freaked out, in pain, neurotic and emotional. If it's a passing acquaintance I simply comment on the weather
    They REALLY don't want to know. Hang in there. You are so not alone in being not fine.

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  6. I am right there with you on "fine". If it's a close friend, she knows fine is freaked out, in pain, neurotic and emotional. If it's a passing acquaintance I simply comment on the weather
    They REALLY don't want to know. Hang in there. You are so not alone in being not fine.

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  7. I lie about 15 times a day when I am at work. How are you? "I'm living the dream" is my go-to answer.

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  8. Do any of you guys do yoga for stretching???? Helps tremendously!!!

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