The above appeared on my Facebook timeline the other day, which in turn got me thinking about when I am asked how I am feeling by others during my everyday life.
The question “How are you?”, is one in which is particularly hard for us who are chronically unwell. How on earth do we answer in a few short words? How can we answer, when we ourselves are often confused over our own feelings.
And then there’s the whole range of symptoms that we have to live with on a daily basis – tiredness, aches and pains, headaches, nausea, dizziness and the list goes on and on….
Plus, many of the symptoms, that I and other spoonies out there, the severity of the symptoms often varies from day-to-day; often changing moment to moment, and so describing exactly how we are feeling may take some explaining! And many people, are then afraid of the awkward silences that may follow the answer, when we decide to divulge the truth of how we are; friends not knowing what to say or how to respond to the realities of being chronically unwell. Then there are other people, who like to offer their advice; often advice which is well-meaning and is offered with the best intentions, but only come off as being condescending and patronising, such as “You need to get out more, it’s probably just stress, and staying in, probably isn’t helping your condition”, there are many more examples – too many to mention here!
Perhaps we should come up with a new greeting for those living with a chronic illness, perhaps something like “You look well, I hope you are as well as to be expected…”