How are you?

You might hear these three little words a lot throughout any given day. Or, if like me you suffer with mental illness, it seems that others rarely say these three words. 

Since my breakdown last year, I have noticed that the majority of my friends never ask me how I am. For someone like me, who is a caring and sensitive person, this is hard to deal with. Whenever I speak to one of my friends, I always ask how they are. I genuinely care how my friends are. 

So why don’t my friends ask me how I am? Am I reading into this too much? 

Maybe they are too afraid with how I will respond to this simple question. That I will tell them things they don’t want to hear or not know how to respond to. But every time I am having a conversation and my friend fails to ask how I am it hurts. 

The majority of the time I am fighting an internal battle with the thoughts in my head. These thoughts tell me that I am worthless, no one cares and that I will end up alone to name but a few. I spend a lot of time listening to my friends. They are quick to get in touch with me when things aren’t going well. Yet they don’t reciprocate. They don’t give me an opportunity to talk about how things are with me. This then backs up the negative thoughts I have about myself. 

I am not suggesting that I want an indepth discussion about the goings on in my head every time I am talking with a friend. But a small interest in how I am can help alleviate the battle in my head, even if it is temporary. 

The reason I am posting this today is because it is World Mental Health Awareness Day. If you know someone is struggling with mental illness please make sure you ask how they are. Sometimes you might not get much of a response which is fine. But you might help someone feel able to open up to you and help make the burden of mental illness just that little bit lighter. 

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26 thoughts on “How are you?

  1. Far too often, “How are you” is used as a cursory question like saying hello or commenting on the weather, when it really needs to be used just as frequently, but with genuine care, not as an automatic response.

    This may seem a silly way to comment on this post, but I’m ending it this way nonetheless and I actually do mean it.

    How are you?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Jo says:

    Love this post. I believe you are right when you say that people are scared about what you will say if they ask. Some feel that it is most likely you will be in a dark place and so asking how you are would only make things worse as you would start thinking all those negative things. It happens to me too. Some are just rude in that they already know what you will say and don’t want to play a broken record. Some just don’t care. But it’s hard to tell which is which. Just remember that while we may be strangers, we care how you are. I wouldn’t be following you on here otherwise!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jo. I just feel that the stigma around mental health is fuelled when people don’t take the time to talk about how someone is feeling. Hope you are ok x

      Like

      • Haha sounds good. I am also chilling in my pyjamas at the moment. I’m ok. Been a bit up and down the past few days. Hoping that spending time with a friend of ours will help x

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I am sorry you are dealing with that. At times I am conflicted with how to say this to friends that are ill because years ago a close friend had breast cancer and she used to be so frustrated because people treated her like the disease instead of her old self. Maybe its that, quite possible people are just confused on how to address it, like those awkward moments when you are trying to be supportive when someone is grieving. I have come to discover people do not always know how to support someone through the difficult time, be it mental illness or any struggle. I hope you are surrounded by love and care!
    I do agree that people should express a genuine interest in you and your well-being. It is painful when someone does not afford you the same love and concern you have given them!
    So how are you doing today otherwise? I hope this finds you well!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You raise some good points. I want to be treated as me rather than anxiety or depression. Thankfully my family keep in touch with me and take the time to check how I am.

      I am doing ok today. Been a bit up and down but I am having a nice weekend with Dave and our dachshund Walter. How are you? x

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for asking! It has been a rough couple of weeks but I am getting my footing.

        I understand your concern about being treated as yourself! So often we forget to appreciate those in our lives and to see them, their heart, who they are not what they are struggling with!

        Take care. Hope you have peaceful journey!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I understand you completely, and I’ve learned a long time ago that many people don’t truly understand mental illness. To most, it’s just an abstract diagnosis. From my perspective, (since I suffer from depression and anxiety/panic), people who know you suffer from depression, just know that you’re depressed. When I think about depression, I think of hopelessness, despair, loss of purpose etc. most people try to just act like you’re okay because it possibly makes them uncomfortable or more than likely, they don’t understand the pain because they don’t experience it; they get sad and usually have a reason so they talk about it openly, and expect you would do the same. ..My point is, it’s not that people don’t care, and like you said, you know that, but unless they feel the same way, they just don’t get it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for commenting. One of my friends has said that she is always here for me whenever I need to talk. Maybe this is how my other friends are too? You are definitely right that most people just don’t get what it is like for me suffering with anxiety and depression. I hope you’re well x

      Like

  5. Sadly, this is all too true. And when they do ask, they don’t mean it. “I’m doing a lot better,” is what they want to hear. Not, “actually, I’m doing pretty badly, I had a panic attack today and still want to kill myself.”
    But they know the first answer isn’t going to be likely, so they avoid it all together.
    It’s nothing personal, I honestly think most people with mental illness experience it. Because other people don’t want to have to worry, and we don’t want to worry them. It’s not a healthy approach, is it?

    Liked by 1 person

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