"How Are You?"
A simple question and a standard greeting between loved ones and strangers. What a frustrating question to answer when you have a Fibromyalgia but more so when you have depression and anxiety, Invisible for anyone who doesn't "really know us". Although the signs are there, if someone cares enough to look closer.
Do I answer, "good, thanks... how are you?" "I'm not feeling good today" or do I answer honestly?
No one wants to hear someone moan and groan all the time, and personally, I probably don't want to talk about me or my problems, I'm not that interesting!
"How are you?" is such a loaded question when you "never feel well". In my experience ... everyone falls into one of two categories.
These people only want to hear "good, how are you?". Obviously, strangers or mild acquaintances fit nicely into this category, making it an easy question to answer.
They are asking because they honestly, and truly want to hear my thought and feelings. These people should be those closest to us, family and friends.
In the time and moment, everyone falls into these two category's. Some strangers will care and more times then not, family and friends won't care. We want to believe more people fall into the second category but the truth is, most don't!
CHECKING THE MOTIVATION
Anxiety makes me question the motivation behind the question, to question WHY this person is asking "How are you?" to begin with.
Is this person just being polite? Obviously, someone you don't know well falls here... my answer is always, "good thanks, and you?", again, being polite.
Are they listening to respond or to listen? This is the majority of people... they are waiting for the "how are you" back. They want to tell you about there vacation, kids, pets, jobs and lives. They want to talk about themselves.
Do they really want to know?
Does this person have a personal relationship with me? Do I feel safe with this person, in the moment? Everyone hopes they have family and friends that when asked, is coming from a genuine place and they are truly want to hear us!
These are the thoughts that race through my anxious mind whenever anyone asks "How are you?" Anxiety makes me question exactly WHY you are asking...
The why is important, do they want to know for me or for them? How do I feel about this?
Do they need or want something? Am I going to need to commit to something? Do they need an answer right now? What's in it for them?
Do they just want a quick update on symptoms? Has something new happened? Do they just want test result? Are they asking about medication?
Do they want to cause drama? Are they going to repeat what I say? Are they asking because they feel they should?
Are they asking "can I do anything?" Do they want to offer help, but don't know how? Do I want help? Do I need it?
Are they going to judge me? Are they really asking "what do you do all day?"
Do they see or know something I don't?
How are you?
What are you really asking? Why me?