How Are You?

This is a loaded question for someone like me.

There are four types of people who ask this question and four different ways I have learned to answer it.

The casual acquaintance that has no idea that the wiring in your head seems to have been done by a 6-year-old. And not a very bright 6-year-old.

Them: “How are you?”

Me with a big smile: “Fine.”

Them: “Great!”

The well-meaning friend who kind of knows that you are some kind of crazy and a little part of them thinks it may be catchy.

Them: “How are you?” (usually whispered)

Me with a big smile: “Fine.”

Them: “Great!”

The very close friend or significant other who has witnesses it all. The one who drove you to the hospital. The one who worries. The one who you feel so guilty about because your crazy disrupts their life.

Them: “How are you?”

Me with a big smile: “Fine.”

Them: “Great!”

The person who knows what it is like to not be able to get out of bed. They understand that it is completely possible to just not be able to face the day. They are familiar with that feeling that starts in your chest and moves to your stomach. They know that it feels like that moment when you start your descent on a really big roller coaster. Not the fun kind of roller coaster. The kind that only goes downhill and doesn’t come to a complete stop for hours. The kind that you definitely shouldn’t be tall enough to ride. You may be lucky enough to have this person in your daily life. You may have never met this person, but they are a presence because you found support by reaching out on your computer.

Them: “How are you?”

Me with a big smile: “Fine”

Them: “Bullshit.”

Me: “I think I’m near my breaking point.”

Them: “You’ve got this. It is just your mind being an asshat. Want me to beat up your brain for being such a dick? I could totally do that. Taken your meds? Are you safe?”

Me: “Yes.”

Them: “Cool. Now tell me what that son of a bitch mind of yours did today. I hope it was really weird. After you are done, remind me to tell you about this one time my crazy had a case of crazy! It was epic.”

Me with the beginnings of a hint of a smile: “Ok.”

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7 thoughts on “How Are You?

  1. In Ireland we use the word “grand” all the time – not meaning posh but rather ahsureimfinenothingtocomplainabout. A friend of mine who also has bipolar said he says this when asked how he’s doing: “Ah..I’m grand. A bit of a struggle lately but getting there now.”…as a way of staying true to himself a little while still furnishing people with the answer they desire. Feels a bit better to say that I find. x

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