How are you doing?
Before I became sick, whenever people asked me “how are you doing”, my answer was always good or great—and that was the truth. I could answer without hesitation. I was happy, healthy, and had much to be thankful for.
After over a year and a half of being sick, this has become one of my least favorite questions. I never know how to answer—do I tell them how I’m really doing, or do I just tell them what they want to hear? Whenever I tell people I’m doing well, I feeling like I’m lying through my teeth. But most of the time, I want to avoid bringing attention to my health problems, so I say it anyways. Plus, nobody likes a “downer.”
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with asking this question, everyone means well. But every time it’s asked I have this sinking feeling inside, because I’m reminded of how I’m actually not doing well.
A few months ago, I was at a party and I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in years. We talked for a while, and then he looked at me and said, “Rachael, you just seem different—something’s wrong.” He went on to tell me that I don’t seem to have the same excitement for life in my eyes.
That really hit me hard because I knew what he said was so true. I was full of life before I became ill, and now I just struggle to make it through everyday.
As much as it hurt to hear, it was actually relieving to know that somebody noticed that something was wrong. Somebody cared.
One thing I’ve learned from having chronic illness is this: pay attention and listen to those around you. Learn how they’re really doing, because they will appreciate you taking the time to listen and show you care.
As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments below.
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