‘How Are You’ can be one of the scariest questions in the world when you’re suffering from depression. It is a simple question that we ask each other every day. It is one of the most asked questions globally. No matter where in the world you are, and no matter who you meet, “how are you” is something you say involuntarily.
Of course, social norms dictate that the question should be asked in all circumstances, whether you’re best friends or total strangers.
But when you suffer from depression, question can be a knife through your heart or a stab in the back because of how you feel when depressed.
How does depression feel like a burden or how does someone answer the question ‘How are you doing’ when there’s no answer for it is very complicated. Answering these otherwise normal questions when you are not feeling entirely fine or explaining how you feel when depressed is just not easy.
Does it hurt? Does it take the depressed on a roller coaster of emotions or simply puts the depressed through hell?
Well, you asked, and Abudo answers. We get a range of questions about health-related inquiries everyday, and depression is an extremely common topic as it is most likely the most misunderstood. So here is what Abudo thinks you can do if you are suffering from depression and are asked “how are you?”.
How many times have you pretended to be okay when you’re crumbling inside and not able to tell how you feel when depressed?
Try these tips next to you come face-to-face with “How are you?”
In time, of course, some individuals battling depression become very good at answering it. Either brushing it off completely by answering ‘I’m fine’, to avoid the topic of choosing a more telling route such as responding “Not too bad, thanks”.
Notice the ‘too’.
What that really means is “I’m bad, but not too bad because I’m still… alive”. Or in other words, I’m struggling, but I’m making it through, so far. However, your response will most likely be determined by the person who is asking.
Here’s a quick guide on how to answer “how are you?” without hesitating.
3 STEPS to ANSWERING “HOW ARE YOU?”
1. Figure out the intent of the questioner
Sometimes, our emotions take over us. And even the most casual of questions feel like intentionally positioned ones, especially to annoy you!
Well that’s not true. Before you jump to any conclusions, you should try figuring out the intent of the questioner.
Sometimes people only literally mean “how are you?”. They don’t know what you are going through and won’t ask you once you have notified them. For such questioners you can simply say “I’m fine” or “I’m okay” if you want them to further inquire.
In case of people who intentionally pose “how are you?” at you to smartly rub how you feel when depressed in your face then snub them with a “I am doing fine, thank you. I have been strong and am getting better by the day”. “I do not like answering such questions though”.
Then, you need to:
2. Judge how answering the question will affect you
If telling someone you are okay will make you feel sad because you actually wanted them to inquire but they didn’t, then you need to structure your answer correctly. If you told someone you are not okay and they started bashing you for not being strong, that would make you miserable as well.
What you can do is see what makes you feel better. If you want to tell the truth, do that! If not, try hiding your feelings and do not repeatedly think over it.
Finally, the key is to:
3. Set Boundaries for Others
If you don’t want people intervening or asking you how are you over and over again, why not clarify it once and for all. Of course, it will be hard telling everyone off at once, but you can set boundaries and tell people how some questions offend you. Be open about it and see the change!
If you are still unsure about the answer, let Abudo help you with its 16-part depression course.
For more information on depression and its management, join the Abudo family.