If you’ve ever heard me say “Just peachy, thanks,” and really listened, you would have heard sarcasm dripping from every syllable. Hiding my mental illness (although sometimes I do) has nothing to do with this phenomenon, I think it’s possibly human nature. As a society, I think we have become numb to the questions and ensuing answers relating to our health and wellness. “Hi, how are you?” has turned into more of a greeting than an actual question, it usually sounds like all one word, especially when said while the speaker is still walking. It has gone the way of “Have a nice day (ugh)” and “What’s new?” Rarely will I give an honest answer, because I don’t believe the person asking actually cares. Not to say we are an uncaring people, it’s just what it is. On the other side of the coin, I won’t ask the question if I don’t really want to know exactly how you are honestly feeling.
Before memes and the internet, during group therapy I learned that FINE can be an acronym: Fucked-up Insecure Neurotic Emotionally-unstable. Over the years it has evolved into a few different meanings, and quite often used jokingly. That one little word can be weighted with so much emotion just by the sound of our voice.
In my doodle, I tried to think of all the things I’ve said in response to such a query, I’m sure these aren’t all of them, feel free to add your own in the comments.
- Not too bad
- I’m surviving
- I’m still kicking/alive
- No worries
Once in a while I’ll throw in a “I’m feeling quite horrible, but thank you for asking,” just to see what type of reaction I’ll get.
What would happen if we all paused a moment, looked someone in the eyes, and meaningfully asked “How are you?” Maybe we could slow down with our busy lives, take a moment to step out of our own heads and problems, and really stop to listen how a co-worker, friend, neighbor, or family member really feels. Perhaps we could change the current state of humanity into a more caring environment, one kindness at a time.