Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Can't I smile???

One of the hardest questions that is asked to someone in chronic pain is "how are you?" The reason this is hard is because the answer incriminates you! If I say in responce to a casual, "How are you?" ... "Good!" with a smile on my face then people assume that because I said: "Good" that I am suddenly cured of all my pain! If I say, "not so good" and have a depresses look on my face, people assume that because of my pain I am suicidal or something! It often feels like there is no safe answer! Sometimes when I say: "Good", people will even follow that up with: "Oh so you're feeling better then!?" To which I often don't want to make them sad by telling them that I am still in as much pain as ever .. but i don't want to lie either! Sometimes, to the questioner I feel like yelling: "DON'T I HAVE A RIGHT TO BE HAPPY WHILE I AM IN PAIN???" To me people who think that I cannot possible be truly happy while in pain are looking at life too shallow! Life is deep, and true happiness is so much more than having everything you ever wanted or being pain free!!! In fact, I think that my pain makes my happiness deeper if I alow it to! I DO have a right to smile .. and I will continue to smile til my dying day!

What do you say to people who ask. "How are you doing?" Any clever combacks?


  1. I struggle with this EVERY day! I DREAD the "how are you" questions. I'm often to say, "doing the best I can, struggling but blessed-how are you doing?" And then when they are like, "well, how are you feeling?" I'm like "struggling and working hard on feeling good- and feeling good about working on it." I feel like people are Constantly evaluating how they think you feel...and commenting on it. AHHH!!! Glad to hear someone else voice all of this. lol.

  2. Hi Ali, This is my first time commenting, so I wanted to say hi and thank you for writing this so far all year - I've been reading along and nodding a lot - you're a very encouraging read and a reminder to stay cheery!

    For me, I sometimes reply with something vague - like "oh you know, same old same old" or even more vague like "isn't it cold today!" I figure most people who ask me aren't *really* asking me - they are doing the "greetings" how are you and there are lots of other acceptable "greetings" responses that no one notices if you don't answer their "greeting" - if that makes sense! It's funny how no one tends to notice that I've totally failed to answer their question!

  3. Good thoughts ladies!! And so true Helen - sometimes people are not asking really how you are doing it's just a greeting... and Lucy I love your responces to when people really are asking! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hi there
    I have a chronic illness, a skin condition called ichthyosis (scaly red skin, affecting my skin and many other aspects of my health), and generally I am well. But there are days when I am in so much pain, and it is really hard to say I am not well. Often people try to look for signs that I am not well - that I am redder, or look sad, but this can be difficult, because I don't really think I look much different. Those without the pain don't understand.
    I like your blog.