“Are you okay?”


“How are you?”

I am okay, I say even though it isn’t the truth.

People always ask when they visit or call on the phone and my reply is a lie because of a few reasons!

First it is just something people feel they have to say, you can tell the difference when someone genuinely cares.

The main reason is that “I am okay” is an easy answer, because no one including me wants to actually hear how I am feeling because it’s old news now.

The truth is that I am mentally tired, tired of this battle with chronic pain every single minute of every single day and I am tired of the fact that everything takes so much bloody effort.

When I first became unwell people genuinely wanted to know, after all I had been physically healthy and then suddenly I was in cardiac care and then I was not physically okay and I was finally after a battle, diagnosed with ME or CFS as it is known as now.

People were concerned about my health but it is like anything in life, it quickly becomes yesterdays news and everyone moves on, except me!

I am stuck here in a Groundhog Day existence and every morning I wonder how I will get through the day and every night I ask myself “how long can I keep doing this?”

I know that I am not alone in this, I hear many other people with chronic health conditions who say they don’t bother to go into how they feel any more.

What this does is create isolation, you feel alone even if you are surrounded by people because no matter how much people care, they cannot fully understand the battle we go through, I am sure that sometimes even I don’t understand it.

It is very easy to get pissed of with people casually asking but doing so in an off the cuff manner, but I think they must find it very hard as well?

They want to say something, they feel they have to say something and yet they don’t want us to start reeling off a list of what hurts, how we physically and mentally feel.

Also we tend to only be seen out when we are having a good day or good few hours and so people can then assume that we are not as unwell or disabled as we say we are.

They don’t see the resulting flare up of pain, fatigue and other symptoms that we then have to endure because we dared to go out for a meal or to an event and did so with a smile on our face.

Plus social media doesn’t help, I am often seen in photos with a smile on my face but that is just a quick (fake) smile for the sake of a photo. I am trying to build my social media and that won’t happen if I look like a miserable old git in every photo.

I would love to hear in the comments how you handle this!

  • Do you have any tips for answering these unfelt enquiries?
  • Do you answer truthfully or just say I am fine?

By Zechariah Richardson

Over 50, disabled, husband, father and gramps who reviews products and writes blog posts about his life, beekeeping, gardening and whatever pops into his brain!

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