One of the most difficult things at the moment is how to respond to the question: how are you?
For a while I was heady with offers of support and was open and honest with the three or four people who seemed willing to provide it. This meant a lot of negative conversations but it was a relief to get things off my chest. But then I got too comfortable and went too far. I don’t want to go into too much detail but I took advantage of people’s kindness and frightened someone. Once I found out she expressed a wish that I had never shared my problems with her (she was kind and caring enough never to show this or say it to my face), I made a decision. I contacted everyone and told them: if you don’t ask, I won’t tell.
And so people stopped asking. And now they’ve started asking again but I think they’ve just forgotten the rule so I spend a lot of time lying. Or, my favourite, I tell the truth but then add a positive, apologetic tag – … but I’m sure it’ll be OK; never mind, it’ll work out; but no more moaning – how are you..?
So how do I respond to the question how are you?
- Outright lie – all good!?
- Half truth – not great but will be fine I’m sure?
- Truth – struggling a lot right now. Could use someone to talk to. Need some help.
I wish I had the courage to do the latter. I wish I had someone whose job it was to listen even in the worst times.