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How To Respond When You Are Not Okay And Someone Asks How You Are

how to respond when you are not okay and someone asks how you are

You know that moment when you’re depressed or angry or going through a breakup or some other stress-provoking situation and that someone asks you that most dreaded of all questions …”How you are?”

“How you are?”

And there you are, feeling awkward and thinking to yourself, “Well, how the hell do I answer that question?”

The honest answer to what seems like it should be a simple question is sometimes unclear because there are so many different ways you could answer, depending on what you feel you can handle at the moment, as well as on what you need most.

When you’re dealing with depression, anxiety, or even just a rough week, one of your primary goals should making sure that you’re doing and/or asking for what you need, rather than trying to please other people, whether they’re pushing because they want so badly for you to let them help or they’re really just being polite.

If someone asks you how you are, no matter who they are or why they are asking, your answer should reflect what you truly need in the moment.

Here are 4 suggestions of things to say when you’re depressed, anxious or generally down and someone asks, “How are you?”

#1 – I’m fine.

Just because someone asks you how you are, that doesn’t mean you need to spill your guts to them. Feeling anything other than fine is not something that you have to share with someone you don’t feel comfortable sharing with.

For me, when I’m depressed and my mother calls to ask how I am, I always say I’m fine. I just don’t want to get into it with her. I know that having a conversation with my mother about my depression will be all about her trying to talk me out of it. And that is never helpful.

How To Respond When You Are Not Okay And Someone Asks How You Are

In other words, it’s okay to not always be honest about how you’re feeling. It is important, however, that if you’re not going to be honest, you are then willing to ‘walk the walk’ of feeling fine for as long as you’re with that person. Telling my mother that I am fine and then sulking around the house is just a lose-lose situation for both of us.

Read This Is Why Depressed People Get Angry, And Ways To Handle Them

#2 – I’m really struggling.

Should you choose to be honest about your feelings then I would suggest being as simple and straightforward as you can. Telling someone that you’re really struggling, with or without a reason why might be exactly what you need to say when someone asks you “how you are?”.

For many of us, just having someone acknowledge how we feel in the moment can help us alleviate our bad feelings. I think this is especially the case with our men. I know that if my man asks me how I am and I admit to him that I am feeling sad and he acknowledges it, without trying to fix it, I always feel just a little bit better.

I also know that if I tell them I’m fine, and I’m not, everything gets way worse, fast.

So, even if you don’t feel like getting into it, telling someone you’re struggling might be just what you need in the moment.

#3 – I am depressed.

Admitting that you are depressed might be the answer that works for you. Talking to someone about your depression might be exactly what you need.

But remember, by sharing what is going on, you might be inviting the other person to feel like they need to fix you.

For many people, when faced with somebody who is struggling, they want to fix them right away, to make them feel better. Nobody likes to see anybody suffer and we feel like if we can help someone, we will all feel better.

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Mitzi Bockmann

I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.View Author posts