"How Are You Doing?": The Question That Drives Me Crazy!

Last updated: June 2018

Having a chronic illness like psoriatic arthritis means that we’re stuck with this disease until we die or a cure is found. If the physical part wasn’t bad enough, we also must endure a lifetime of being asked the same questions over and over. “How are you doing?” is one question that either makes me scream or cry.

Testing, testing, 1-2-3

This question often feels like a test. Is she really in pain? How much pain could she really be in if she managed to leave the house? Whether someone is testing me or not, I must examine myself in order to answer. Sometimes I don’t want to acknowledge my pain. I distract myself when my pain is elevated; not focusing on my pain is how I cope when it is at its worst. When I am experiencing a “good” day or am in remission I don’t want to think about my bad days. However that is just what has to be done anytime someone asks me how I am doing. What hurts and how intense is the pain? The problem with this is that the pain or pains I was successfully distracting myself from take center stage and once there those drama queens refuse to exit the stage.

Open the flood gates

Sometimes just hearing those words from someone brings me to tears. Not because I am annoyed or don’t want to talk about my conditions, but because I am worn down and it feels so absolutely wonderful to have someone express concern. I keep a pretty darn strong lock on my flood gates, but every once in a while the lock falls off and the doors fly open. When this occurs, the person asking won’t have a clue to my physical state as all I am able to express are emotions. Forget putting sentences together, I am lucky to toss a few words out between my sobbing cries.

No win situation

I honestly don’t know which is worse. Both scenarios are exhausting and neither gives a full picture. Just sharing my physical pains doesn’t express where I am at emotionally. It took me long enough, but I have learned to be happy and content while living a life filled with physical pain. Yet only sharing my emotional status doesn’t give insight to where I am struggling physically. The problem with trying to convey both aspects is that there isn’t enough time in the day to do it. For the most part I stick with my standard response of “could be worse/could be better”, because it is easy and it’s true.

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