Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

Why I never say I’m fine.

Kylin Vandermeer

I’ve struggled with depression. I worry about winter and it’s long dark cloudy days, and the isolation I sometimes feel when snow and ice make getting to my people dangerous. It was a miserable, cold and dreary winter day last time I seriously contemplated suicide. (I’m mostly okay now, it was years ago. You don’t need to worry.)

One of the things I used to dread, particularly on the worst days, was that incredibly normal question of How are you? Said in casual passing. Used as another way of saying hello.

I would often say I’m fine. Which was a lie, but a socially acceptable one. They were after all, really just saying hello and being polite. I was simply returning the favor. Being polite. Maintaining a mask of some kind of normality. Because I was convinced they wouldn’t want the honest answer. It was self-protective. Why take mere politeness as an opening to disturb someone with the fact you spent an hour on a bridge convincing yourself not to jump off? And there was perhaps a bit of self delusion there to. As long as I could keep the mask of normalcy on, I could pretend it was more then a mask.

That’s why, a while back, I decided I’d stop lying when I was asked that question. On a good day, and I have many of them, I’ll give the answer of fantastic, great, pretty good, or something along those lines. And when I’m not, when I would love to have an invitation to open up, that’s when I say been better been worse. Those that aren’t just being polite, who would be open to administering hug therapy and an emotional conversation, they’ll ask if I want or need to talk.

It’s such a little change, but I think it’s had a positive impact on my mental health. It’s one less thing I can hide behind.

Kylin Vandermeer

Written by

Writer, artist, occasional philosopher, student and reader. Seeking escape from the mundane through art, knowledge and deeper thinking.

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