Sure, it’s just a friendly formality, but what else can you say after you’ve said ‘Hello’?
Seems simple enough, but any self-respecting chronic pain sufferer who wants to appear positive, yet honest may think twice before answering that dreaded question. Would you really like to know what they are thinking?
When I was suffering with chronic neck and back pain, I personally spent more time and effort (than I would ever care to admit), trying to come up with a socially correct answer to the universal question ‘How are you?’ It had to positive and perky, yet must appease my own sense of honesty and personal integrity. After all, when you’re already in pain, you certainly don’t want to add to your (already) heavy load by being dishonest!
This is the list of approaches that I have come up which answer the question – ‘How are you?’
The Evasive Approach
I don’t want to talk about it.
The Introspection-invoking Approach
No better than you.
The Polite Approach
WeLLLL…… (followed by silence).
The Right to Privacy Approach
It’s none of your business.
The Not-Wanting-to-be Intrusive Approach
Are you really sure you want to know?
The ‘Poor Me’ Approach
I guess I’m OK (best accompanied by a weak smile).
The Tell-it-like-it-is Approach
Well, if you really want to know-
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah
Blah, blah, blah, blah ……
This is my personal favorite- The Spiritual Approach
My body feels like (fill in the blank), but I feel fine.
Not taking ourselves and our problems too seriously always makes life’s challenges more surmountable. Hope this has brought some chuckles into your day.
Assistant to Professor/Dr. Rothbart