Why do I say I’m fine when I’m not?
Here’s a strange thing I do. Granted, I do a lot of strange things (I am kind of an oddball), but this particular strange thing has me scratching my head sometimes, and I thought it might be helpful to write about it and maybe even get some feedback from y’all.
If you’re reading this, it’s already obvious that you’re reading the words of someone who spends a big chunk of her life dealing with and writing about living with migraine disease. I’ve kept this blog for many years now, and I am totally open about who I am, what town I live in, and what I do for a living. I write about the ups and downs of living day-to-day with migraine disease, and I am usually quite honest when I am composing blogs for Migraine.com.
Here’s where the confusing part comes in: I can get squirmy and vaguely dishonest when real humans in real life ask me how my migraines are. I can spend a morning waiting for my triptan to work. During lunch, I’ll write a little bit about that day’s episode and how it affected me. And then I’ll go to work in the evening and, when someone asks some variation of, “How are the migraines?” I will say, “Pretty good.” And then try to change the subject.
I don’t always answer in a way that is overly optimistic; I don’t always provide a response that’s aimed at getting the subject changed. But at least a third of the time I will gloss over the ugliness of living with migraine, even when I’m in conversation with someone I know well.
Do I not want to overwhelm loved ones with what a big portion of my life is? Do I not want people to know that this strong, assertive, and confident person before then was throwing up in a garbage can just twenty-four hours ago? Do I not want them to see that I rarely, if ever, feel as if I am functioning at 100%?
Or is it something else that compels me to not be more honest about the harsh realities of living with migraine? Do I worry they will worry about me if I tell them how many days this month have been affected by migraine? Do I not want to get into a conversation about the bad aspects of my health when I am actually feeling pretty good? Do I spend so much time writing about migraine that I want to avoid talking about it?
I honestly don’t know why I do this, and I am not entirely sure it’s a problem. At some point or another, my loved ones find out just how severe a particular bout of migraine is. My partner, my sister, and my employees (who are also friends) witness firsthand what it’s like for me to be ill, and I’m a little more straightforward with them. But what about those other friends, people I trust and love, who aren’t getting the real answer?
Is it okay to gloss over the facts? Are you honest about your life with migraine when people ask how you’re doing? What happens when you’re not entirely truthful? And what happens when you are?