Person holds a smiling piece of paper up to his mouth

How Are You… Really?

Jenna Kutcher, a social media influencer, recently released a book titled, “How Are You… Really?”

It’s a great read (or listen if you’re like me and love to listen to books on audible!). She talks a lot about getting honest with yourself and checking in with your goals and desires. She reminds us that life is not about just going with the flow. It’s by no means suggesting a selfish approach to life. She’s more trying to wake us up, to be honest, so we can live a life with intention and purpose.

How do we answer that question?

As I listened to it though, I couldn’t help to think about how we, as migraine sufferers, would answer that question. I’m posing this question not from a life goal perspective, but from a health and wellbeing perspective.

When someone asks, “How are you?” how do you answer? Do you give an honest answer? Do you even give yourself an honest answer? (I know I rarely do.) It’s hard when you feel like your answer is the same disappointing, “I’m in pain” or “No, I’m not feeling better yet.”

What do people want to hear?

People want to hear that you’re doing well. People who don’t live with a chronic illness or chronic pain don’t understand why you’re not better. So, what happens when that’s not your reality? What happens when you have long seasons of not feeling well? What happens when your answer is yet again, “I’m not feeling well…. Yes, I’m still getting migraines… Yes I’ve tried what feels like everything to fix them.”

What do I do?

As someone looking for the silver lining in virtually every situation, I will start with an honest answer, but quickly follow it up with an optimistic note. I’ll likely say something like, “but hopefully I’ll feel better soon.” I may not believe it, and quite honestly, I get frustrated with this habit because I feel like it downplays my reality. I’m not always feeling well. It’s okay to not be okay.

Migraine makes me feel weak

I don’t have to sugarcoat my answer or situation to make the other person feel more comfortable. What I’m going through is hard. It's okay to be honest about that.

I guess I just really don’t want the pity look. You know the look; ugh I hate it. It’s a pride thing I suppose. I want to be viewed as strong, and not feeling well all the time makes me feel weak… talk about a disempowering belief! Please tell me I’m not alone in this struggle.

Is honesty the best policy?

I guess I needed the reminder that first and foremost, I need to be honest with myself about how I feel. From there, I can be honest with others. Again, it’s okay to not be okay. Not everything in life can be tied up with a pretty bow. Not every day has a happy ending. We are living with chronic pain, and that’s not easy. Being honest positions us to get the support that we need and to help raise awareness of the reality of living with migraines.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Do you feel comfortable advocating for yourself to your healthcare provider?