27 Very Good Responses for When You’re Not Actually OKHow *am* I?!
It’s a question you probably ask and answer several times a day: “How are you?”
Most of us, conditioned by ~society~ to keep up the appearance of having our shit together, typically respond quickly, without much thought, and in three words or less.
Fine. Busy but good. Not too bad.
It’s become so automatic that any breach of this unspoken rule can feel jarring and almost worrisome. Damn, things must be really rough for Carol to answer this question honestly rather than seeing it as just a polite and obligatory greeting.
While the urge to slap a filter on everything (including our emotions) to make them a little more palatable and a little less real is totally understandable, it’s probably not doing us any favors. If we keep saying or thinking that we’re fine when we’re not, will we eventually stop seeing ourselves as reliable narrators who can identify and process emotions like actual adults? And what’s all this doing to our mental health, our relationships, and our collective sense of what’s “appropriate” to talk about?
Can we all agree to just remove this filter on our feelings?
Seriously. When you consider just how much we’ve decreased the stigma and increased awareness of complicated mental health issues over the last few years, it’s kind of shocking that we still find it so hard to talk about the seemingly easy stuff, aka how we’re doing.
So, consider this your official invitation to give fewer effs with us. This Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re ditching the filter in an effort to get a little more comfortable talking about uncomfortable emotions. And if that sounds kind of scary to you, you’re probably in the right place. Consider this a judgment-free space to practice talking about big feelings, complicated emotions, and complex mental health topics.
So how are you, really?
And before you respond with a quick, mindless, three-words-or-less answer, take a moment to reflect on your reality. All this emotional honesty making your mind and body freeze up? We got you. Here are 27 excellent responses for when you’re actually not OK:
- Honestly, not great.
- One minor inconvenience away from crying in public.
- The emotional equivalent of that tangled mess of headphones and trash at the bottom of your tote bag.
- Filled with caffeine and existential dread.
- Currently deciding (with professional help) which DSM-5-TR criteria best explains my unique constellation of symptoms.
- Just ordered ice cream and tissues (and nothing else) on Postmates.
- Retail therapy-ing so hard I need a basket at Sephora.
- Very bad actually. Thanks for asking.
- Like Mercury has been in retrograde for the last 38 months.
- Just waiting for that spin class to kick in and cure my anxiety.
- Incredibly unchill.
- Panicking at the disco and also everywhere else.
- In desperate need of puppies, cheese, or a six-hour nap. Or all three.
- My emotional-support water bottle is all I have right now.
- One stubbed toe short of giving up.
- Not great, Bob!
- They don't have an emoji for me lying on my kitchen floor blankly staring at the ceiling, but…picture that.
- Kind of feeling like I forgot something ever since I graduated college.
- One two-factor authentication pop-up away from burning it all down.
- My anxiety has anxiety.
- I’m not OK. But I will be.
- Had a few minor breakdowns today, but really hoping this oat milk latte fixes my entire life.
- Having a bit of a menty-b.
- Hanging on by a thread, TBH.
- Currently scrolling through random Twitter beefs just to feel something.
- Hard pass. Next question?
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