As the tide of my depression ebbs and flows, I noticed that I have a hard time answering generic greetings that include, “How are you?” I don’t want to lie, so instead of “Ok” or “Fine,” I tend to say, “I’m tired.” Because while not the full truth, it is true.
I don’t say, “I’m super depressed” or “not good” or anything more detailed because, honestly, that’s not what that kind of greeting is for. 99% of the time people are only saying it because it’s how they learned to say, “Hello.” It’s a politeness thing, not an actual check-in about your well-being.
And, let’s be real, in a business setting, it’s not appropriate to go into detail about your mental health issues. That’s not why everyone’s there. Give a quick answer and move on to the purpose of the meeting. Don’t scare away the clients.
But because I was thinking about this and wondering if anyone had noticed the trend, I realized something else: I know how to say, “I’m tired” in 3 out of 4 of the languages I’ve studied. All the languages that have a “how are you” type greeting. And I started studying the first of those in middle school.
I don’t think of middle school or high school often, and at that time, I’m not sure I’d heard of depression or had any idea that it was a thing. Suddenly looking back at it, though, I have to wonder if the issue started even then. Or earlier.
I know I’ve had it off and on for a long time, but I didn’t realize it was quite that long. Or how much it had influenced other areas of my life – like what words I know in other languages.
On the one hand, that’s kind of, well, depressing. On the other hand, I’ve made it this far, so it’s kind of encouraging in a weird way. And if I look back at some of the less depressed times in between, maybe, maybe, I can figure out a way to make future ones better.
I’m curious, though. Does anyone else have trouble answering, “How are you?” on depression days? Or have a common work-around?