a blog about mental illness and community

how are you

Hello again! It’s been a long time since my last proper post, but I’m going to rectify the situation now.

One reason I haven’t posted in ages is because I was snowed under with uni work, but the other reason relates directly to the illustration above – my own reluctance to share thoughts and feelings, even in this validating environment.

There are a number of explanations for why I hold back, online and in person.

Especially when a friend, family member or mental health professional asks the dreaded question: “How are you?”

  • It’s often easier to say “I’m fine” than verbalise the complexity and occasional darkness of my moods
  • I’m overcome by ‘worry thoughts’: “What if my friend doesn’t really want to know how I am and she’s just being polite? What if I bring Mum down by telling her how I feel?” etc
  • Some people don’t want an in-depth answer and are, indeed, merely being polite

At the same time, I’ve discovered firsthand that the very best people in your life really DO want to know how you are.

I’ve discovered that, just as I would prefer to know if my bestie was having a meltdown (even if all I could do to help was listen and hug her), the people who care about me actually DO want to know what’s going on and offer whatever support they can.

It’s a truth I’m still coming to terms with.


It’s still scary to admit when things aren’t crash hot – to make myself vulnerable in front of others, hell or high water.

But to be honest, striving every day to share my true thoughts and feelings has been the most difficult and most rewarding endeavour.

It’s tough, but it has allowed me to make the most of professional support, deepen existing relationships and be more authentic.

So, next time someone asks how you are, consider admitting that you feel “horrible” or “depressed” or “anxious” – anything but “fine”.

Unless you really are fine, of course…

Choose your person carefully and dip a toe in the water. You may be amazed and relieved if you allow yourself to tell the truth.


Comments on: "To tell you the truth…" (1)

  1. keren said:

    You have expressed your feelings so well Kathryn and also my thoughts. I can’t believe you are going through the very same shit. It’s bad for you but now I don’t feel quite so alone. I feel ashamed and don’t want to talk about it, but I do feel some comfort

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