Friday, November 16, 2012


The other day my husband lamented to me that no matter where he goes, as soon as he steps out of our apartment, people are asking him whether or not I am better.  I understand his frustration.  I get it too.  Everyone wants to know if I'm better.  But there's a problem with that question.  It begs a return question of "better than what?"   Better than I was last summer when I could drive out to Mapleton Organic and ride Emma to my heart's content?  Better than I was when I was in the hospital hooked up to a morphine drip for pain following my TIAs?  Better than yesterday when I had energy to actually do stuff?  Better than three days ago when my energy was so low I was nearly catatonic?  Better than you?
Basically questions about my well-being that include the word "better" are useless.  I'd say this goes for just about anyone living with a chronic illness and/or mental illness.   I get it.  You're concerned and want to show your concern.  Or you're curious.  Or you're just plain nosey.  Whatever.  But using the word "better" won't get you anywhere.
If you really want to know, if you really, genuinely are inquiring about the state of my health or well-being, try rephrasing your questions.  Ask specific questions.  Ask how I'm doing.  Ask whether today is a good day or a bad day.  Ask if I've gotten any sleep the last few days.  Ask, then accept it if I don't feel like answering.  Because I can sniff out just plain nosey pretty quickly.   But please, don't ask me if I'm better.


Christine said...

Joy, you are Mah-valeous! It is good to share this honesty. So well put. I am so sorry you have more off days than on. Praying and lifting you up during these rocky endless moments when it seems to feel like you are always in the pit. Do remember that you are loved by many and that is a blessing....a huge one....but not as ginormous (hehe) as God's love for you. Take it a day at a time, a moment at a time and even in those harsh moments..think of God's love, your husband's love, your family's love, and your friend' love and with all that love, praying that it makes things a little easier to bear.

Cthompson said...

"Better" also indicates an ending rather than a spectrum of good and bad. Chronic issues are never really "better" because they don't cure. Try to stay positive dear! It's always difficult answering those questions, and people are always going to ask. Try not to let it irritate you too much - they may be well meaning and clueless rather than nosy.