Talking About Your MS: Handling How Are You?
People ask the question “How are you?” many times a day, often without even thinking about it. However, now when you hear it, it may not feel like such a simple question any more. When someone asks you how you are, it will be up to you to decide how much they really want to know and how much you want to say. Read on for some clues.
The fact is that most people who ask don’t really care — they’re just being polite and making small talk. So, we recommend not wasting your energy trying to tell them the truth if it’s going to take a while. If you suddenly launch into a detailed account of what does and doesn’t feel good that day, most people will be pretty startled. So, for the folks who are just making polite conversation, a simple “fine, thanks” should do the trick.
For the people close to you, who really do want to know how things are going, you have some options: If there’s time, and you’re in the mood, you can fill them in. If you’re busy doing or thinking about other things and don’t want to be distracted by your MS at the moment, you can say something like, “Let’s get a cup of coffee later and I’ll fill you in on all the gritty details.” Or, a simple “Pretty much the same” works, too.
But what about those people who gaze at you mournfully and say “How are you?” as though you’re at death’s door? You need to decide whether the person who’s asking is someone who really cares about you and how you’re doing or just likes hearing about someone else’s problems. Many people find it easiest to just say (with a surprised, quizzical look) “Why fine, thanks! How about yourself?”