chronic pain

Responding to “How are you doing?” from a State of Chronic Pain

Pain is a part of my daily life. It’s not a consistent level, but ebbs and flows. Most people only know about the periods of higher levels, believing the rest of the time I feel “normal.”

“How are you doing?” and “Are you feeling better?” inquiries have me perplexing over how to reply. I’m not one to lie, unless I know that’s what they want to hear so they can check off their good deed for the day, thinking this qualifies as loving their neighbor.

Some people have proven their inability to handle the truth, based on their panicked stare upon receiving it. Being faced with someone who deals with chronic pain challenges some people’s belief that life should be fair. They can’t grasp having a perspective of life that includes the unfairness, so it’s easier for them to gloss over it and continue living in denial. I’ve learned how to respect that. I view my “Fine. How are you?” reply as nothing more than a returned greeting in passing.

I don’t want my reply to sound like a broken record titled “Pessimistic Pity Party” by The Martyr. I don’t want a sob story to be my life’s story. I’m not trying to garner up sympathy and sad expressions. It’s depressing and hopeless, which aren’t characteristics I want to exude.

I cringe inside when people ask when I will get better or if surgery will fix it. I don’t want to tell them that short of a miracle, I’ll only get better when I die. Unless they catch me on a day that includes extra pain meds and I’m particularly sarcastic, then the death reply is pretty funny 😉

The best one-line response I’ve determined so far: “God is good.” This perfectly encompasses what I feel, believe, and want to communicate. It’s on what I chose to focus. It’s not about me. It’s not about my pain. It’s all about my hope in God and that above all else, He is good.

Advertisements