“How are you doing?”

Today was a bad day.

“How are you doing?” is an important question.  My wife will ask me that, or something similar.  A doctor.  A concerned friend.  Sometimes even a lawyer. (And yes, I do ask my clients that every now and then, but not all of them.)

I hate clerks at a grocery store or Target, Wal*Mart, etc., asking me that.  I get they are doing it to be polite, but they aren’t interested.  I’ve restrained myself on a number of occassions from answering honestly.  And trust me, I’ve felt like telling them exactly how I feel.  But, I’m too polite and considerate, so either I don’t answer, which I know seems to be the opposite of polite or considerate but it isn’t, or I just mumble something unintelligible.

What would they say if I told them I felt miserable, that sometimes I felt like hurting myself?  They aren’t trained to handle the answers.  I can’t even imagine what their response would be.  Would they call the cops because they thought I might hurt myself?  Try to talk to me about my problems?  I’m sorry, I’m not talking to somebody who may or may not have gotten a high school diploma (or equivalency) about mental health issues.

So stop asking.  Stop trying to impose your happy world upon mine.  Even if I didn’t have mental health issues, what if I had just gotten laid off, or something tragic had happened to a family member?  There is only one response that is expected, and I refuse to play that game.  Ask me anything else.  Seriously, I don’t care.  It’s best if they want to ask me about my shopping experience.  But anything else is much more palatable because one day I will answer honestly.

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