"I'm OK." Coming from me, this could mean any number of things:
- I'm actually OK. All is well.
- I'm sitting with being happy / grateful and sad / grieving. OK is in the middle of the 2 and is the easiest to explain right now without having to get into some existential discussion about emotions.
- I'm not OK, but don't feel like talking about it right now and would rather focus on having a good time with you. Just your company will shift things right now.
- I'm not OK, but I don't know what I'm feeling and don't feel like figuring it out at this moment. I have a therapist for that. I'm seeing her Wednesday.
- I'm not OK and am currently feeling a lot of pressure to BE OK. I resent the question and am doing my best to mask both that I'm not OK and that I resent the question. Now that I no longer work and spend very little time around people I don't know or like, I don't have to play this game.
"I'm OK" is the easiest response for a wide array of reasons - personal, social, professional.
Yes - I am anxious about my future and how life with this disease will evolve. I'm in a good space right now, even with this recent setback, but I'm painfully aware that this oasis is temporary. I'm doing my best to enjoy it.
No - I am NOT going "back to normal." My life, my beliefs, and my body have been irrevocably changed. And I'm not going to guarantee that I'm gonna be a "better/stronger person" as a result of all this. What do you mean by "better person" anyway? If you are thinking less grumpy and more accommodating - you are out of luck.
Yes - I don't want you to worry about me. Frankly, it's wasted energy. Hell, me worrying about me is wasted energy. There's only so much anyone (including me) can do. Again, my goal is to enjoy my time with you - in-person, live, or via text. Don't you have your own things to worry about?
No - I'm not trying to be strong / inspirational / whatever. I'm enjoying my life within the constrictions that my body and energy levels allow. I'm spending time with friends, family, and people I like. I'm learning new things (both things I want to learn and things I HAVE to learn). And I'm treating the journey like the adventure it is - most days.
Some days I just want to sit on the couch, binge YouTube, and wallow. Today is one of those days. I don't have it in me to practice performative optimism.
Just know that when I say "I'm OK" - most of the time, I'm OK.
If you sense something else is going on, let's just enjoy each other's company.
Then it will all be OK.