When you have depression, it seems like everyone is always asking “how are you?”. I mean, maybe people ask this of everyone all the time, but when you’re not feeling great, it seems like this question is the topic of the day. Most of the time, my response is “good, how are you?” and that seems to go over well. But, what happens when you’re talking to a friend and they genuinely want to know how you are and you answer with “okay”? What if you are asking a friend how they are and they answer “just okay”. I’m going to tell you what it’s like to be “just okay” when you’re dealing with depression.
Just okay can mean a lot of things to different people, but just okay when you’re talking about depression probably really means the person is not really okay, definitely not good, and most likely dealing with a blue day or week. Just okay means maybe the medicine is working or the therapy appointment made a difference, but maybe not and maybe we’re headed for a down-swing.
Let me tell you what just okay means in my life:
- I am overall feeling good, physically
- I’m a little tired, but I can make it through the day
- The medicine is working, but it has a long way to go
- I either haven’t been to therapy in a while or I had a non-productive therapy session recently
- I don’t have anything to do at the moment and I may be getting bored with my current circumstances
- You might be able to make me smile, but it will be brief, most likely
- I may bite your head off for no reason whatsoever, but I’ll cool down quickly
- I may cry for no apparent reason, but there’s no “real” reason for me to be sad or upset
- I may stare aimlessly at a work project or blog post and wonder what I was intending to type
- I may stare aimlessly at the TV, but I am not hearing what is going on
- I don’t need to be “fixed” or patted or told it will be okay because it might not
So, what do you do when a friend is just okay? How do you tell your doctor that you are just okay? Is it okay to be just okay?
First things first, YES, it is okay to be just okay. It’s not good to stay just okay and it’s not acceptable for your doctor to leave you as-is at just okay for very long, but sometimes that’s all you can be – just okay.
When your friend is just okay, don’t tell her things will get better or things will be alright. Just listen to her and meet her where she is today. Suggest a few things that you can do together for fun, but be alright with her turning you down. Know that even though she is just okay today doesn’t mean she won’t be great tomorrow or even later today! Know that you didn’t do anything to upset her and she most likely isn’t even upset at you or anyone else. She’s just okay, not good, not bad, and you don’t need to fix her or cheer her up.
As you may have guessed, I’m just okay right now in my life. I’m happy with my husband and my son, but my house drives me crazy. I can have a few good moments and laughter, but I can also get pissed off and scream at the drop of a hat. I’m not where I want to be with my depression in check, but I’m working on changing medications so this was, in a way, expected. I will appreciate people who want to cheer me up, but I can’t guarantee that it will do the trick. I’m just okay at the moment, not good, not bad, and I’m looking forward to what’s next.