Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Do you have issues?

Ever been asked something so direct that you’re not sure whether to ignore it, answer it honestly, or just downright lie?

Sometimes direct questions need a sure-fire automatic response.

How are you?

Not too bad I say, often feeling the opposite and wishing I didn’t always automatically respond with the same standard answer. Where's my honesty? Why am I saying the same thing over and over without stopping to think about it first and then answering?

Direct questions are often hard to answer. Especially when you have a mental illness.
They are asked every day, multiple times a day, all the time.

How are you?

And often we develop a standard response as a defense mechanism. We don't want to reveal too much, give ourselves away. So we lie.

But this weekend took on a whole new dimension. I was asked a question I haven’t been asked in years. Not since I was at my worst, and clearly I wasn’t doing very well at hiding my worst.

Do you have issues?

Let’s also note that huge emphasis was placed on the ‘you’ here. Just in case I hadn’t realised the personal, insulting meaning of ‘issues’, it was elongated and thrown at me with rage.
But how do we answer a question so direct, so personalised, and so angry?

Do we answer honestly? Yes actually. Many issues. Donald Trump. Theresa May. Oh, and a mental illness or two.

Do we lie? No, I (unlike every other human being in existence) have no issues, thank you very much.

Or do we ignore it? Pretend we didn’t hear. Continue on your conversation in a room full of people, knowing full well that all eyes are currently on you wondering if you will respond.

I did the latter. And I’m angry that I ignored it. I’m annoyed at myself for not sticking up for myself, for not wearing my heart (or in this case, my depression and anxiety) on my sleeve and admitting that yes, I damn well do have issues.

It's hard to answer a personal question you haven't prepared for. It's why I like my stock answer to 'How are you?' so much. I don't need to think, take it in and formulate an answer. I just spit it out and overthink my overuse of those three words afterwards.

Maybe I need to start thinking of standard responses to all kinds of questions now.
Best to be prepared so I don't give too much of myself away. Don't want to be caught shouting Depressed and Anxious from any rooftops by accident.

Do you have issues?

Yes, but it's none of your business and I'm not sure how you expect me to answer such a stupid, rude question.

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