What Does “I’m Fine” Mean if you’re Depressed?

What Does “I’m Fine” Mean if you’re Depressed?

Asking someone with severe depression how they’re doing is very much like asking someone who is repeatedly being bashed over the head by a 2” X 4” how they’re doing.

How are you doing?

Oh, I’m fine, except for the 2” X 4” smashing into my skull.

Asking a depressed person how they’re doing is the same. They’re fine, except for the crippling, soul-sucking depression.

It’s not that people shouldn’t ask how you are, of course, just that the answer is a bit moot. If you’re depressed, it’s always the same. It pretty much doesn’t matter what’s happening around you, depression is the overwhelming feeling no matter what. If you could excise the depression, the answer would differ depending on life’s circumstances and psychology, but with depression: nothing else really matters.

Impact of Life’s Events on Depression

What does "Fine" Mean for a Depressed PersonThis is not to suggest that life events can’t impact a severe depression. They can. They can make it worse.

In my experience the best things in the world can happen to you and the depression just laughs, reminding the psyche that nothing can touch the madness of the brain. But bad things? I don’t know. The brain feeds off of them. I suppose bad things confirm everything depression is telling you and that confirmation leads to greater depths. It’s a downward spiral. The further you go the steeper it gets.

So, if you’re Depressed, How are You?

For me, I’ve rewritten the definition of the word “fine.”

Fine: death or dismemberment is not imminent.

Yes, I’m “fine.” My death or dismemberment is not imminent. It’s about as good as it gets in a severe depression.

Now most people don’t know I’ve rewritten the definition, few people have a Natasha-to-English dictionary, but somehow it makes me feel better. Like I’m not lying so much to so many people. Because the lying sucks so avoiding it in my head seems to matter.

Of course, it’s not like a significant part of the rest of the population isn’t lying when they say they’re “fine” too, so there’s really no need to feel so bad about it. But it just feels like such a big lie given how absolutely un-fine a severe depression makes you.

However, you could look at it this way: Saying we’re “fine” when we’re not. Just another way people with bipolar are just like everyone else.


About Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.

Natasha’s New Book

Find more of Natasha’s work in her new book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. Media inquiries can be emailed here.

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