The words “I’m fine” make up the most overused response to a question, and is probably one of the biggest lies we tell. You usually say “I’m fine” because you can’t be arsed to regale your audience with how you actually feel. It’s effort and in reality when someone asks you “how are you?” it’s pretty much rhetorical anyways. I remember a good few years ago whilst on the phone to a courier company for work, simply asking the girl on the phone “how are you doing?” because I’m polite as fuck me! Instead of the girl down the phone replying “I’m fine thanks” which I thought was standard protocol to a stranger, she launched into how her boyfriend who she loves dearly… beats her up on a regular basis. Wow… that escalated very quickly. I just wanted to track a delivery of a parcel but alas I spent the next 45 minutes trying to pretend I worked for The Samaritans giving this poor girl domestic violence advice collected from an episode of Brookside circa 1995! I couldn’t even give myself a pat on the back for being there for the girl, as I’m pretty sure I just encouraged her to kill her boyfriend and bury him under the patio. Totes soz babe!
Although this horrible experience blew my mind and cut into my lunch break which kinda annoyed me at the time(!) It has since made me think… what would happen if people were more honest about their feelings…
I know that you’re thinking… The world would fucking implode!
That’s what would happen! If we all start sharing our shit… time would stand still because we would all be too busy bitching about the woes of our lives. No bridges will be built and nobody would be getting the fuck over them! I’m always attracting crazies into my life probably because I look and act like a bona fide oddball most days. Strangers love talking to me and I don’t know why! I’m just trying to live my life people… I have my own Dr Phil/Maury/Montel problems and you don’t see me offloading onto innocent bystanders at a bus stop! Oh no no… I have a blog to articulate my shit through.
HOWEVER in reality… of course it’s insanely unhealthy to bottle up your feelings. I do not advocate this to anyone. I did this for years… but look at me now! I’m a cynical little bitch void of the ability to love. Join me won’t you?! But in all seriousness, I never ever spoke about my problems which have led to numerous meltdowns on various public transports throughout the years. Ain’t no party like an ugly crying party on the number 3 night bus to Brixton!
Last week was National Suicide Prevention week, and granted this post would have been heaps more relevant then… but ah well… here we are. I don’t think suicide prevention should just be dedicated to one week as the message is universal 365 days of the year. It’s a pretty hardcore subject I know… but we all know someone who has taken their life because instead of talking about how they REALLY feel, they employed the “I’m fine” response.
Now I’m not saying you have to go forth and tell everyone your inner most darkest secrets and emote yourself to anyone who accidentally smiled at you in the queue at Tesco. Nor am I saying you have to stage an intervention with your best mate who said “I’m fine”… because ya know… they genuinely could be just fine and it's just the Sunday night fear of work the next day! All I’m saying is don’t internalise the things that make you silently weep into your pillow at night. Don’t think that people don’t care. It’s so easy to spiral into a black hole of self-hate where everyone is the enemy and even if you’re surrounded by people you can feel lonely as hell. If you put certain tools in place and actually talk to someone… you can and will get out of a bad spin. I promise.
Of course this is easy for me to say because… well… I just did. But it’s so easy to just grab someone and share whatever it is that is bothering you. Your problems are never trivial or pathetic because they are YOUR problems and belong to you. Whatever you feel… is always going to be important.
And so thus endeth the gospel according to Shem. Now can I get me an amen?!