When people with depression say "I'm fine", "I'm OK" or some variation thereof, they're often misunderstood by those around them.
Now of course, when people with depression say that they’re “fine” or that they’re “OK”, then it’s indeed possible that they actually are “fine” or “OK”. However, this sadly often isn’t the case at all.
For this reason, we at The Depression Project recently asked our 3,000,000+ person social media community:
What do you really mean when you say you’re ‘"fine" or "OK"?
And below, we’d like to share with you some of the responses.
Quotes About What People With Depression Actually Mean When They Say "I’m Fine" Or "I'm OK"
- “I say I’m fine because I don’t want to be a burden and lose your friendship, but on the inside, I’m dying.”
- “I’m about to break, but I don’t want to say it out loud.”
- “I’m not fine, but I don’t know how to describe all of my feelings properly.”
- “When I say I’m fine, I really want people to notice that I’m NOT fine.”
- “I don’t have the courage to tell you that I’m broken.”
- “I’m not OK at all – I just don’t want to bother you with my depression.”
- “I’m not fine – I’m just telling you what I think you want to hear.”
- “When I say ‘I’m fine’, what I’m really saying is ‘I need your help’.”
- “Something’s wrong, but I don’t know how to tell you.”
- “I’m drowning … but I don’t know how to put it into words.”
- “My depression hasn’t become inconvenient enough yet to bother you with it.”
- “I’m anything but fine, but I can’t let you see that because you won’t believe me.”
- “I’m too scared to ask for help.”
- “I don’t want to talk about how I’m really feeling.”
- “I’m falling apart.”
- “I really need your help, but I don’t want to trouble you.”
What To Do If You Know Someone With Depression Who Tells You "I'm Fine" Or "I'm OK"
As you can see, “I’m fine” or “I’m OK” can mean many different things, and for this reason:
- If a loved one with depression tells you that they’re “fine” or “OK”, please don’t assume that they actually are “fine” or “OK”.
- Instead, ask them a follow-up question – such as “are you really OK?” This shows that you genuinely do want to know how your loved one is feeling (as opposed to someone who asks “how are you?” just to be polite, for example), and it also gives your loved one a second opportunity to open up to you more if they’d like to, and to tell you how they’re really feeling.
- If they still say that they’re “fine” or “OK”, then we still encourage you to take a moment to share your willingness to listen to them moving forwards if they ever want to talk to you about how they’re feeling. If they aren’t actually “fine” or “OK” in that moment, then this may help them to feel comfortable enough to open up – and if they still prefer not to right then and there, then it will likely still help them to feel more comfortable in the future whenever they’re ready to.
We really hope you've found this blog post helpful!
All our love,
The Depression Project Team.