I get this question answered every morning, and it is perhaps the most difficult to answer, if not the most profound question of the morning. On one hand, I know that if I flippantly respond “fine”, “well”, then the other person expects me to act as if I feel well, when that is farthest from the truth. On the other hand, I know that NO ONE likes a complainer, and if I give too much detail, or take too much time describing how I really feel, it is the quickest way to shove people away from me.
Having been a pastor and counselor before my personal brain injury, has given me a little insight on how to govern myself and in the process, I believe that I have stumbled on two successful analogies to answer the question “How are you feeling today”, honestly and accurately.
First, I have found, so far, two primary types of overwhelming “Not doing well”, they are.
Unable to muster energy
For Pain and dizziness, I first ask each person that will be asking me that question on a regular basis, spouse, family, close friends, doctors, etc., to imagine themselves the level of pain, dizziness, discomfort and general inability to think when they have a 100 degree fever.
Then I say “Now imagine yourself when you have a 102 degree fever, how would you feel; now 104 degree fever, now 106, now 108 fevers?”
After asking them to have these analogies fixed in their in heads, I tell them, (This is my actual personal response) “My normal pain/dizziness NEVER drops below 102, that is what I cope with 24/7. Right now, I am about xxx degrees, I don’t have a real fever, that’s just how you would feel if you were me.
Second. For those with Energy swings, tell the person is asking “How are you feeling this morning”, that you equate your daily energy level to someone living weights. Ask them to Imagine that could normally lift bench press 100 pounds. Ask them to think how exhausted they would be if they hadn’t slept for days, and could barely lift 60. But there is 100 pounds on the bar, and no one to help you to get it off.
That is the ‘crushing weight’ of energy loss that we go through.