When you have the flu, you’re out of action for a week or two, then get back to normal. People asking “how are you feeling today?” can expect a gradual improvement of answers, right back to the point of being completely fine again. It’s a few weeks of extending sympathy, then the relationship shifts back to exactly how it is was. Maybe you’ll remember how ill you felt that time you had the flu, and your friends will nod in sympathy about those days or weeks you were out of action.
But what if you never get better?
What if you never get to the point of being able to say you’re fine now?
What if, when someone asks how you are, all you can honestly say is “awful – just the same”?
It’s hard. Do you tell the truth, or do you lie? Should you be dishonest, and be someone who can’t be known to tell the truth, or do you answer as things really are, and become a dull and repetitive bore?
Because that’s how both options feel.
It doesn’t feel like there is a right option – either way you’ll be pushing people away, either with lies or with the truth.
And so even just this thought process becomes enough to isolate you from your friends, and you become more and more stressed just at the idea of being faced with these questions, to the point that being social in any way whatsoever becomes an anxiety button.
In the end, your brain is working against you along with your body. It’s a bastard of an experience.