I have a lingering problem, a disease, or an issue that has peaks and valleys. What do I tell people that ask why I am not better?
The spoon theory
“Are you better yet?” This is one of the most dreaded questions people with chronic problems get asked. I do believe people mean well. I also hear from patients that they feel stuck as to what to say. Either they say “fine” as it is too complicated to explain, or they explain as much as they can and follow up questions and unsolicited advice is the cycle of conversation.
So what can you as a person with an ongoing, lingering, or on and off type of physical, medical or mental situation answer to empower and educate? How do you answer without frustration, without reexplaining the same story? How do you answer with confidence that you have a handle or are in the process of getting a handle on your situation?
There is a beautifully written piece called The Spoon Theory. It was written by a patient to send to their family and friends to explain why some days going out to dinner is ok and others it is too much energy, pain, exhaustion.
Next time you are being questioned and unsure how to explain your complicated story as to why you are not better- consider having them read this and see if it helps.
CONTACT KAREN L. CERASO