How Am I? I'm Crazy. How Are You?

September 27, 2010 Natasha Tracy

How are you?

This is one of the most disingenuous, lie-provoking, overused sentences in the English language. How are you? We say it to fill time and pretend that we care about people whom we obviously don't.

As no one is interested in actually knowing the answer, I have a series of pat answers I typically give. Snazzy. Fabulous. Wonderful. Delightful. Sparkly. Peaches and cream. You?

But the truth of the matter is, when someone asks how I am, even if they really wanted to know, it would make no difference, because really, I have no idea.


How am I?

If I really stopped to take inventory, I would likely tell you that I suck, thanks for asking. If I stopped to think about it, I would see all the disordered brain activity, I would notice all the bipolar symptoms popping out everywhere, I would become aware of how nasty it is to have to live in my brain.

Of course, that doesn't really translate into how I am. How I am questions how I'm doing inside the endless quagmire, not so much the quagmire itself. Again, I'm quite sure I still suck.

I Don't Know How I Am

I purposefully don't pay attention to how I am. I'm crazy. I'm sick. I feel crazy. I feel sick. Pretty much every day. Best not to think about such things. While ignorance is far from bliss, it's better than the alternative. It's better than focusing on all the nasty bits of illness that I can't seem to do anything about.

Thinking About How I Am Tends To Darken the Answer

I don't think about it because even an emotional inventory will make me feel more ill. How am I? That question brings about a really negative and unfortunate list of things that I'm really trying not to think about. The question falls into the crevices bipolar has cut into my brain. You end up in the bottom of one of those, and we'll have to send a team in after you.

How am I? I don't want to know, and neither do you.

So, I'm fine. Stop bugging me.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2010, September 27). How Am I? I'm Crazy. How Are You?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 30 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

November, 9 2016 at 7:07 am

To the person that suggested relating the way you feel to seasons. How about places? If there's heaven and hell, I'm in purgatory.

Natasha Tracy
October, 25 2010 at 9:22 am

Hi Mary,
Thanks for sharing with all of us. It's great you have learned to listen to yourself more, I do think that's key in seeing problems as they arise instead of waiting for them to scream.
I hope this does help your relationship with your children.
- Natasha

Mary quite contrary
October, 23 2010 at 7:24 pm

Hello Natasha, I just was told about your blog. I really love how you are able to put to words how so many of us feel. I don't know if you will read this or not. Along with being bi-polar I have DID. I seem to have mastered the art of not reconizing how I feel. So the fibromyalgia set in about 3 years ago. The only way I was able to deal with the fibro is having a great counselor to help me learn about myself and not shut myself off. Learning to read myself (learning to read my body). I am also learning to set boundries for myself. I try too hard to please others without thinking about myself and not feeling guilty. I hope to beable to share your insight with my adult children in hopes they will understand me.

Joy Robinson
October, 9 2010 at 11:04 am

Buzz Morely, I like your weather metaphor very much. Do you think it could be expanded somewhat: Partly cloudy with a chance of crazy, thanks for asking.

Dr Musli Ferati
October, 8 2010 at 9:04 pm

It's better to ask people " what are You doing", because implicitely they'll indicate their inside state. Otherwise, the question "How are You" is very generalization opinion of somebody whom concemment become nebulous. After all the mimicry as well as the tonefull of person who is asking is truthfully relationship. Nonverbal communication should'n disgiuse at all.

Richard J.
October, 6 2010 at 6:35 pm

I have used "moderatly neeto or neato" whatever the correct spelling is. George Carlin material. He had had a few of them. I also just tap my arms and body and look up and say fine or I'm here. Sometimes I am abit slow responding to people anyway, we all know how it is at times, trying to maintain and all.

Natasha Tracy
October, 3 2010 at 10:44 am

Hi Moxy,
I have a tenancy to dissociate, in other words, remove myself from life and feel numb. It's a coping technique that humans are prone to developing in stressful life situations when they are experiencing too much pain.
Your stuff is likely pretty painful and your psyche is trying to protect you from it. Honestly, this is the kind of thing that therapy is perfect for.
You might consider trying to focus on the many methods of being in the moment. In other words, focus very strictly on what is happening, what your brain is doing, and how you feel about it at the time it is occurring. There are therapies, books and faiths based on this idea. Mindfullness is another concept that may help.
If you really _can't_ start the feeling yourself therapy might be required, at least to start. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to work on it a bit every day if you so choose.
Getting in touch with your feelings if you haven't done it in a long time can be tough, but you definitely can do it with work.
Good luck.
- Natasha

October, 3 2010 at 7:09 am

I feel completely numb all the time, which is a bit troublesome - even if I wanted to deal with my sh*t, I couldn't even begin to identify what it is. Agreed, tuning out how I really am has its benefits but I know it makes recovery impossible. Anyone have any idea how to deal with that when the shrink is useless? (outside of getting a new shrink of course...looking into that already)

October, 1 2010 at 1:23 pm

Thank goodness there are real people out there. I get asked this question daily. And from people that know me. I usually give the old stock answer of "fine" and leave it at that. I love when a friend will ask how I am and I can answer honestly, " I feel like crap today, thank you" and their response is "so do I". A bonding moment in our relationship.

Natasha Tracy
September, 29 2010 at 7:54 am

Corne, steal away. I steal constantly.
Ranki, you're welcome.
- Natasha

September, 28 2010 at 11:41 pm

This is e very nice artycule I love it.Thank you so much for this.

September, 28 2010 at 10:50 pm

I have often wondered about it. If I ever really have to tell someone how I am doing, they will probably never ask again......
Which is maybe not such a bad idea.......
Actually, I think people will stop talking to me all together. I am sure no one wants to talk to a person full of complaints.
Peaches and cream sounds like something I will steal lol

Natasha Tracy
September, 28 2010 at 9:59 am

Oh yes, we can handle it. Of that I have no doubt.
- Natasha

Natasha Tracy
September, 28 2010 at 9:58 am

Thanks! I shall try to continue to nail.
The weather metaphor is a pretty good one.
- Natasha

Natasha Tracy
September, 28 2010 at 9:57 am

Oh yes, there are lots of ways of getting out of doing an emotional inventory.
String vs. thread - I love this and am stealing it right now.
- Natasha

September, 27 2010 at 7:59 pm

That simple question - How are you? - is a very heavy question. It can burden the asked party to try and come up with an answer. I don't how I am or, I don't want to know how I am could be truthful answers. I'm most apt to say: "I'm pretty good at the moment." I seem to get away with that one. But sometimes, it seems that it's the worst question you could be asked. Most people really would not want to know. It's just a social gesture. We can handle it!

September, 27 2010 at 12:23 pm

My immediate family members have learned not to ask. For everyone else;s it's either; "Above average headed/borderline excellent, thanks," "Livin' the dream," or my favorite "better than a kid from South Kelso has a right to expect" all delivered with just the slightest bit of sarcasim, because, like you said - nobody really cares, even me when I ask someone how they are.

September, 27 2010 at 11:43 am

I am the same way. I avoid the question and pretend that I am not anything at any given time. Sometimes, it works but mostly it doesn't and I just get down on myself for not having much control over the situation.

Buzz Morley
September, 27 2010 at 10:55 am

Yes! You just keep nailing it Natasha. Me, I'm "partly cloudy" most of the time.

September, 27 2010 at 9:56 am

You could do a mood inventory or a 1-10 scales to assess how you are and then just accept the obvious emotional kick in my ass.
Maybe rather then an emotional inventory, a what "what colour or season are you" test would probably suffice.
Are you hanging on by a string or a thread?

Leave a reply