Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Knowing the difference between “I’m good” and “I’m really not coping but I’ll say I’m good anyway”

“The challenge is knowing when people say “I’m good,” when really they aren’t.” SB

1 in 3 people suffer from a mental illness.

Look around you.

If you are on a bus reading this than 10 out of 30 people could be suffering from anxiety or depression.

If you work in an office of 15 people than 5 could be struggling with more then just their workload.

6 players on a football field could be going extra hard at the ball to release their anger, frustration and confusion because they feel out of control of what’s happening to them off of the field.

So how do we know the difference between when we ask someone “how are you?” and they reply “I’m good” when really they aren’t?

Think about how that person has been acting of late. 

It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the person “well”. 

Let's take for example your colleagues.

Whether you like your colleagues or not you spend 40 hours a week with them, which is a long time to familiarise yourself with their “habits” and personality.

You've noticed that one colleague who is always punctual, and always has their coffee at 8:30, starts coming to work late, is always yawning and isn’t on the “ball” like they used to be. They have stopped voicing their opinion in meetings, which you thought was strange, but just thought they had other things on their mind. They start staying in their office to eat lunch and just withdraw from the “team”.


You may not feel as though you “know” this person well, but you have noticed a change in their behaviour.

So when you pluck up the courage to say “how are you?” and they reply, “I’m good” but your gut is telling you that something doesn’t seem quite right maybe you will need to probe a little further.


DON'T be aggressive towards the person. Try and avoid these questions and statements; "what’s going on?" "You’re always running late" "You’re all over the shop lately" "You’re dropping the ball!" 

Always treat the topic sensitively if your honestly believe there’s more to the story.

Maybe ask if they’d like to go out for coffee sometime, and take them somewhere that they would feel comfortable so that they may be more likely to open up.

Your tone, body language, timing and location of asking ‘how are you?’ are all important.


Depending on how confident you feel, you could say “I’ve been noticing that you haven’t been coming out to sit and eat lunch with us lately. Is everything okay?”

Avoid generalisations like “we’ve all been noticing....” 

The person may close up and begin to feel as though everyone has been talking about them. 

Always use the ‘I’ perspective.

If they don’t open up at first, or at all, don’t beat yourself up. At least they know that someone is there if they ever feel confident enough to talk.

Mental health is a sensitive topic. No one ever likes to admit that they aren’t coping and sometimes the person is struggling to come to terms with it themselves.

If alarm bells are really ringing for you, you may need to take further action.

If it’s a colleague you could always voice your concerns to a manage in private.

If it’s a good friend then you could always suggest that it might be a good idea that they visit a doctor and offer to go along with them.

If it’s your partner then drag them to the doctors despite their kicking and screaming! They will thank you later, I promise.


For mental health is something we should not be ashamed of.

1 in 3 people suffer from mental health.

I am one of them.

Help me to spread the awareness of mental health so that others feel confident in saying “actually, I haven’t been feeling myself lately” when asked “how are you?”

Always keep your eyes out for the people in your life.

 All they might be needing is for someone to ask them “how are you?” and to take the time to truly listen plus a gentle push in the right direction to help them open up and admit that things aren’t “good”. 

It could save a life.

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xx

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