What I Really Mean When I Say I’m Fine (Spoiler: I’m Not)

“Tears are words that need to be written.” ~Paulo Coelho

It was lovely to see you today. I haven’t seen you in such a long time. So much has happened since the last time we saw each other.

You asked me how I was. I politely replied, “I’m fine” and forced a smile that I hoped would be believable. It must have worked. You smiled back and said, “I’m so glad to hear that. You look great.”

But I’m not really fine. I haven’t been fine for a very long time, and I wonder if I will ever know what “fine” actually feels like again.

Some days are good, some not so good. I’m doing my best to stay optimistic and to keep faith that tomorrow will be better. Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s worse. I’m never prepared for either outcome.

I’m doing my best to pretend I’m fine.

The mask I wear hides my pain very well. I’ve been wearing it for so long now that no one can see through it anymore. It’s my new face, and it smiles on demand.

Some days I wish I didn’t have to pretend to smile. I long for the day when it will come naturally, sincerely, and genuinely.

When I say I’m fine this is what I really mean…

I’m sad. I’m really having a hard time right now. I wish I could tell you. I’d like to think that you might even care. And maybe you do truly care. But I don’t want to tell you. I don’t want to bother or burden anyone with my troubles.

My troubles are big and ugly. I can’t burden you with them. You are facing demons of your own. You don’t need to be exposed to mine. That would be so selfish of me. To think that your demons are not as important or debilitating as mine.

So I just tell you I’m fine. I’m protecting you when I say I’m fine. Because I’m afraid my pain is just more toxicity.

I want to tell you my troubles. I want you to take them away. I wish someone could fix everything that hurts, though I no one else can do that for me. Still, I wonder, does anyone have all the answers to these questions that are pounding in my head and causing me grief and anxiety?


There’s a tightness in my chest that won’t go away. There’s a darkness in the pit of my stomach that makes me nauseous. My shoulders feel weighted and my arms long for human touch. A body to wrap around tightly to comfort me and ensure me that everything will be okay.

My troubles have completely consumed my life.

Inside, I’m crying all the time. My soul is crushed, and my heart is full of holes that I’m desperately trying to patch up as best I can.

I’m full of anxiety inside, and no matter how hard I try to find peace, it eludes me. I feel there are a million demons inside of me, and I don’t know which one needs my attention the most.

So I ignore them all. It’s too much for me to bear most days.

When I say I’m fine I really wish you could hear my inner voice screaming, “I’m not fine, and I need help. Please stay and talk to me, comfort me, help make this overwhelming pain stop.” I want to say this to you. But I open my mouth, and “I’m fine” comes out instead.

I’m not really fine. I’m not sure how to handle today, and I fear what tomorrow may bring. It’s constant anxiety. I wish it would go away if only for a day.

I want to be fine, honest I do.

One day I would love to sincerely tell you how fine I am. That all my anxieties, worries, and fears are gone, or at least less overpowering. That I walk with a skip in my step and a song in my heart. I want to feel that. I may have felt this once before a long time ago, but I don’t really remember it.

Every day I’m doing my best to smile and make the day better. I’m thinking positively, I’m taking big deep breaths when I need to. I’m reading inspirational blogs and quotes. I’m even listening to guided meditations.

Today I went shopping and bought myself something nice. I know, a temporary fix. But it worked.

It all works. For the moment. And then the moment is gone, and it all comes flooding back. All the turmoil, the anguish, the anxiety, the pain. I breathe deeply again. And I’m okay for a few more minutes.

But for now, I’m doing my best. I know that everything in life is temporary. The good, the bad. Even life. It’s all temporary. If I can just get through today, I’ll be fine.

I’m doing my best to see the bright side. I can see it some days. But it doesn’t take away the turmoil brewing inside of me. It only masks it with a Band-Aid. A temporary fix.

Everything is just a temporary fix until I finally become brave enough to get to the bottom of my demons. I need to face them one at a time. I need to bring them to the surface, dust them off, address them, heal from them, and then let them go.

This I know. But it’s such a daunting task. Just thinking about doing that is overwhelming and causes me a great deal of anxiety. I know it’s up to me to be able to say, “I’m fine” and really mean it.

One day I will. When I feel strong enough to do so. Until then, I may say I’m fine when I’m really not. But I will try to find the courage to say, “Actually, I’m sad,” even though I know you don’t have a magic wand to take all my troubles away.

Maybe just opening up and letting you support me will help. Maybe if I stop painting a smile on my face and telling you “I’m fine, really I am,” one day soon I will be.

About Iva Ursano

Iva is a self-help blogger from Ontario Canada who now resides in Guatemala. Her two goals in life are to inspire people around the world with her blogs and to feed hungry little bellies in the poor town she calls home. Sign up for weekly inspiration here or check out her self-help eBooks You Are Amazing. Her new course “The 21 Day Challenge” is now available. Use coupon code TINYBUDDHA for $60 off!!

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