“I’m okay” - noticing if someone is masking how they really feel.

“I’m okay.” - Noticing how a person is really feeling beyond the words they tell you.

“I’m okay.” is often the reply I get when I ask people “how are you?”. In my mind I often second guess if they are okay and decide what the signs are, and if I feel the need to ask again. It is often in their voice, their eyes, and the way they are holding themselves that tells me that things actually aren’t okay.

“I’m okay.” can also be shrugged off with a quick “yes” or a smile that is hiding a multitude of pain. Often we don’t want to offload onto others knowing they too have their own problems in life. Or we believe they’re too busy, that they won’t understand, or we’ve learnt that if we tell people how we really feel we will be seen as vulnerable or weak. 

Why do people cover up their true feelings?

For some people it’s the fear of rejection that they have experienced opening up to someone in the past where their feelings/experiences haven’t been validated or recognised but shrugged off. This can often lead to people with an independent life pattern of “Be Strong”. Hiding how we really feel, not showing emotions. We like to be alone, avoiding attention and socially withdrawing,  preferring one to one conversations than with a group.

Being in the position I’m in, I don’t shy away from asking twice and I will often give a reason why I have. As in, “You don’t sound okay” or “your face is telling me a different story”.

What are the best ways to ask them if they're okay?

Other ways in which we can ask is;

  • How are you feeling about XYZ?
  • What’s on your mind?
  • You look sad, how’s things?

Life is very stressful especially if you are caring for others. It’s forever changing and we need as many resourceful strategies to get through the days.

Some helpful reminders.

Here are some helpful reminders for difficult hard days:

  • Take a moment to pause…..breathe deeply.
  • Listen to your body, what does it need?
  • It’s okay to have hard days – it’s normal and everyone has them.
  • It’s temporary, you won’t always feel like this. You WILL get through it.
  • Can you offer yourself some kindness and compassion?
  • You are not alone – you are loved, and you matter.
  • Can you find a way to be who you need to be in this moment?
  • Don’t struggle alone – reach out for support.
  • Don’t trust everything your mind is telling you – they are not always facts.

"You can’t pour from an empty cup."

You’ve heard the saying…you can’t pour from an empty cup. Well a couple of years ago a very wise carer I was supporting said “You should only give from your saucer, not your cup.” On asking why, she said “The cup is you and your wellbeing and although it needs regular daily top ups you can only give from your surplus ….what has over spilled into your saucer.”

Noticing how a person is really feeling - "I'm Ok" - You can't pour from an empty cup

About Lancashire Dementia Training and Consultancy

Lancashire Dementia Training and Consultancy is an organisation run by Rachel Yates Hoyles, who has first-hand experience of supporting a family member living with dementia, plus years of training and experience in this field.

“We hear so much these days about dementia and probably all know a person and family that is affected. There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025 and 2 million by 2051.

“225,000 people will develop dementia this year, that’s one every three minutes. Lancashire currently has over 10,300 people with a dementia diagnosis of which two thirds of people live at home.”

Rachel is passionate about raising awareness of dementia and sharing dementia knowledge to empower others.

She offers a range of training and consultancy sessions which are bespoke to you, your staff and/or service needs. She uses a flexible and friendly approach and can adapt learning sessions and conversations to encourage a positive and fun, learning and inspiring culture that supports creativity and innovation.

Read more about Rachel’s personal journey here