How Do You Answer ‘Are You Doing OK?’ When Asked About Your MS?

Ed Tobias avatar

by Ed Tobias |

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“Are you doing ok?”
It’s one of those questions we all get. And it’s one that most of us don’t like to answer.

How do you respond when someone asks you that question?

#1 You can say “Yes, I’m fine, thanks,” even if you’re not OK, and be done with it.

#2 You can be honest about how you feel and open up to someone who may not really want to hear about your problems. Then you run the risk of that person avoiding you in the future.

#3 You can answer by asking your own question: “How much time do you have?” Then, you laugh.  Hopefully, the other person also laughs, and you’re done with it. (Of course, the other person may actually want to know what’s happening with your MS. In that case, ask that person to “have a seat” and revert back to answer #2).

This “are you OK?” question recently was the subject of a thread of posts on the Facebook group “We’re Not Drunk, We Have MS.” And there were a lot of suggestions about how to answer — or not:

“I’m as okay as okay gets.”

“If I’m out then I honestly reply, ‘Thanks for asking. Today’s a good day.’ Because we ALL know of the days, if not months, we’re NOT able to be out!”

I used to tell everyone that I was good, even if I wasn’t. Since this latest exacerbation, I’ve started shrugging and saying, ‘I’m Okay.’ If the person says, ‘Just Okay?’ I will tell them the truth.”

I’ve had MS for 21 years and I always say I’m Ok, mainly because people don’t understand.”

For years my answer has been, to anyone other than a relative or a close friend, “I’m slow, but I usually get where I’m going.” But, in the posts on the “We’re Not Drunk, We Have MS” Facebook group I think I found the perfect answer:

“Ask me tomorrow and I’ll tell you how I felt today.”

It’s the truth and it seems to cover all contingencies.

How do you answer when someone asks you “Are you OK?” Do you have a better response?

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Lindsey avatar


What I normally say to anyone who asks me "How are you?" Is " I'm still going" or " still up and battling on , thanks for asking"
Keep going is my motto. Lindsey

Bryan S McCall avatar

Bryan S McCall

My friends who ask, I reply I am doing "well", to be 100% upfront may keep those who are asking out of wanting to be polite from asking again. I put a "positive" spin on my reply. The next day, I might be great, so my attitude always is positive. I work hard at not dragging people down with my health complaints.

charles avatar


i hope to be well in a few years. i can be very patient.

Pamela Kirby avatar

Pamela Kirby

This is something I struggle with daily. So I say that I am blessed. This is true even though I have some really bad days. God is good.


Elizabeth Henehan avatar

Elizabeth Henehan

I usually say I'm doing ok. I hate it when someone says, "How are you? OK?" I think they don't really want to know anything but that I'm ok.

Shevonda avatar


My default answer these days is; 'I'm hanging in there' .

Leslie avatar


I usually say "right now, this hour, is a good hour and I'm enjoying it very much"

I often say "fortunately I usually look better than I feel....and as long as I look good that's what's important....hahah"...
or "if you see me (at work) I'm having a good stretch. If you don't see me around, I don't feel well and I'm hiding out"

Leslie avatar


Part 2:
I always say "thank you very much for asking. I appreciate you thinking of me"

Julian Quennell avatar

Julian Quennell

"Yeah, I'm good. Always good! How about YOU?" Friends are few and far between these days, can't afford to lose any more...

Solomon avatar


I say I'm doing fine most will take & move others want to know whats the cane for & why are u shuffling so damn slow. I never tell what I'm going through not enough time in passing. My new response is under a medical study & by the looks they are giving me a stack of $

Jean williams avatar

Jean williams

My Husbend reply is im upright so anything after that is a positive x


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