I'm a 23-year-old woman in the United States. I have several chronic illnesses that in turn manifest in more short-term symptoms. I doubt all the particulars are actually relevant here (correct me if I'm wrong) but my laundry list of issues generally boils down to daily on-again off-again nausea, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, exhaustion, anxiety and brain fog. I am on treatment plans and actually in a great place health-wise compared to a few years ago, but some days are inevitably rougher than others.
I have the great fortune to work for an incredible startup with very empathetic people doing work I love. They've been very understanding about my illnesses and very forgiving with my work schedule and tasks - suffice it to say I love it here. My coworkers and bosses are all very personable (it's like a big family) and therefore concerned for me.
I often get people (both at the same level as me and above me) at work sincerely asking after my health. On the one hand, I feel they deserve and are actually interested in how I'm doing, and I should, therefore, give a genuine answer. On the other hand, I've been trained all my life to say "I'm fine" and not show weakness; particularly to those who owe you paychecks.
As my issues are chronic I am perfectly comfortable saying "I'm fine" when I'm in a less-symptom-heavy period. I can go for months at what I'd consider baseline health and function completely normally.
What I'm stuck at is some way to resolve the internal struggle I have when I am in a downswing and people are asking me every day or three if I'm feeling any better. The answer is almost always "same as yesterday" until it's not, and I can't always tell if my responses come across as being a downer, looking for sympathy or otherwise subtly begging for time off, less work, etc. Plus I don't want to respond in a discouraging way; the support is amazing and I don't want to in any way belittle or shut them down for genuinely caring.
A typical response I'll give might be something like;
Slightly better than yesterday which is a great thing!
Not too great but I'm getting along. (and then I change the subject)
Pretty bad today so I might need to go home early, but I wanted to come in and make sure I finished xyz task first.
Didn't get the best results on my last test/visit/etc but I'm staying strong!
I try to put a positive spin on things wherever possible so I think it balances out but I'm not sure. As you can tell, I am a worrier by nature.
TL;DR: My chronic illness means I'm sometimes sick for long periods of time (2-6 weeks at a stretch) and my workplace is full of genuinely concerned people. Am I handling responding to their questions of "how are you?" appropriately? If not, how do I answer without outright lying, but also without appearing to be a 'Debbie downer' looking for sympathy?