Ever since I became “ill” I have realized how much I took for granted. The simplest of tasks such as walking up and down the stairs, getting dressed, showering and even just going to the bathroom can be the hardest task. I may not look like someone who struggles, but there are days that I can barely move and just the thought of standing up makes me want to cry.
I tend to have a hard time trying to explain to people what the pain feels like. Since they can’t see my pain, they may not always understand it. I would talk to people who were going through similar situations and read articles on the site The Mighty. One day I came across an article about the spoon theory. I found it fascinating and thought about how it could help me to explain what was going on with me and why there were certain things I couldn’t do.
I did my fair share of research on the topic to try and learn everything I could. It is a metaphor to show how people with chronic pain/illnesses need to save their energy. They use the ideas of spoons for others to physically see what we are talking about. Each spoon represents tasks that we have to do. Once the spoons are out, we can’t get any more for the day. We must prioritize our day to get the most important tasks done before our spoons/energy is gone.
In the article, the girl went on to have her friend take a bunch of spoons and count them. They went through her day and what she had to do. As they went through each spoon was taken out and once she ran out she asked for more. She wasn’t allowed to have more and it made her realize how hard dealing with chronic pain or illnesses can be. (the full article and theory is by Christine Miserandino).
I forget that I only have so many spoons and I tend to over-schedule myself and sometimes I end up not being able to do certain things on my list. I must continue to remind myself every day that I am not completely healthy and I may never be. It’s okay that this is my new normal, but I just have to consciously think of the number of spoons I have available to me.
If you know someone who is suffering try not to judge them if they have to cancel or have to rest a lot and think about the spoons they have.