I wrote about the Spoon Theory last Saturday, and have since adopted that particular form of thinking. So when a sudden bout of exhaustion hits me, I'll say something to the effect of, "Ugh! I'm suddenly out of spoons. I need to lie down."
Oh, a brief note before I go on. Christine Miserandino's "Spoon Theory" was a cut and paste. There might be concern because it's copyrighted material. The thing is that I didn't profit from it in any way. All I did was share that which has been spreading around the web. I could have linked it, but not everyone follows such links, and I wanted to share that which came to mean a great deal to me in an instant. I made no claim to it being an original work, so...Yeah. No real worries there.
Mental illness puts a spin on the spoon theory. Assuming Christine is correct, the disabled person starts with so many spoons per day. We'll go with the 12 she handed her friend. This represents the physical side of disability. And while she has an incredible outlook on life, it's a documented fact that those with physical disabilities usually suffer mentally. Now let's say the person with the mental disability has PTSD and severe recurring depression, just like me. It's a normal day with nothing extravagant planned.
Right. Normal day. Here in Kansas, that could mean waking up to the sound of thunder and rain coming down so hard on one's home that one could mistaken it for Armageddon. No problem. I've been adjusting to the weather here. I get up, take pain meds so I can move, and sit at my computer while I await their activation.
Then a lightning bolt hits very close to home, and the sudden crack of thunder interacts with my PTSD. I scream in brief terror and jump in my seat. Once my heart has resumed its normal pace, I realize that that one incident caused me to drop three spoons. I'm down to nine for the day in an instant.
About an hour later, my painkillers are working and I'm feeling a tad bit more mobile. I shuffle into the kitchen to see what's around to eat. The entire breakfast routine burns a spoon.
While I'm in the kitchen, I see I'm running low on my latest addiction, diet root beer. Time to assess my day. Am I feeling up to a snack run with one of my housemates? Sure, it'll be good to get out of the house. However, I am immediately drained of another spoon when in my housemate's car. He needs his AC fixed. The heat, humidity, and raised pollen count establishes a minor wheeze in my lungs. I take a pull off of my inhaler, but the damage has been done.
Shopping takes another spoon from me, especially with my bum knee. I make the best of it, despite being drained of what seems to be an inordinate amount of energy. I'm at six spoons.
Another spoon goes away when I get home. I feel grotesque. I sweat so much that I think I lost a stone. I shower, hence the spoon burn. Getting dressed doesn't take anything out of me, as I simply throw on underwear and a pair of shorts.
Because I'm a late starter on the day, my beloved Becky is home from work and online by the time I'm cleaned up. We get on Skype and chat, play games, or just stare at one another through our video cameras. It's the best spoon burn of the day, and leaves me with four as we head into evening.
I've been a combination of conservative and lazy. I know I only have so much in me each day, and I try to keep extra spoons in reserve. I mean, there are people who rely on my to be the voice of reason when they're in psychological crisis. While it's all well and good that I have become a symbol of hope, sometimes I avoid being available for such crises, as I, myself, have become a spoonless wonder.
Becky and I say goodnight after many hours chatting, and I'm still a four-spoon man. My housemates handled dinner, saving my the energy, if not the finances. So one would think I've actually done rather well for myself...
...until I start thinking. Yes, it's been a good day. I got things done. But my knee is now swollen from shopping, and has been feeling like it's going to fall apart at any moment. Despite taking more painkillers throughout the day, I hurt. I try to dwell on the new light in my life, Becky, and think how lucky I am to have found her...but it just doesn't make sense. How does a guy as broken as me end up with such a beautiful woman like her? I'm also lucky for my housemates, who are understanding that my activities are limited. Beyond that, I sit around on most days, accepting a government check for being disabled, and play computer games. I would get a job I could perform at home, except that it would obliterate my insurance. These thoughts ricochet around my brain in only a few minutes, and before you know it, I'm in a depressive slump.
Remember the four spoons I had? I dropped them. They're gone. It could have happened much earlier in the day, so I was relatively lucky. Now, at the end of the day, I am a spoonless wonder, and all I want is to go to bed and ignore the world. I need to get to sleep before I start dwelling on how much better the world would be without me.
I suffered just such an episode last night, dropping all of my spoons in a matter of moments.
It could always be worse. Someone with severe bipolar mania might drop all of their spoons when they wake up. Schizophrenics are probably unaware of how many spoons they have at any given moment. Someone with a worse case of PTSD than mine could end up stabbing people with their spoons. And substance abusers, who are usually people with one mental illness or another and are self-medicating, are replacing their spoons with chemicals, only to discover when it's too late that their "new" spoons do incredible amounts of damage to their bodies.
I could probably expand this. Not sure if I'd copyright it, as Christine did. Not a first draft like this, anyway. But this is my personal addition to her theory. My hope is that is will further expand understanding when it comes to disabilities. Not everyone is handicapped by something that's malfunctioning physically. Sometimes the problem is in the brain's wiring.
And so, with that said, I'm off. The power was out for about an hour this afternoon. The gathering heat here at home drained me of a spoon or two. Oh, we have power back, but the spoons don't regenerate that swiftly. It takes sleep for that to happen.
May all of my readers be well and spoonful. =)