I’m finally beginning to think that there may be something to The Spoon Theory. If you don’t know what the Spoon Theory is, I highly suggest reading about it. So many people in the chronic illness community herald it as the best explanation for what they go through with their illnesses and often refer to themselves as “Spoonies”.
For a while I have been very hesitant in describing myself as a spoonie and indulging in the comments and posts that usually involve statements like “I ran out of spoons today” or “Praying for extra spoons”. I think now that this may be due to a form of denial and anger at my illness. In my denial and anger, I refused to play a part in anything to do with the spoon theory. I struggled to believe that taking a shower, getting dressed, taking a walk, or any other normal daily activities could cost me a spoon. It was ridiculous that such simple things could detract so much from my energy as to make me sick. Slowly, I am realizing the truth in the theory however.
Taking a shower does exhaust me. 99% of the time I end up on the shower floor, struggling to turn the water to cold or flopping helplessly against the door in an effort to escape the hot suffocating environment. Often, during these times, I’m losing sight and feeling nauseous and already half way to fainting before I give in and slide down the wall. Getting dressed can also be difficult. At my worse, I have had to sit down in order to put pants on because I could not support myself on one leg. There’s something incredibly humiliating about having to sit down to put on your pajamas while sharing a dorm room with someone. All these things take effort and stamina and a functional working body. Without those things, the activities get slightly more difficult.
I came to this realization one night when I returned home from a meal exhausted and physically sick. Spending my time more often than not curled in a ball waiting for the pain and nausea to subside. This was particularly painful for me since I clearly remembered at dinner thinking to myself “hey, I can eat this! I’m finally on the mend!” Apparently not. I realized that night that I did too much. I stretched myself too thin and I was suffering the consequences. In fact, that has been my biggest lesson last semester. I have limits. Those limits are somewhat more restrictive than what is “normal” and if I don’t obey those limits, I WILL pay for it. Whether through an ER trip or through some horrifying new presentation of my body’s instability and weakness. Believe me, this is a HARD lesson to learn in your 20s.
I guess, now, I measure my days in spoons. Thankfully, tonight, I have a few extra 🙂