Friday, November 4, 2011

Counting My Spoons

There is a website about invisible illness that talks about spoons and spoonies.  The theory goes something like this:  You wake up in the morning and take inventory of how many spoons you have to get you through the day.  I don't remember exactly why they use the terminology of spoons, but to continue, these spoons represent the amount of energy you have to last you through the day.  So if you wake up and feel really good you have more spoons than if you wake up and feel bad.  

As you inventory your spoons you also inventory the activities you have planned for the day.  Then you try to figure out how many spoons each activity is going to need for you to get through it.  Again, I don't know how spoons got into the mix, but the concept works for me.  

I am just now getting used to this "Spoon Theory" and learning how to apply it to my daily life.  Most days I  don't have a lot planned.  Unfortunately you can't collect unused spoons to use on another day.  It just doesn't work that way.

Now when some event comes up that you really would enjoy participating in, you know ahead of time that it is going to require a lot more spoons.  After you have done this for awhile you kind of start to figure out what you can handle and what you can't.  The best teacher is at the end of the day when you have depleted all your spoons and end up exhausted wishing you had not used them all.  It's those lessons you tend to remember.  Other great teachers show you the next day what happens if you use up all your spoons the day before.  Sometimes you wake up already with a deficit and wonder how you will make it through the day.  It's these times you decide whether or not the activities that used up all your spoons were worth the effort.  It's these times that help you decide whether or not to participate in future activities that require many spoons.

Over the past year I have learned to always include driving time both ways, along with any waiting time involved, and any extra activities that might be included.  This comes in handy when planning activities.  For example, the latest event is an invitation to a big concert that I would really enjoy attending.  In itself the concert is not a big spoon-consumer.  However, when I include driving time to and from, getting there early and waiting in line, the concert itself, the time spent in traffic when leaving, finding a place to stop to eat out (even fast food counts in spoon time), I come up with a seven to eight hour trip.  Yes having a wheelchair MIGHT get us in quicker because we would get to ask for help, but it still makes for a long day and more spoons than I have on one of my best days.  I have no guarantees ahead of time what each morning is going to be like or how many spoons I will have on any given day to work with.  So the result is that right now going to this concert is a big MAYBE.  

This is how all activities outside of the "normal" daily stuff usually go for me.   I make tentative plans to go but then might end up changing my mind at the last minute depending on how I feel that day.  What a learning experience it has been for me.  I understand so much better what other people go through now and what it takes for them to get out and do things they want to do.

For more information on the "Spoon Theory" please check out TheSpoonTheory and other information on the But You Don't Look Sick Website 

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