Running out of Spoons

I don’t generally think of myself as someone who has to worry about running out of spoons. If you’re not familiar with Spoon Theory, it is a metaphor that those who experience chronic illness use to explain how they have to plan their day(s) according to how much energy they have and how much their illness is affecting them. You can read the more thorough explanation here.

spoon theory chronic painI do experience chronic pain, and have since I was young. I have good days and bad days. On high pain days, I have to go slower. But most of the time, I recover pretty quickly when I overdo.  I definitely have it a lot easier than many people that I know.

Lately I have been experiencing both physical and mental health issues. They’ve combined to completely sap my energy. I think I’ve been running on fumes for a while, and denying it, pushing myself to keep going. It’s a vicious cycle – poor mental health leads to poor physical health which leads to worse mental health…

And now I’m empty. Or nearly. I don’t recall ever feeling no motivation before. I’ve had more than one day where I don’t want to do anything. It’s really frightening, really. There are projects I want to do, or feel I ought to do. And I can’t seem to bring myself to do them. Even writing this blog post has taken hours to write. I write a few lines, and then get distracted. I have no focus.

Thankfully, I have support. And people to remind me of all the things I often recommend to others – to be gentle with myself, allow myself the time and space to heal. Pushing myself to achieve more isn’t going to make the struggle go away. I didn’t get to this place overnight, I can’t expect to be healed overnight.

It’s not easy for Wonder Woman to take a break. And it is DEFINITELY not easy for me, at least in my mind, to not achieve. In practice, it’s amazing how quickly the days go by watching Netflix and playing games on my phone. I have to work on not beating myself up about it, though.

It’s going to get easier. I am getting better. I have to trust that this is all part of the process. And I’ve got the words from one of Shane Koyczan’s new poem/songs going through my head:

I may look like debris
But I’m a masterpiece
My next heartbeat
Deserves a press release.

~ Shane Koyczan, Debris



3 Responses

  1. *hugs*

    It’s really hard not to beat oneself up for necessary self-care/not being productive. We’re indoctrinated from an early age with the need to always be producing, always be doing something, always be ambitious, and if you’re a Type-A personality it’s like 10x worse. (Idk if you are a type-A but I am.)

    (Of course, this indoctrination is part of how the ruling class stays in power and keeps the proletariat from revolution, but that’s a rant for another day.)
    Morag recently posted..30 Days of Hymns, Day 9: hymn round-up and reflection on my progress

  2. “My next heartbeat deserves a press release.”

    Been there. Those days are the worst. Those moments where maybe, just maybe, you’d rather not have your heart just beat one. more. time. Where you’re so godsforsaken tired and beat down that you just can’t do It anymore. But you keep breathing and your heart keeps beating and dammit you just keep going on in spite of yourself.

    *hugs* Be good to you.

  3. Thankfully, I haven’t gotten quite low enough that I don’t want to continue, Jen. And I still appreciate the encouragement.

    And yes, Morag, exactly. I’m so conditioned to be productive it is difficult to not be.