I’ve been on an internet jaunt today. Or more accurately since yesterday, when the RPG post I did prompted me to re-read some old posts on blogs I particularly like, which led me circuitously — as internet rambles do — to a new blog (which I’m surprised I didn’t encounter long ago), and from the comments there I ended up at another blog (ditto), and from that blog’s Mental Health Advocacy page I ended up at the blog I’m going to quote and link below.
To begin with, the blog’s title is genius. “But you don’t look sick!” is something I told myself many, many times over the years in order to keep paying my property taxes on the best neighbourhood in DeNial. It’s also something I worried people would tell me if I ever dared mention that I wasn’t doing all that well. It’s something I still tell myself to this day as the aches and pains of growing older (arthritis, my Doctor reckons) sometimes make it hard to do things like, oh I don’t know, get out of bed. If I don’t look sick, I can’t be sick — for better or worse.
And here’s the post anyone who is chronically ill with anything, or who knows someone who is chronically ill, should read. It’s called The Spoon Theory. Go for it. It’s much more interesting than this post (which is almost done anyway) and this post ain’t going anywhere.
As I read, I couldn’t help thinking “I totally get this, but thank goodness it doesn’t apply to me! I have lots of spoons!” But the honest truth is, I don’t. I may have more than Ms. Miserandino does, but even when I was 20 my supply wasn’t infinite. Because Spoons aren’t just for doing physical things like getting out of bed, running errands, or going to work. They’re for mental, emotional and spiritual things too like interacting with people, worrying about money, or meditating.
Good or bad, physical or metaphysical, everything costs a spoon. And if you’ve spent all your spoons worrying about money (which I do a lot when I’m anxious), then you’re not going to have a spoon left to meditate and be less anxious, no matter how often a well-meaning outsider tells you to just “make sure you take enough time for yourself”. Part of the problem with anxiety and depression, by the way, is not feeling as though you’re worth taking the time for. Part of the problem with these mental issues (that often accompany long-term physical issues) is that if it were that bloody easy, don’t you think we’d be fit as fiddles by now, at least mentally?
So for yourself, don’t forget that your spoon supply may not be infinite, and apply them as best you can to the things that are best for you. I suddenly feel fortunate that all I have to worry about is applying them to good things rather than having to eke them out to apply to basic survival.
And for others, don’t forget that they have spoons too, and they may be running out. Lend them one if you happen to have one to spare.