Friday, June 18, 2010

Spoons aren't just for sick people

Came across this today: Spoon Theory.

It's definitely worth a read if you have the time.

As I was reading it, I was struck by how much I could relate to this woman.  No, I'm not sick in the traditional sense, but I do have a mental health issue and I do take care of a chronically sick child.  I too feel as though I only have a certain number of spoons in my hand at any given time, but for me they're weekly allowances, not daily.

Mike was late getting home today because we had extremely violent thunderstorms which knocked out some traffic lights down by his workplace.  Plus, people always drive bananas when the rain comes and it takes you three times as long to get anywhere.  Anyway, he called me while he was stuck in a traffic jam and to me it was the last straw.  By Friday, I'm absolutely exhausted.  I have no energy to feed my son, to cook (or even think about) dinner, to tidy up the house, or to run errands in the evening.  I feel bone-tired, even though Fridays are usually my least-busy day of the week, and sometimes I just don't have the energy to get off the floor - which is usually where I am on a Friday afternoon.  When Mike calls me at the end of the week, he's always so excited to be done with work, and every single time I manage to crush his buoyancy like a particularly annoying mosquito.  I just can't bear it when he's so energetic and ... just ... MAD.  He's like a small child on Fridays, and after an entire week of taking care of one of those, I just can't face another.

When I'm tired I can't make decisions.  I find it hard to function normally, and as my 'normal' involves feeding Little O, I'm often driven to the point of desperation when Mike is late and can't do his Friday 5pm feed.  Today I nearly cried when England drew against Algeria because Owen REFUSED to sleep at his usual time, which meant he cried and cried and cried, which meant his stomach muscles contracted like mad, which meant I couldn't get his feeding tube to drain properly, which meant I couldn't get his lunch inside him, which meant he didn't eat his entire lunch, which meant I felt extremely guilty, which meant I was exhausted after two hours of battling reflux and guilt, which meant when England didn't secure a win I was VERY upset.  And very, very tired.  I could NOT face another round in the ring for Little O's dinner, and I was almost catatonic on the floor when Mike told me he would be late.  He came home to me still on the floor, propping Little O up on my arm while his automatic feeding pump whirred in the background.  Sure, it takes three times as long to get a meal in him, but when you just don't have the spoons left to fight another battle, it sure as hell makes do.

Today, my spoons are all gone.  But tomorrow, thank God, I get a fresh supply.



  1. I'm sorry? Who are you? And where do you get off telling me whether I'm allowed to talk about a theory or not?

    Annoymous = cowardice

  2. Cowardice, or trying to avoid drama. You can believe whichever one you like. The point still stands; it is not the place of the oppressor to co-opt the language of the oppressed. And I'm clearly not the only person who believes that, as the blog post I linked to (and its comments) indicate.

    Going on the defensive is simply an expression of your privilege. I suggest you examine that privilege.

  3. Fine I wont be anonymous. Being disabled and using the spoon theory for myself each and every day. Sometimes I don't even have enough spoons to get me through ONE day.

    If you have enough for a week the spoon theory is NOT yous.

  4. Oh please. Being disabled does not entitle you to claim anything for you and yours alone. Hell, that's such backwards logic I'm stumped for words. You're implying that being disabled makes you special, stand-out, unique ... which is something most people with disabilities campaign AGAINST.

    Do not seek to lecture me on disability. I have grown up with it and continue to live with it as a mother. If you don't like my blog or my opinons, please go away and find someone else to feel superior to.

  5. DutchMoeder. How nice of you to inform us all that a mental health issue is not a disability. Most health services would disagree with you. So how about you STFU and stop erasing those of us with psychological/cognitive disabilities.

  6. Tina & Anthea

    I just felt the need to add: Your headline comes off rather badly. Because Spoon Theory is not for sick people at all. It is for people with disabilities. There's a difference between the two. Sick people include those suffering from the flu, but the flu is not a disability.

    Mental health issues in many (if not most?) cases do qualify as a disability, but it is really up to the individual to decide whether their condition/disorder/disease is also a disability for them.

    From your headline it comes across that you do not identify as sick, but in your comments you seem to identify as disabled. This puts you in exactly the group that Spoon Theory applies to, so I'm rather unsure as to who you're directing your headline towards.

    I have a cognitive disability (autism), and I shudder to even try to imagine how many spoons I would need for caring for another person on my own 5 days a week (only having back-up on weekends, as I'm reading your post - correct me if I'm wrong). I'd definitely need more than I have.

    You don't actually have to argue how Spoon Theory also applies to you, because what with having mental health issues (whatever that covers - none of my business) it already does.

    There's an awfully harmful hierarchy of disability that privileges physical disability and disease as somehow more real than psychological disability/disease. This is flawed, but it seems that you have internalised this, and have come to accept that your mental health issues are somehow less legit than any physical disabilities people might have. Reality is not so, and it looks to me like you know this in your bones, too.

    There's quite some discussion going on on Twitter about this headline of yours ;-) and ppl have been awfully quick to accuse you of appropriation, because they think you're not disabled, because of said headline. This is very unfortunate, and only goes to show how the disability hierarchy can influence us so much that we police those boundaries without even meaning to.

    I wanted to put this out there, both to keep you informed of what's going on, but also to make sure that other readers have a specific view about this post of yours, rather than the very generalised and for this case irrelevant FWD post linked above.

    Sorry for spamming your comments.

    I hope you find enough spoons to also have a little fun and enjoyment. I know how rare that can become in times of great stress.

  7. Oh. My. God.

    Hands up who's heard of the word 'metaphor'?

  8. Using the word 'privilege,' is merely a means of Godwinning a thread. It is a meaningless word, made meaningless by the way it is smugly used to put others down and righteously claim the moral high ground on indignation.

    To get offended and then to pull out the word 'privilege' instead of providing any actual or useful commentary says that you are LOOKING to get outraged.

    I don't think the analogy or the headline are something to get upset about. It's an innocent post, that is clearly not aimed at putting anyone down.

  9. Your blog.

    Your feelings.

    Your choice.

    Sod them and their self important tripe. Keep on keeping on and keep on writing, if not only to piss them off more.

  10. I think your post is lovely and honest. I'm a little taken aback by the comments that followed; I'm sorry.