If you aren’t familiar with Spoon Theory, go get a copy of Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson, right now. Also, start reading her blog. Gods…. if you haven’t been reading The Bloggess, what rock have you been hiding under all these years?
In Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson explains “Spoon Theory” in detail. I’m giving her full credit for it here because it makes so much sense and explains the whole “I just can’t…” part of Depression. Let me explain.
First, let’s take a young, perfectly healthy person. This person wakes up in the morning with a full set of spoons. All the things they have to do that day require energy. You have a spoon for everything you need to do. You already got out of bed. That’s a spoon. Eating, caring for people, going places, cleaning house, working…. you get the idea. And at the end of the day, this young healthy person has spoons leftover as he or she goes to bed. When they wake up, the Spoon Fairy has arrived with this fresh supply of spoons for the day. Voila! Infinite spoons!
But if you’re sick, that affects the number of spoons you get that day. If you’re battling mental illness, you start to see those spoons dwindle. There will be days you wake up and the fairy only left you 3 or 4 spoons. That’s all you get for the day and you have to make them last. You have to be selective with your spoons.
You haven’t seen a post from me since … oh …. June of last year, because I haven’t had the spoons to write. Today, I sit and write about Spoon Theory. I’m still in my pajamas. I haven’t had a shower or brushed my teeth. I haven’t eaten. I haven’t brushed my hair. If my husband hadn’t called me to ask me a question, I probably wouldn’t have said one word to anyone. By the time this post is complete, I may be out of spoons; I’m not sure yet. I may have a couple more. I hope I do.
You always seem to get 1 spoon. You woke up. You aren’t dead today. But, yes, that requires a spoon, because the energy that comes pouring in when you wake up…. all the mind chatter and the self-talk you have to fight.
“OMG, can’t I just lay here?”
“No. you have to get out of bed. How can you tell your kid he can’t stay in bed all day if you just stay in bed all day?”
So by the time you guilt trip yourself, you’ve spent a spoon just waking up.
If you only have 3-4 spoons that day, you decide how to spend them. Personal hygiene may have to be put off until the next day. Or the next. Or the next. Some day when you have enough spoons or until you just can’t take it anymore.
You start valuing relationships on a whole new level. Friendships change. Long-term depression will do that to people. But it comes down to talking about what’s wrong and why you don’t feel like this person doesn’t have your back. You tell yourself that this person just has too much going on right now and it isn’t the right time to talk, but in reality, you just don’t have enough spoons to have a conversation.
There are days when I wake up with one spoon and I just want to cry. I know I have to get out of bed anyway and I don’t have the spoons to do it. Those are the days I have to fake it. I have to put up a façade. I become Duch.
Duch is smart, confident, outgoing. She’s anything but depressed. She can damn sure get out of bed in the morning. I put the face on. Oh, and Duch would want to dress up pretty. But, damn… does she have to wear those uncomfortable shoes? So what if they’re pretty? Ok, but she does tell me I look good.
She drags me outside & we go somewhere. Anywhere. Even if it’s to a freakin’ coffee shop. Although, recently, she made the mistake of dragging me to the grocery store (trying to accomplish getting something done while getting me out of the house), but that only resulted in me having a panic attack. Too many people, too crowded. So Duch and I went home with just a few items, got back into the pajamas and drank beer. I was now at negative spoons.
Negative spoons is not a good thing. This doesn’t go away the next day. There is no magickal reset to zero. When the fairy brings your spoons the next day, she subtracts the spoons you “borrowed” against… you know, those spoons that took you into the negative? If you don’t have enough, she leaves you one. She carries the balance over to the following day.
If there is a way to earn spoons, I’d like to know.
But that is Spoon Theory, in a nutshell. Now go read Jenny Lawson’s book. But if you haven’t read her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, go read that first. And, for chrissakes! Get out from under that damned rock!