Spoon Theory

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!

I Googled "Spoon Fairy" and really found this image.
I Googled “Spoon Fairy” and really found this image. The Spoon Fairy does exist. PROOF!!

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!

SpoonTheory

“I want to ride my bicycle…”

Freddie Mercury got that one right. 🙂

I’ve been saying for a while that I need to get more exercise. Running isn’t my thing, although I know it’s good for more than just the body. My friends who do run continue to tell me how they experience a release from their stress and anxiety when they run. They experience that sense of *freedom*, and sometimes everything that’s eating at you finally just shuts the fuck up.

I used to bike a lot when I was younger for those same reasons. Not necessarily for the exercise, but just to get out of the house and see how far I could go that day. Anything bothering me was gone. For that moment, I was free. I kinda’ got away from that over the years…

It’s time I got back to it. I got a bike last night and started riding today (yes, in the rain). I love it! Going riding again tomorrow! 🙂

My New Bicycle
My New Bicycle. Isn’t she just beautiful???

Spring Cleaning

Some of you know I’ve started my own business. Tempest Mystic Products is my baby. I sell handmade incense, room sprays made from essential oils, and I’m starting to make bath salts. I also do custom oil blends upon request.

I work out of my home, and I use my home office and my garage for my production area. As a result, it got to the point where I couldn’t really move around in my home office, between all the inventory I had and all the gadgets, books, and other things I’ve accumulated over the years. It was time to do a spring cleaning.

Continue reading “Spring Cleaning”

Still Crazy After All These Years…

… but aren’t we all just a tiny bit crazy?

In my last post I brought a very difficult topic to light. I’m happy to say to all of you I’ve made it 2 weeks and 2 days without an incident.

menopauseexpress.com-2-weeks

I won’t lie to you; each day is a challenge right now. But today is probably the first day I’ve actually felt good about myself, and that’s a huge change.  Continue reading “Still Crazy After All These Years…”

Hey – We’re out of straws!

I spent my day off yesterday wondering how I would go back to work today. I was dreading it. I was wavering back and forth between panic and tears. Mr. Magick Man had his own list of things he wanted me to follow-up on for an upcoming trip he’s taking, too. I decided that was it. I can’t start my business, be someone’s personal assistant, cook dinner, and stand on my feet all day. But I wasn’t going to quit on Friday. I’d at least talk to the manager so they could find coverage for Saturday.

I went in and started my shift. I wasn’t happy to be there. All I could think about was how slow I was compared to everyone else. The store was opening and people started coming in. The Friday hoard invaded.

No one understands that you’re new on Friday. Everyone is in a hurry.

This one older guy walked in. He was probably no more than 10 years older than me, but his face really showed his age, y’know? He had a smile on his face and said he’d been looking for a bakery all morning. Considering it was only about 8:15am, he couldn’t have been looking very long… He seemed like a nice guy. He ordered a mixture of pastries and a few cinnamon rolls. These needed a larger box. The box I pulled would have fit, but I’d need to stack some of the pastries. Suddenly, Dr. Nice Customer turns into Mr. Hyde and says in this snippy voice, “Don’t stack them all in one box! Put them all in one layer. I don’t want them messed up!”  So I get the longest box we have, which won’t hold all of them in one layer, btw, and start to box the pastries. I have 4 left over, and I start to get another box. Mr. Hyde then says, “Don’t you know anything?! Do I have to come back there and do it myself? Put them all in that box!” I then replied, “You said not to stack them. If I put them all in one layer, they won’t fit.” And he says, “Just put them all in that box. Do I have to come back there myself?” 

menopauseexpress.com-straw

That was the last straw. I asked one of the other employees to help him, because I was about to tell him I would love to see him behind that counter all day, on his feet, doing my job. I’d pay good money to see him working just one of my shifts while I bitched at him.

Instead, I quit.

Fini!

Finals are over. My last presentation was made yesterday. Grades (for me, anyway) have already been posted. I made A’s in all my classes. I worked so hard to maintain that 4.0 GPA and I succeeded. Now I can rest. I’m taking a break this summer. But I’m already planning out my downtime. I’m taking today to map out what I’d like to do on my whiteboard, just as soon as I erase everything else.

End of Semester

 

I was so stressed out this semester, especially when it came down to finals. I went into this semester as an “A Student” and I’d managed to keep it up until finals. I didn’t want to lose it. How stressed was I? After I’d finished everything and felt good about my final projects, when I was just waiting to turn everything in and make my presentations, over that weekend I had a nightmare. I dreamed I made a B in one of my classes. At least I woke up from it and recognized the dream for what it was. Instead of being panic stricken I broke out into a giggle fit. It’s good to be able to laugh at yourself.

I’ve built more relationships on campus this semester than I thought. On the last day, there were people in the lab laughing and joking with me, saying goodbye for the summer. Some of my classmates even wanted to take pictures with me. When I go back in the fall I’ll be taking night classes and I probably won’t see them. I realized I’ll miss these people more than I thought…

I'll Just Think About That Tomorrow

 

Yes, I’m taking the Scarlett O’Hara approach on that one. I’m going to enjoy my summer break and I’ll just think about that tomorrow.

The ADHD Brain and Post-Project Let Down

I decided to write about this subject because there is surprisingly a lack of information out there. Yes, I’ve found other blogs, but I haven’t found anything from the medical, psychology, or ADHD field itself (other than one book, and he doesn’t cover much). If anyone knows of a credible resource please feel free to share it in a comment.

adhd brain

 

You work on a huge project. You already have a tendency to hyperfocus, but when the project is this big and the deadline is so close, that tendency kicks into high-gear. Everything else goes by the wayside. Nothing in the world exists but the project. You may forget to eat. When you do eat it isn’t healthy. If you’re lucky, your family understands because they know this pattern by now.

The most amazing thing is the mind chatter disappears. Mind chatter? Yes. You know, internal distractions. The mind is never quiet. One worry pops in just as soon as you push another aside. You’re constantly spinning on one thought or another. Meditation never seems to work. Relax, you say? Hah! Right…

mind chatter

 

“Mind chatter is the result of a lack of distraction for the ADHD brain.” (Driven to Distraction, Dr. Edward M. Hallowell and Dr. John J. Ratey)

I can’t speak for everyone. We all have our own techniques for handling our distractions so we can get the job done. I wouldn’t get a thing done without the whiteboard in my office. I see it every day along with the deadlines. I outline each project into small parts, giving each part a deadline. I cross off my deadlines as I meet them so I can see my accomplishments. The downside to this process is it encourages me to hyperfocus. The upside is I stay on track.

I’ve also noticed I experience a huge adrenalin rush when I hit the point where I’m hyperfocused on that project. Yes, I’m stressed about hitting my deadline but towards the end when I finally know things are coming together and it’s going to work – the relief just washes over me. I feel glorious! I want to shout to everyone, “Look at what I’ve done! Look at what I accomplished!!” I’m on top of the world.

The project comes to a close and I’m riding on that emotional high. It lasts for about a day.

As I’m enjoying the well-deserved downtime, the mind chatter begins. I’m not hyperfocused anymore. I don’t have anything to “spin” on, so I spin on myself. To the person who doesn’t understand the ADHD brain it would seem I’m scanning the horizon finding something to worry about. I don’t mean to; my mind is just wandering. Most of the time I snap out of it wondering how I got there in the first place; but by the time I find myself “there”, I’m an emotional wreck over whatever I’ve found on the horizon.

These are the highs and lows of working on a project. I used to think it was just me but in my search for more information on “post-project let down” and “post-project depression” I found others experiencing this same issue. People are posting in forums and blogs, both ADHD and Project Management, about this same pattern. Yet I get no hits in the medical field… nothing confirming why. We’re all just speculating. This truly surprises me. Surely there is more information out there and I’m just missing it.

My search was not for a solution. It was more for personal validation that I wasn’t alone. I needed to know if others had this problem or if I was just … crazy. I already have a solution. I’ll stick with my pattern of planning out my projects; I just need to adjust for the project close. I have a great method for planning out my deadlines until the project ends. I just need to make sure I have something lined up for when it’s over. Downtime? We all need it, but I suppose I need to start planning something for that, too.

only human