the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

But You Don’t Look Sick – part 2 (The Spoon Theory)


[EDIT: I’m bumping up an old post from the VOX archives– maybe someone new will get something good out of it.  The post was originally published December 29, 2007 @ 11:52h.  Some of my perceptions of my condition have changed– actively working on PTSD now– but I think it still applies.]

The Spoon Theory

Please read the link for the full story, but here’s a summary:

Imagine that living and experiencing life consists of using spoons– a spoon for every little thing, every little action.

Now… a healthy person has a near unlimited amount of spoons.  But let’s say you’re sick, and not in an obvious way.  It might be … fibromyalgia, Lupus (as the author has), a mental illness, cancer in remission, whatever.

Suddenly– your spoons are limited to a much smaller amount.  Let’s say, as the author did, it’s 12.

I’ll put it from my perspective.

Waking up in the morning – if I don’t remember to take meds the night before or the ones I have to take right then, I lose all or most of my spoons.  Since I fell into the “prescription gap”, I don’t have all the meds I’ve recently been prescribed, so carve that number down to about 8-10.

Speaking of sleep – if I don’t use my C-PAP machine, or if the mask had an air leak, I’m subtracting about 2-5 spoons.

I might be down to 5 spoons, and I haven’t even started the day!

A family crisis.  Subtract a spoon.

A bacterial or viral illness.   Subtract a spoon.

My back injury– subtract 1-2 spoons EACH day, EVERY day, depending on how much sitting I’ve done or how much physical exertion I’ve done… if yesterday, I probably didn’t sleep it off well, much less sleep period– if during the day, I might be able to reuse a spoon– IF I stop and rest.

How the hell do I explain emotional eating and resulting obesity?  Hah- meds help me keep my spoons, but then they have also made it difficult to lose weight.

Speaking of meds, if there are any changes– either subtract 2 spoons, or add two and subtract 4 later on a different day– from 5 days to one full week later.  A lot of us are guinea pigs, people.  Even with diagnostics and statistics (that’s what the DSM manual is), everyone’s chemistry is different.  Most of the time, docs just try a drug and see how you react to it.  Hit and miss, trial and error, black art.  Once one of my docs tried a drug and my side effects were SO BAD my family thought I was going to die, if I wasn’t doing so right then.  (I’d forget to breathe, for one, and had the shakes something terrible.)

Hopefully… this makes sense.

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Author: jaklumen

Wherever you see "jaklumen", that's me- the username is still unique as of the current year. Be aware that the facet you see, is only a small part of the me that is me.

2 thoughts on “But You Don’t Look Sick – part 2 (The Spoon Theory)

  1. I just don't see how you keep it all straight. And does your weight affect how they work? Because that seems like a really tiresome vicious circle.Anyway, sometimes it seems like humanity is just breathtakingly dull-witted when it comes to concern for others'–concerns. On the one hand, we'd all go bats if we had to worry about everyone all the time, and could see on the outside what's going on inside. We go about with false faces partly for that reason. On the other hand, it should be a no-brainer that there's plenty of inside that people have to manage, which could use some basic consideration.


  2. I just don't see how you keep it all straight. And does your weight
    affect how they work? Because that seems like a really tiresome vicious
    circle.Mental health care here is pretty dismal– and it tends to be worse in the next region over– south Central Washington has one agency, and that's it.As I said, it was so embarassing to find out the treatment center that formerly provided me services lost their contract to do so– from the local news. The next organization to contact me was the bi-county agency that revoked their contract, and then, much, much later, I got a letter from the CEO (or whatever) of said counseling center in which he tried to assert how great they were. Cosmic fail, buddy.A large part of the problem is that med treatment is cheaper than cognitive psychotherapy. I'm sure I could work through the issues, trauma, and baggage that leads me to emotionally eat, but counseling slips through my fingers because it's just not cheap enough for the government and the insurance companies participating in Medicaid/Medicare. So I tend to get shitty counselors that are restricted in their services, not to mention that whether or not I had the ability to pay in cold, hard cash, they are still puppets to certain politics and what I want and what seems to be doing well for me be screwed. Fuck them. A lot of the issues are tied up in sex and sexuality (cf. issues, trauma, and baggage again) and they are just too paralyzed to help me with the decisions I decided to make. I could rant on that for days, in greater detail… but for my own sake of paranoia and my own awareness of how long-winded that would be… I won't.


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