Christine Miserandino wrote an amazing story called, “The Spoon Theory,” in which she described her telling of her best friend what it is like to live with a finite amount of energy each and every day. Miserandino lives with lupus, which is how the spoon theory first became attached, to those living with chronic illnesses and disabilities. It has made its way to help define the feelings of those struggling with a mental illness as well. I can tell you first hand, the spoon theory definitely applies to my life when my depression takes hold. I know beforehand when something is going to require tons of energy and always attempt to plan accordingly.
Miserandino in the story gives her friends a number of spoons and explains that these are all the spoons that she has for the day. Her friend tries to make plans with these spoons and Miserandino tells her, sometimes the activities that are required, will take more spoons than you expect, leaving you to make decisions about doing what you need to versus what you want. Her friend is already down several spoons before even getting dressed for the day. As the day goes on, Miserandino continues to remove spoons from her friend’s hand. Now we are down to the end of the day, her friend has to eat dinner but there is only one spoon left. It is 7:30PM and she has a decision to make, if she cooks, there are no spoons to left to clean the pots. Her friend decides to make soup as it was an easy fix to hunger. Miserandino is kind of enough to give her friend one more spoon, explaining that she always puts one spoon on reserve as borrowing from the next day’s set can be costly. Her friend becomes emotional, wondering how Miserandino does it.
The thing about having spoons is, we expend so much energy and sometimes the energy that we expend can be more than the amount of spoons we were given for the day. For many people, they have an infinite amount of spoons, capable of doing any and everything they want. For me, I have to plan my day before the day even starts. I try to keep the same routine for my work mornings because that always takes the same amount of energy but the drive to work and what happens at work, those can deplete my resources faster than I had hoped. There are days where I do not even have the energy to make the 30 minute drive home and the result of having to push to do so leaves me going straight to bed without eating dinner. There are times where the work week will leave me so depleted that I stay in bed all weekend, with only enough spoons to brush my teeth and eat one meal. The only advantage to that is I can start Monday feeling physically and mentally clear but the rest of the week is a crap shoot.
I wrote in my last post that it was embarrassing to have to state that I am out of spoons and I need to clarify what I meant. I am not embarrassed to say I do not have the energy, I do that all the time. I am embarrassed that I have not taken the time to try to explain to anyone else what a typical day is like for me when my depression rears its ugly head. I chose to close a lot of people out in fear of what they might say based on my experience with my marriage. My wasband used everything against me and the only other person who I shared my struggle with is no longer in my life. I made the decision to close myself off in all aspects and when I became stable, it really seemed like a good idea. I was okay, right? No need to explain about why I am so tired and out of it.
I am, at this point, still choosing to maintain my current regiment of medication however, am considering an increase in my antidepressant. I still have about a week or so before I see my psychiatrist again and will more than likely make my final decision after our session. No matter how rocky my experiences get, I still whole heartedly believe in taking my medications, effectiveness or not. Part of me believes if I can change my mindset that I can break through this bout. But after seven years, I also know when to throw in the towel and say, “Hey, I’m really not doing well. What can we do?”
Please note: I do not recommend anyone to do what I do or to say no to additional medicine. Always do what you believe is right for your treatment because no two courses of treatment are alike. I also suffer from migraines which is always on the forefront of my mind when additional or changes in my medication take place and causes hesitation.
I implore you to read Christine Miserandino’s story, it is an amazing read. You can do so by clicking here.
BITD is a blog designed to educate on mental illness and maintain mental wellness through personal experiences.