What do you do when you run out of spoons?

If you’ve never heard of The Spoon Theory, it goes like this.

Every day you wake up, you have any number of spoons. Every thing you do, anything that takes any amount of effort, costs you at least one spoon. You have to plan your entire day around whether or not one task or another is worth giving up a spoon. And if you run out of spoons before you finish the tasks you have set out for the day, then you don’t get any more. It’s game over at that point. If you’re young and healthy, you get pretty much an infinite number of spoons to spend on whatever you want. Use em  up, waste em on stupid shit..that’s all good and fine because you have plenty more spoons where those came from. But if you’re like me and you have joint issues and mental health issues, then you only get a finite number of spoons. And you have to really think about whether this task or that one is worth giving up a spoon for.

Today was a bad day. I only had about four spoons to start with and once I used up those four spoons getting dressed, making coffee and making my son breakfast, I knew I had to guard that last spoon jealously. I ended up spending the rest of the morning in bed half asleep with Youtube blaring in the background. That usually gives me a couple more spoons to work with so I used them to drive to the library and pick up some videos I had on hold. I also, just because I wanted to, bought a Twix from their vending machine which gave me an extra spoon as well.

I came home and spent the rest of the afternoon sleeping, trying to force my body to cough up more spoons so I could get through the evening. I managed to come up with a few more…enough so that I could make dinner (frozen pizza) and put away the groceries and fold a load of laundry.

Now I’m sitting here at the computer, using one more of my precious spoons instead of using the energy to go wash the pile of dishes in the sink. After that I am totally out of spoons and I’ll probably end up vegging on the couch with a glass of chocolate milk trying to summon the effort to get up, change out of my jeans and teeshirt and go to bed at some point.

School starts again in a little over a week which means I’ll be spending all my spoons at work, doing the things I’m assigned to do as part of my job but also by putting on a brave smile and being “on” for my entire shift. My plan is to, once I get home from work, go out and run but I’m not sure yet if I’ll have enough spoons left over at the end of my shift to do that. I hope I do. Because as weird as it sounds, they say that exercising regularly gives you more spoons, even if it initially takes them all away.

I hate having to think about what REALLY needs to get done and whether or not I have enough energy to do it that day. I hate having to take breaks halfway through a task because I literally just CANNOT do it for one more minute without throwing down a cup of coffee to help boost my flagging energy. I hate it. I hate having anxiety take away all of my spoons sometimes, making it impossible for me to focus on anything except the yelling going on inside my head. I hate having depression suck up all my spoons like an angry vampire who of course is not satisfied with what he just stole from me, so he seeks to take even more. More which I don’t even have to give.

If I look perfectly healthy…it’s because you can’t see how many spoons I don’t have and how much effort I’m putting into just appearing normal.


2 thoughts on “What do you do when you run out of spoons?

  1. I know the spoon story as “agile software development” – it’s how most software gets built these days. You start out with so much money, and so many things you want to get done. You then run like mad, trying to get the most important stuff done, and then start knocking out the less important stuff – but eventually you run low, and have to start picking and choosing. You can IMAGINE how stupid clients get when the money runs low, and they don’t have any more…

    Liked by 1 person

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