Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Spoon Theory

I've been sick, Pisces is still sick and so is the cat. In my case it's because I overdid it a little - but it only takes a little for someone with several chronic illnesses to overdo things and the consequences can be harsh. So I've spent much of the last week getting up, doing the barest minimum of survival tasks then collapsing back into bed which is where I'm heading again as soon as the washing machine stops and I can hang out the essential laundry I put in when I got up (even when you're sick you still need clean things to wear).

Those of us battling chronic illness often find ourselves not only struggling with those illnesses but also with how others perceive us. For example I do a regular exercise class with a physiotherapist along with a small group of others with disabilities. It HURTS even with painkillers and having the exercises tailored to my specific weaknesses but I push on through it even though it means I'm wiped out for the rest of the day because it's all that is keeping me moving. If I were to stop - and I'm often tempted to - I would be condemning myself to ending up unable to do anything and I do not want that. My illnesses have already taken far too much away in my life. But even in that class, among others with disabilities, someone said to me the other day 'the way you do those exercises you don't look as if there's anything wrong with you'.

I hate letting people down by having to pull out of arranged events because I have simply run out of energy or because I know that if I do go I'll end up wiped out for maybe a week. I hate pretty much everything about these illnesses but most of all I hate that they have robbed me and my family of a normal life. I can either rant and and rave about it or I can do what I can. It'd be  nice though if I didn't have to face the judgement of those who don't have these problems.

With that in mind here is the link to Christine Miserandino's The Spoon Theory which explains just what life is like for those of us whose lives are driven by severe chronic illness. The physical symptoms are different for everyone but all of us have to factor in just how much we can and can't do or live with the consequences. It's worth reading.


Jo said...

I do know what you mean Helen. Not that I am in any way as bad as you are, but I suffer from back and leg pains but you can't see it. This is why I go to exercise classes for seniors as well as bowling. But I am with a lot of older people who don't look as though there is anything wrong with any of them, but I know there is. I am so sorry to hear you are not doing too well at the moment and hope things get back to relatively normal soon. Wishing you the very best.

Helen V. said...

Thanks, Jo. Your kind wishes are very much appreciated.