According to the Spoon Theory , people with an illness such as MS have a set amount of energy each day – spoons – and you use them up as the day goes along. Run out of spoons, run out of energy.
It’s a great analogy – simple to explain and easy for others to understand. In theory.
Try explaining why you feel like the world is ending when outwardly, you seem ab-sooo-looot-ly fine.
Last Friday is a great case in point for me. There was a Renovation/Building show in Birmingham, around a 90 minute drive from my house. An ideal work opportunity, as I’m in the building industry.
I was duly semi-presentable at 7am (!) for The Boss to pick me up. He’d helpfully inserted a mug full of extra-shot-caffeine into the cup holder and I was wide-eyed and bushy-tailed all the way up the motorway.
At the venue I got my name badge and started to wander around the 500 – 500! – stalls. I crumpled after stall 7. I got my walking stick out and The Boss took my arm for the rest of the 493 stalls. It was hot, I was off-balance, gibbering and going slightly bonkers.
I was muttering ‘bi-folds’, ‘ventilation systems’ and ‘coloured concrete’ under my breath. I took every free gift going and ended up with a decent stash of pens, notepads, mints and Gummi Bears. Plus a set of knives, bizarrely.
And then I collapsed. Fair play, it was graceful. My legs simply folded from beneath me. I had had warning signs over the last couple of weeks and dismissed them – ‘ach, it was nothing’.
Now I knew it wasn’t nothing. This was real and it scared the Gummi Bears out of me. I made it back to the car, just. And slept the whole way back to Wales, waking briefly around Monmouth, before slumping back into oblivion.
Back at my house, The Boss deposited me safely through my front door and I made straight for the sofa. I had to find some elusive spoons – there was a gathering from the writing group I attend, that evening in a local pub. I could do this.
Except, I couldn’t.
I emailed everyone my apologies through tears. A Friday night, and I was condemned to my sofa.
I had run out of spoons and believed I could move onto a trusty reserve, the forks. In real life, pre-MS, I had oodles of reserve energy (those pesky forks). They could be called upon at short notice and would pull me through any situation. But not this time. I was all out of them too.
So now I am cutlery-less. No spoons, no forks. As for knives, the closest I get is my free gift (they’re super sharp and quite lovely). My life at the moment consists of work (or similar activity) til 2pm, then Recovery until 10pm, when I go to bed and it all starts again. There’s nothing extra. It’s boring. It’s frightening.
Is this my future?