Archive for the invisible illness Category

Prepaid Spoons

Posted in anxiety, depression, invisible illness with tags , , , , , on July 14, 2019 by morgueticiaatoms

When one with ‘invisible illness’ speaks of spoons, they are often looked at like they’ve sprouted a third head and bug eyes. But it’s a valid way of explaining why some days we are ‘on’ and some days we are all but cowering under a blanket in a closet. Just because you see us out and about and ‘looking fine’, you don’t know what’s going on under that facade, what we are experiencing inside. I can only speak from experience here, and my ‘invisible illnesses’ are of the mental health ilk, but there are so many other disorders and illnesses that are ‘invisible’ that I by no means intend to be dismissive of them.

Anyone who is on a prepaid cell phone plan knows the deal. You pay a flat amount and you get X minutes of talk, X amount of texts, X amount of internet data. Sometimes you can afford only a $10 card, other times you can spring for the $50 unlimited. (Which isn’t truly unlimited, FYI, they put you in the slow lane after so much data.) But this is a good way to explain invisible illness. Except we don’t have the option of going to a store and saying, oooh, I can afford thirty spoons today. We wake up with however many spoons our illness has deemed us worthy of and that is it. So let’s say each day starts with 15 spoons.

For those of us with insomnia and interrupted sleep cycles, we’ve already spent two spoons before daylight by waking up and not being able to sleep through. Two more spoons to get up out of bed and get functioning. You’re at 11 spoons and you’ve yet to even get dressed. Some days that takes two spoons, other days it takes four spoons. Bathing takes four spoons, so that’s not even a daily possibility sometimes.

You leave the house, which costs a spoon. You drive and run errands, so each one of these things costs a spoon.

Nowhere to go or errands out there to run? No problem. Because even staying at home, just the act of refilling ice cube trays, washing dishes, or doing a load of laundry can take 4 or more spoons.

Feeding yourself? Therer’s another spoon or two. It’s only noon.

Have kids? Each part of caring for them is a spoon and it’s a long day so…

By evening you’re out of spoons, drained of energy, and all you can think about is bedtime. Except falling asleep requires a spoon, so wth do you do? You can;t just buy more spoons or run to a spoon ATM.

This is depression and anxiety. People can’t see it, they dismiss it, they call you insulting names and think you’re lazy. They don’t even try to understand. If your body works, then your mind must work fine, too.

Except mine does not.

I’m down to two spoons and I just yelled at my kid because she insists on waiting for the ONE moment of the day I am writing, then suddenly her needs must be met THAT MINUTE and none of it couldn’t wait ten minutes EXCEPT SHE HAS TO CONTROL EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE OR SHE DOES NOT FEEL LOVED.

I am in spoon bankruptcy now.

Now let’s say it’s a good day, which are rare and never give any warning, but you’ve got 50 spoons. And by days’ end, you still have 10 spoons left and feel pretty accomplished and happy. Except then you have to replay your actions for the day and make sure you weren’t just having a manic or hypomanic episode of psuedo happiness.

Five spoons left.

Phone calls, knocks on the door, kid’s playdates, cooking, cleaning, pet care….

Less than zero spooks left, even on a good day.

So the next time you see someone with an invisible illness and you make the idiotic assumption that out of bed and functioning equals able minded, check your mental health privilege. Because if you can’t graso how debillitating depression and anxiety are, you do indeed have a mental health privilege issue.

I would say I wish I had one, but my disorders make me more empathetic, less self absorbed, and more willing to keep an open mind and heart.

Lots of people have good mental health but none of those qualities.

I feel sorry for them. Which is more humanity than they show those with invisible illnesses.