The Spoon Theory is a theory used to explain life with a disability. In short: you have 12 spoons. Every activity uses up a number of spoons, some more than others, due to pain, emotional turmoil, and a host of other symptoms. Able-bodied (and neurotypical) persons have mostly unlimited spoons, and so don’t have to worry about rationing their spoons out for fear they may need them more for another task.
While reading a post at Hoyden About Town about able-bodied people co opting the spoon theory, I began thinking about how spoons affect everybody differently.
For me, it’s about mental illness, somethng which I still struggle to identify as a disability. There are three ways that this can hit me. They are all inextricably linked, but for the purpose of this exercise I will talk about them separately. These three things are: depression, anxiety and social anxiety.
Depression: this is probably the most constant thing I feel. It is slowly but surely taxing. Every day I experience depression it takes a little bit more out of me. Every day it gets a little bit harder to function until, before I realise it’s happened, I’ve hit rock bottom and am no longer living. And suddenly I have no spoons. Without LM to prompt me I will not get out of bed, I will not eat, I will just lie in bed doing nothing all day. I wish I was exaggerating.
Anxiety: this comes in bouts. It’s hard to tell whether it is a precursor for deprssion or occurs because of depression, but the two get worse at a similar level. When I am in an anxious period I have to ration all of my interactions, including those that take place online. Each time I venture from the house, a spoon is used. Each bus or train I get on uses a spoon. Online interactions use less, but it’s often hard for me to tell until they’ve been used up. I am paranoid during this time. It feels like I am constantly being watched and judged. Every action feels forced and fake.
Social anxiety: this is similar but different to “normal” anxiety. It can and does strike at any time, regardless of previous mood. It is the anxiety I feel when seeing specific groups of people (my family, LM’s family, northam, some others) and the anxiety I feel when I am around unfamiliar people. I need to ration carefully or I will start bawling in the middle of a social interaction. LM is my rock, and often I can cope by hiding behind Him, but spoons are limited.
I should note that although these are separate uses of spoons, they are not separate supplies. If all my spoons are drained when I am depressed, for example, that’s it, they’re done.
There’s my story. How do your spoons affect you?