There is a theory that has been out there in the internet for a long time. It’s a very useful theory. So useful, in fact, that when many of us heard it for the first time, it was with a huge sigh of relief – and not a few tears – that we finally had a simple way to communicate what we felt. What we lived with. How that affected us.
The explanation of that is here: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/
In recent years, the meaning of being lacking in spoons, or of your spoons running low, has been co-opted by able bodied people. This happens, of course. A phrase is overheard, and it sounds good, so eventually the meaning behind it is lost, if indeed it was ever known, and then forgotten altogether.
I think it’s about time I resurrected what it actually means, because too many of my able-bodied friends have inadvertently used it now, and it smarts when I see it..
If an able-bodied person is a bit tired, or they’ve had a long day of Doing All The Things, or even a week of OMGEVERYTHING, they can then go to bed early for a couple of nights, or have a few days and nights of rest, and they will be back up to speed. I know this, because I used to be like that.
But the me of today? I can still go to bed early (as in 8pm early) for a week, but these days, I still feel the same as I did before, sometimes even worse. When that lovely thing of going back to bed for a few hours results in chronic back pain, or being dizzy for few days, then you learn to get up when you wake up. No matter how early that is, or how little sleep you’ve had.
Having a chronic illness is an unpredictable animal. Nothing is certain, nothing is plottable.
You book things, of course you do, but you cannot in any way guarantee that you will be able to go. Many times, we don’t go. And we will continue to not be able to go, for the rest of our lives.
Along with that comes guilt and, in a lot of cases, great loneliness at being the one left behind again, even though both we, and our friends, have had no choice in the matter whatsoever.
We don’t want pity, (really, we don’t) just understanding.
So please, when you are tempted to use that phrase, remember where it came from.
It is not yours to use.
And I would hate for anyone to get what I have, so that they can use it with impunity.
It may be ‘just a phrase’, but it’s ours.