Spoon Theory and My Migraine Life

my spoons

picture by @mymigrainelife

 

Have you heard of the spoon theory?  The spoon theory was written by Christine Miserandino (www.butyoudontlooksick.com)  It started with a conversation she had with a friend about being chronically ill.  It applies to so many different types of people and has become common verbiage as us “spoonies” go through life.  The conversation was how “normal” people get an endless number of spoons or an abundance of them each day.  As a spoonie, we are only given a few and/or use ours more quickly.

Each person has their set number of spoons.  Each event in life requires spoons.  Getting out of bed, walking to the bathroom, going to the bathroom, washing hands, brushing teeth, putting on deodorant, putting on makeup and so on.  Imagine, this is only the first 5 minutes of a day and some spoonies may already have used up their supply.

A person is given spoons which reflect their energy.  Every event is thoroughly thought through on how and where to use spoons.  While getting out of bed may use up one spoon for a “normal” person, it takes 3 for me.  While buttoning a shirt may not even take a spoon from you, a person with arthritis may use 4.

Each person gets a different amount, uses a different amount, and requires a different amount for each task.  The whole point of the spoon theory is that people who are chronically sick have fewer spoons, use them more quickly and run out fast!  Some days I feel like I’ve used my spoons by 10:00am and still have a long day ahead of me.  On those days I feel like I steal spoons from my next day leaving myself more depleted than the day before.  This borrowing makes me exhaustaed,  worn down and triggers a migraine.

The only way I can recoup spoons for my next day is using less spoons in a day and resting.  This is often seen as lazy  and that drives me crazy.  My resting is saving spoons and allows me to be use them later.  And let’s be honest, I don’t get a chance to rest that often therefore I’m not saving much. I’m not lazy, I’m building and saving my supply.

So how do I deal with having a handful of spoons in a world that requires thousands?  I rest, I pace myself, I prepare, and I plan.  My husband used to get up for work and leave.  Now I have asked him to get the kids out of bed and start them on breakfast.  This takes him 5 minutes of his day before he heads out the door but saves me a few precious spoons.  If I am able to sit and drink a cup of coffee without bouncing back and forth from the refrigerator a few times, I save spoons I need for the dreaded battle of getting dressed and out of the house with two small children.

At the end of the day, I ask him to help with bath time.  Bath time uses way more spoons than I have in the evenings.  I am low or out of spoons, plus a loud bathroom, cranky kids, and no spoons to use seems near impossible.  Drying off, lotion, brush teeth, potty, read books, hugs and kisses (I always have spoons for those) and more.  The last hour before my children’s bedtime is by far the toughest time of my day depleting any supply of spoons I have rationed for my day!

I do small things each day to help conserve spoons and help for the next day.  It’s all about pacing myself and preparing for how I’m going to use each spoon.  It sounds crazy, but that’s the life of a spoonie.

Where do you use your most spoons?  How do you try to conserve or prepare?

 

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Laziness with Migraine

Oooooh laziness.  I am constantly fearful that I am seen as lazy.  I run a marathon and some days an iron man inside my body every day.  I am a stay at home mom and I work HARD.  I really think my job is one of the most under respected jobs.  Then again I used to be a teacher and got paid close to nothing to change children’s lives.  So I’m used to it.

I am physically active all day.  I carry a 25+ pound child on my hip while I do dishes, laundry, vacuum, cook, and clean.  I run errands constantly getting kids in and out of the car along with carrying a purse that might as well be called luggage.  I do swim lessons, library classes, play dates, art projects, playgrounds, walks and bike rides.  All of this while in some sort of varying pain.

It’s exhausting.  I will say over and over and over again that pain is exhausting.  It’s depressing and exhausting but when I live with  it every day and I just cope and keep on moving.  I really don’t know any better.  I am tired All…The..Time…  My head pain makes me want to lay down constantly.  My neck and shoulder pain are never relieved from the heavy lifting I do.  But mostly it’s just this internal exhaustion of fighting.

My doctor once told me that my migraines put my body into a fight or flight kind of state.  When I’m higher than a 7 my body succumbs to the pain and it forces me to become completely consumed with it.  My old self flies away and gives in.  When I’m at a 2-7 I fight.  I’m not lazy.  I’m actually the opposite.  I think a lot of people think of me as sitting on the couch eating bon bons and watching my soap opera because I stay at home.  A form of laziness, right?!

Just another misconception.  When I ask for my husband to get me some water while I’m on the couch at the end of the day, I’m not lazy.  I’m stopping the pain from rushing through me just because I’m going from laying down to standing up.  He sits at a desk all day and I’ve walked up and down the stairs 100 times.  He doesn’t see me as lazy, but why does society?

I lay in bed with a million things rushing through my mind at night and sometimes in the morning before the rest of my house has awakened.  My job is never done, I don’t get to be lazy.  Between the mental battle of teaching a toddler patience, calming a tantruming 3 year old and my fight with migraines  I’m not sure how anyone would see me as anything but a warrior.  Just tack on another stigma for us migraine sufferers.  Lazy.  HA!  I’m a fighter!!!