This recent struggle is overwhelming and at times, unbearable. It feels like running a marathon and sensing the finish line is within reach, but suddenly being forced to run with two broken legs. It is the exhaustion setting in along with the absence of rest that weighs so heavily on the body and mind. There is no option to quit. There is no option for failure. I will crawl if I must, dragging these broken and bloody legs behind me to claim the prize – healing, rest and most of all, peace.
Depression is much more than the feeling of sadness. Feeling nothing is like insulation against the cold, stabbing pain of guilt, anxiety, self-loathing, hopelessness and isolation. Sadness is a painful feeling, but combining it with all the other feelings is overwhelming.
I found Spoon Theory at a time in my life when I refused to listen to my body. When I was sick, exhausted, and in intense pain, I’d take a pill and carry on. Sounds brave, doesn’t it? Ignorant is a better word to describe my behavior during that time. Pushing myself and ignoring my body only increased the number and severity of my symptoms. Eventually, the pills stopped working, and I was left bedridden. Budgeting my time and energy and learning to listen to my body allows me to be more productive than ever before. I’m proud to be a Spoonie!
I know for a fact that if I had a traditional “physical disease” people in my life would be more understanding. For some reason crippling depression, complex PTSD, and migraines that not only offer blinding pain but impaired cognitive function are “all in my head” and I should be able to “get over it.” My family would not be embarrassed or disappointed in me because of my illnesses. My boss and co-workers may not have accused me of “faking it to get out of work,” and maybe I’d still have my job. But I don’t have a traditional “physical disease,” so I must work harder to heal and overcome the stigma others, with no concept of my ailments, place upon me.
I remember struggling to think of something I enjoyed doing or even something I’d like to do. I didn’t do anything for fun, and I felt embarrassed. So much of my life was filled with the task of making others happy that I lost myself. Fun is still something a bit foreign to me, but I’m learning to enjoy parts of my life again. I’ll get back there, in time…
Learning about Spoon Theory changed my life and made it livable. I’ve always been the kind of person who pushed through any illness or pain to get the job done. When I became chronically ill, this attitude only exacerbated my illness. I’ve had to change my outlook on life, learn to say “No,” and maintain a schedule to accomplish what is most important. No matter how much I want to, there are things I will not do because the consequences outweigh the benefit.