Much like the writer of The Spoon Theory, those of us in post concussion land experience life daily as spoon counters. Unlike those of you neurotypical people who have an endless supply of spoons, and therefore energy, we live in a world where our spoons are limited.
Many things effect the number of spoons I have each day.
- The amount of sleep I got the night before
- The quality of sleep I had the night before
- The amount of coffee I've had, (it's a delicate balance before i jitter)
- Whether I've taken my adderall (for those playing along, I am prescribed amphetamines to try to make me more alert)
- My body temperature, (easily influenced by humidity)
- Stress, because why would I have any reason to be stressed?
- Cognitive strain-- conversations, mental tasks like attempting to balance a check book
- Emotional Strain-- can be rational or irrational
- When I ate last
- Sensory Overload- loud noises, repetitive noises, bright lights, fluorescent lights, etc.
I could go on and on. Today started with a smaller amount of spoons than usual, due to the cognitive strain of having to do school work for the past 3 weeks to finish incompletes from the semester of my accident. I went to bed later than usual, (goodbye to more spoons).
I had my usual, yogurt, coffee, vitamin B complex and adderall for breakfast. I know that I now have 4 hours or so to accomplish something on the easy side. I decide to take Maggie for a brief walk. After I take a break inside to cool off.
As it was still cool out, I spend some time in the garden weeding. However, this means a dirty butt, because I can't bend forward from the waist or on my hands and knees without getting dizzy. With multiple water breaks, I am able to finish the task. This makes me feel a little bit better about life, as I can visually see the progress I've made while weeding.
I shower to get all the dirt off from weeding, but this in itself costs some spoons. Showers and their steam always cost me some spoons. I decide to do a quick dry of my hair, as I hate having wet hair, but a full hair styling will cost too many spoons.
I then get to spend time, and pretty much the rest of the day's spoons applying for 4 jobs, based on the criteria for unemployment. The kicker? I'm too disabled to do anything, but until a hearing for disability occurs, I have to use unemployment to keep things going. I'd be willing to try something if it was in my abilities, but as it turns out, there aren't many people hiring for a person to file papers, in a dark room, for a couple of hours a day, without having to interact with people and have the ability to take naps on the job.
Having to apply for those 4 jobs uses up almost all of my spoons: I have to read through job descriptioins a couple of times, to consider if there is even a chance I could do the job. It requires reading the paper and transfering information onto envelopes and the worksheet I have to fill out. I have to print out my resume and then put together the envelope to send to the company. This time of year, I get easily depressed as many of the ads have to do with teaching positions, that I can't apply for, because I'm too disabled. Then, comes the guilt of knowing that no matter how hard I want to, I'm not really capable of anything gainful or meaningful employment.
I'm sure there are people out there who don't mind abusing the system, getting money for disability, when they are capable of work. However, I hate that people make that assumption about all people who are disabled. Believe me, most of us HATE not being able to provide for ourselves. It's a huge hit to your self-esteem, and for me, a stealer of many spoons.
That's it. That's my whole day. Almost all of my spoons. I use the final ones to write this post. I'll spend the rest of the evening staring off into space and napping until bed time.
There is so much more I need to get done, but there are never enough spoons. It's a horrible way to live your life.