Spoons Chapt 2

More on the spoon theory….

Kind of a hodge podge of things I have been thinking about, as well as some things others have asked me about privately this week.

The “ustacoulds” …… that means I used to be able to…. used to could…a term I used often when I was first sick. Actually, I still use this term. My Mom would flip out every time I said it. It was SUCH poor English! (yep, I am good at that!) What it means is that I used to be able to do something, but can’t anymore. Thats a ustacould.

Both Judy and Sammi are having trouble sometimes with their ustacoulds. Heck, dont we all struggle with that? Just getting older there are things that fit ustacould. I ustacould do back handsprings and the splits when I was 18 and 25. I ustacould play volleyball for hours, or swim laps too. Bet there are lots of things you ustacould too.

Illness can take things away. Energy, physical ability, mental agility, memory, finances, …. heck, the list can be endless. Mental illness, depression, GRIEF….. all these can also take your spoons away.

So one of the questions this week was: “When the rest the world expects me to do XYZ and I cant any longer, I feel like a slacker. What do I tell them?”

My answer was that you dont owe them an explanation at all if they are just being nosy. But if they are former clients, or are family/friend then you can use the spoon theory to explain it. Beyond that, the guilt is really YOURS. YOU own it. They dont make you feel guilty, you make you feel guilty. Guilt is an internal phenomenon. But I also think guilt comes from grief and anger and the whole mix of feelings and emotions.

I’ve also been asked this week about grief. Why does it feel so bad emotionally to be sick? Well… because we are grieving what used to have. We grieve that our bodies dont do what they ustacould. We want them to. But they dont cooperate.

So instead of focusing on the negatives of what used to be….. why not focus on the positives of what IS or what CAN BE?? Heck, what if there is some way to flip your circumstances to a new opportunity that you never dreamed possible? And that truly wouldnt have been possible without THIS set of circumstances?? That has happened to me. I am able to do artistic things that I was never able to do before. Not just because I didnt know how, but because I was not inspired to, had not time to, and because I didnt FEEL that I could. I had never seen the opportunity. If it had been there before, I had not been able to see it or had not been paying attention. I bet that is true for everyone else too.

For those still getting used to the big changes in life…. whether it is because you are dealing with a relatively new illness, or loss of a loved one, or some other crisis… here is my advice:

1. Know that there will be anger, fear and a whole host of emotions. Learn to deal with those constructively. Find a mental health professional if you need to. Find your “new normal” lifestyle. (boy is THAT hard, but it will happen)

2. Know your body, and your head. Know when you need help and then ASK for it. All of your friends and family have offered to help, but honestly just dont know what to do for you. So give them a gift by asking for a specific thing that you need help with. Ask them to go to the store, cook a meal, drive you somewhere, come to visit for 10 mins, whatever it is you need.

3. Learn to say thank you. When you arent used to asking for help, you arent used to saying thank you. Make sure you thank anyone and everyone for the help they give. And thank your health providers too.

Okay….. I am officially out of spoons for the day!

Wishing you LOTS of spoons in the coming days. And wishing myself a few too, as we have tons of work to do around here. Part of MY work is napping everyday for an hour or 2 to get through the whole day.

Oh… and thank you to all of you who have gone to read the spoon theory. I am impressed that so many did. WAY more than have commented. But thats ok too. I hope it has helped lots of you. And the commenting back and forth has not only helped me, but I think you are helping each other. What wonderful readers I have! I am blessed indeed.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. susan allport
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 09:27:36

    Thought you’d be interested in this short omega-3 video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIgNpsbvcVM


  2. myolivebranch
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 12:19:33

    yes, there are all sorts of reasons for ustacoulds. and all sorts of reasons that a person runs out of spoons both physical and emotional “spoons”.

    and sometimes even when there isn’t a documented illness taking away your spoons….it’s just an experienced life……aging, family stress, relationship efforts, financial worries, job conflicts, regrets for things done or not done in the past, etc….nothing that would necessarily bring a person to their knees but all combined can definitely take away your spoons.

    i think my challenge is to determine how many spoons i actually have and who in my life is “spoon worthy” (similar to elaine’s dilemma of who was “sponge worthy” in a seinfeld episode.)


  3. rondabeyer
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 13:33:24

    Gayle, If i could I would come and give you a big well deserved HUG right now…. You have helped me personally in so darn many ways, the spoons of today ring true in so many aspects of my soul, thank you for all you do… Hugs


  4. Vicki W
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 13:35:16

    I look at it this way. If not for my allergies and being locked indoors most of the time, I would not have had the time or inclination to develop my quilting/sewing/whatever skills. When one door closes, another opens. It’s important to look and see what’s beyond the open door.


  5. Gina
    Apr 11, 2008 @ 11:11:53

    Thanks Gayle, for your help , in all ways.
    It really IS very difficult to ask for help when I am the trail chief:(
    I’m trying, but people still count on me. very hard.
    I’m afraid I cant see any open doors yet. I’m searching all over though. I’ll find them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: