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Where Did My Energy Go? Living With A Chronic Illness

It is such a challenge trying to explain or describe our energy limitations with living with a chronic illness. We have very limited amounts of energy each day compared to a healthy person. I say "we" because I too have a chronic illness. Fatigue comes on with a vengeance, it makes accomplishing daily life tasks a huge challenge.

Have you ever heard of the " Spoon Theory", by Christine Miserandino? She basically wrote this theory with the intention of describing how it feels having a chronic illness and how it can take away your energy to a healthy person.

The big difference with being sick or being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn't have to. Most healthy people begin their day with unlimited amounts of possibilities and energy. But, chronically ill people begin their day very differently. To be able to explain this more precisely is by using the "Spoon Theory".

The "Spoon Theory" everyone begins their day with 12 spoons. If you only had 12 spoons per day, how would you use them? Each of these spoons represents energy.

Okay, let's dig a bit deeper. We all have tasks throughout the day. Taking a shower, making breakfast, walking the dog, dealing with kids, going to work etc. But, when you are living with a chronic illness, each of theses seemingly small tasks cost 1 spoon.

If a sick person doesn't sleep well the night before that already costs 1 spoon. The next task of getting out of bed costs 1 spoon, taking a shower costs 1 spoon, making breakfast costs 1 spoon. It's not even 9:00 am and already down 4 spoons. You see how quickly the spoons disappear?

Also, a person with a chronic illness always lives with the looming fear that tomorrow may bring on a cold, or your child is sick, these all cost 4 spoons. So we can't run low on spoons because we never know when we will really need them. This is what people with a chronic illness have to constantly think about.

I often get asked, how do you do it?

Each day is different, some days are fantastic and some days aren't so fantastic. Some days I have more spoons than others. But, it is a constant thing that I have to think about, it never goes away!

I have been a planner since I was very young, but this takes it to a whole new level. I think about my plan of attack each and everyday, when others can just wake up, do their tasks and just live their day, we sick people always have to have a plan.

I will tell you though, living each day with 12 spoons has taught me to appreciate the very small things in life. And for that, I am blessed.


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