Though I do not assume he read it first, a day after I made a pointless cry for attention on Twitter, that a friend emailed me yesterday to check that I was OK; after all, it's been two weeks since I updated my LiveJournal, which is the kind of long silence I've left - pretty much never.
So what's going on? Well, the short answer is I don't have the spoons for blogging.
The long answer involves
explaining what the Hell I mean by that and that no, I don't have a strange keyboard-and-teaspooon set up for typing here.The Spoon Theory
is not a theory at all, and as a scientist, naturally I feel dirty calling it such. It's a model really - although the top Google result for 'Spoon Model' is a marketing strategy in which I am not interested - an analogy created to describe to able people what it is like being disabled. I recommend giving it a read even if you twitch as much as I do about the misuse of 'theory'.
I know you're waiting to see what I think I'm doing appropriating a piece of rhetoric from a disabled person, but I was waiting to let you read the pdf file first. The basic idea behind the 'spoon' model is this: everything we do requires resources; not just time and equipment, but less tangible resources like energy and the use of our physical body. It is these limiting factors within our own body that the author of The Spoon Theory
attempts to quantify with 'spoons' - able bodied people have an effectively unlimited amount of these spoons, she says, so we don't run into the limiting factor of our own bodies in our day to day basis. But disabled people run out of spoons so frequently that factoring in their availability becomes a part of day to day life.
When I first encountered The Spoon Theory
, it was being used as an umbrella term to quantify limiting factors in the brain as well as the body. As I understand Depression (or even little-d depression, for that matter) for example, I think it may be fair to describe spoons as measuring mental energy - there are only so many things a depressed person can do before they run out of the mental energy required, and I know a few of my friends with Depression often use spoons to compare their energy levels from day to day.
To clarify the terms in which I am talking about Spoons:
- able people do not have unlimited spoons, but so many spoons that they don't need to count them often. It's still theoretically possible to run out of spoons if, for example, you decide to run an marathon this morning.
- a spoon is not an object, but a unit of measurement. What is being measured depends on the person discussing them, and the predominant limiting factors that person encounters in their life, but it usually immeasurable in objective terms and therefore spoons are relative, not absolute.
In my case, I am perfectly physical able, and Depression plays a relatively small part in my day to day life - especially when compared to anxiety and attention. For me, the limiting factor that prevent me from doing what I want every day - my 'spoon' - is focus.
I can sit in a haze of just 'being', floating from thought to thought and activity to activity as I want to - this is actually what I'm doing now, at work, because there's no very tight deadline for the circus-themed family activity I'm working on. I am working, but I'm also singing along to Pearl Jam and writing this and thinking about my next paragraph and planning when to go for lunch and thinking about knitting and worrying that I haven't prepared for the Nature Live I'm doing on Sunday. This for me is the mental equivalent of going for a stroll. It's still active (I need to be active), but it's at my own pace and it's not tiring and I can enjoy the view.
OR - I can anchor myself in really doing something, and giving my all to it. This is what I am doing when I'm really working on my PhD these days, and what I'm pushing myself to do when I'm trying to work on it. It is what I'm doing in pretty much any social situation, because listening requires focus, and that requires effort - and one and a half of my two jobs are direct public engagement, and therefore constant social interaction.
In my current circumstances, therefore, this is what I'm doing for six working days a week - where the seventh day is made up of the two half days I spend in development at the Grant, and even then, I'm working. If the above is going for a stroll, then all of this is running, even sprinting, and I'm trying to get a marathon in, so I'm spending spoons upon spoons just to stay focused until 5 or 6pm, then I can collapse.
After all this, in the evenings, when I've switched off from the effort of working, when I don't need to be in the moment right now this instant, I just don't have the spoons for - well, for cooking, personal hygiene, money management and laundry, so I especially don't have the spoons for blogging, writing or RP.
Which is a shame, because I genuinely miss it all, and I have a lot to write about. Or I did, before I lost the focus and forgot it all.
Hang in there, kids. I'll be back in a few months, I hope. In the meantime, if I cut you suddenly, then it's probably because I just can't keep up right now, not just because I hate you.
Just don't forget me, alright?