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Though I do not assume he read it first, a day after I made a… 
5th-Aug-2009 11:03 am
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?
5th-Aug-2009 11:17 am (UTC)
I understand so much it scares me. *clings to you super tight*

You never forgot me, did you? And I do this all the time. And you're thousands of wonderful all packed into one itty Debi-shaped bundle, so your chances of being forgot are pretty damn slim.

In case, you know, you dint already know that.

5th-Aug-2009 11:19 am (UTC)
I know exactly how you feel. After a day of [high mental energy activities] I often don't have much left for the things I used to, or even keeping up with my flist many days. So, yeah.

Also: don't worry about being forgotten. I promise that even if you don't post often you remain quite memorable. Don't forget me either!

Missing you,
5th-Aug-2009 11:30 am (UTC)
I had to do this last year. Unsubbed from loads of politics forums, just took time out. Didn't have the mental energy for it AND moving house, breaking up with girlfriend, taking a step back from religion, etc.

The good news is, you do bounce back. But resting when you need to is noble and sensible!
5th-Aug-2009 12:59 pm (UTC)
I have spare spoons, and I'd offer you some if it worked that way. But it doesn't! Anyway, the world of blogging needs you, so don't be gone long.

If you cut me, I'll understand.
5th-Aug-2009 01:12 pm (UTC)
*massive hugs*

Hang in there, sweetheart. We'll be here when you are ready to come back.
5th-Aug-2009 01:16 pm (UTC)
We certainly won't forget you. I wish we were closer so that we could be an actual support system for you. In the absence of teleportation, please send us a quick line if there is something you need.
5th-Aug-2009 01:28 pm (UTC)
I need you all to stay healthy. That's what I need from you.

Also pics everytime you get them.
5th-Aug-2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
Just don't forget me, alright?

I could never. ♥ And I know 100% where you're coming from.
5th-Aug-2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
You are unforgettable. And I hope you manage to find the spoons for at least some things soon.

Which is to say, I hope you will be able to find a little downtime, and that maybe you will get to have a Bing soon to help with the spoons that matter most.
5th-Aug-2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
Forget you? How could that even be possible? No matter, I'll wait until you buy some more cutlery - that was the main point wasn't it?

But seriously, that Spoon Theory (and, as you said, it's not really a theory but probably more like a heuristic) strikes an awful lot of chords for me. I have had episodic big-D Depression and part of the struggle I have is thinking "How does this even happen? I was fine and now I'm not and I don't even know why." That idea of running out of resilience because you are particularly depleted is ..... well ..... right (for me, at any rate). Thanks.
5th-Aug-2009 02:58 pm (UTC)
Take all the time you need, and don't worry about us. We'll still be here when you get back.

And may you have that shiny PhD after your name when you do (or at least be closer to it)!
5th-Aug-2009 03:48 pm (UTC)

*Shakes pompoms for you!*
5th-Aug-2009 04:08 pm (UTC)
I will have some e-hugs waiting for you when you climb back onto the Internet. In the meantime, good luck.
5th-Aug-2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
Aha. I knew what spoons meant before the explanation. Take care.
5th-Aug-2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
Out of spoons error ... redo from start?

Know how you feel - hang in there! xxx
5th-Aug-2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
Focus can be such a fickle mistress. If there's anything I can do for you, just ask.
5th-Aug-2009 07:22 pm (UTC)
There will be no forgetting. *hugs*
5th-Aug-2009 08:52 pm (UTC)
With the sudden spike in my seizure activity, I certainly understand being short on spoons.


If you feel the need to cut me from your f-list, I completely understand. It's been great knowing you.
5th-Aug-2009 08:54 pm (UTC)
Mental exhaustion is a totally valid reason for disappearing from the internets.
6th-Aug-2009 02:01 am (UTC)
Hey you -- take care of yourself, and I am all fingers crossed for your spoons coming back so you can be happy. (I do know the feeling. And hey, no forgetting here!)
6th-Aug-2009 03:40 am (UTC)
No chance of being forgotten. And, actually, I think it's great that you're putting on the full burn to get the PhD done. I have some idea just how much of a challenge that is, and I'm just looking forward to the day when it's finished and out there in the world.

And, oh yeah, after that can come lots of threads. =)

For example, Weaves has made horrible threats if I don't agree to this as Shatter canon. And you know how scary and relentless she is.
6th-Aug-2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
I do!

Although personally I think what actually happened is Hal accepted a drinking challenge with Lady Blackhawk and woke up under the table with a Grappa headache.
7th-Aug-2009 12:05 am (UTC)
My Inner Hal considers this an outrageous assertion, and is deeply offended even if that might be exactly what happened.

And why do I have the feeling Dinah might roll out this theory in front of Babs the next time Hal annoys her?

Dinah "I'll show you fear" Lance? =)

Edited at 2009-08-07 00:07 (UTC)
6th-Aug-2009 05:55 am (UTC)
Won't forget. *hugs*

See you when you have spoons again. :)
6th-Aug-2009 06:29 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
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