chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain

Spoon Theory: Pros and Cons

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Once in a blue moon I cannot sleep due to intense, screaming, annoying, awful pain.  I know, most of you cannot believe I used the word pain as I say “difficult day.”   Well, last night I remembered what it felt like to be where I was ten years ago.  I forgot the feeling of wanting to crawl out of my own body because the pain was so intense and literally kept me awake past midnight.  What shocks me the most is that I used to feel that way twenty four/seven.  Which brings me a compliment to all of you who are reading my writing(s.)  Not only reading my posts, taking suggestions, and actually doing the work.  I was reminded last night of how most of you feel non stop.  I have said this but ten years ago if I saw anything that said: manage pain naturally, or accept chronic pain or a book about living with chronic pain I would have screamed and ran.  You are all much stronger than I was in my darkest moments of chronic pain.

I have not been practicing moderation as well as I should aka not practicing it at all.  I am on the go non stop and put too much on my plate. I have not stopped using the tools I need to manage chronic pain naturally, however I have not allowed myself to just be still and relax.  We have a large home that was my Grandmother’s, La La.  It is at times too big but its an amazing home that I know very well, grew up here and now am raising a family here.  I do not know how my  Grandmother did it, as she is just as clean and organized as I am and cannot stand any mess or clutter.  I have been like this since I was a child.  I always made my bed, vacuumed my room, dusted my room and loved organization.  It was a tad easier for La La as she did not have a little toddler running around non stop.  I need to chill a bit and just make sure three things are always done: my bed made, no dirty dishes, and clean kitchen counters daily: the rest of my “perfectionism” when it comes to everything put away and clean I can let go of a little.   We did so much this weekend.  I love being a mom and I am one of those adults that truly wants to go to fairs, play the games, and even get my face painted.   Saturday, my daughter and I went food shopping, cooked, then went with our family to the town fair and ended up staying a long time and then walked home stopping by two different homes on our way to see friends.  Yes, the picture above was taken at the fair and I had an awesome day with bumps in the road literally and figuratively speaking.  I awoke the next morning and knew I had to do a light workout so put in one of my favorite yoga DVD’s and did my practice.  We had family returning to the area and I wanted the house to look “perfect.”  I know, I know.  I went crazy, vacuuming, mopping,cleaning the bathroom, laundry, toy clean up, and more.  The rest of the day went just like that.  I ignored what I knew I needed to do because I could feel my day becoming more difficult but I put those thoughts aside and did the opposite of what I tell everyone who reads my blog to do.  All of a sudden I saw it was getting close to two in the afternoon and I had bought tickes for my daughter and I to see the play: “Aladdin.”  She wanted to dress as a princess and chose her Ariel dress which includes fins and we spent the next two hours (was told it was only a one hour show and for kids) watching an amazing performance of the Disney movie but this one parent brought a toddler to the show who would not stop screaming:”Jafar NO! Jasmine, I want to dance with you.”  And my personal favorite: “Mommy, that looks like a person not a carpet!”  What mother brings her just turned three year old to an adult production of Aladdin?  Me.  Was the show worth it?  Yes, for Kayci.  She was star struck meeting Jasmine and every time a song played she sang and there were little moments I personally will not forget. However, once in the car to drive home I knew I had over done it like I have not in a long time. I paid the price last night and am having a “difficult day” today. This will happen time to time, it is chronic pain and I am not a master at managing it well all the time. Tomorrow will be better and I learn and move on. Now, here is where the spoon theory comes in.

The spoon theory is a relatively new concept brought to my attention only because I began writing about my personal journey with chronic pain. When I first learned how to manage it without treatment or medication, no one really talked about chronic pain much less “spoonies” or “warriors.” For ten years I did everything possible to never have to look or think about chronic pain as that was/is one of my most important tools in my management of this invisible illness. For any of you that have never heard of the spoon theory I will explain it as easily as possible. People who “suffer” from chronic pain live quite differently than those who have only experienced acute pain. We must practice moderation, exactly what I did not do this past weekend and am now dealing with the consequences. People who use the spoon analogy would say I had twenty spoons this weekend and I used about twenty five or thirty so Monday and Tuesday will be screwed because I no longer have any spoons. One may say: “Ok, I have ten spoons a day. One spoon will be used to shower, one spoon to clean the kitchen, three spoons for school, etc.” It is a great theory and a wonderful tool and there are many benefits to people who take the Spoon Theory and apply it to their lives. It is what I call moderation and why I always write a to do list even if it is part of my daily routine. I try as hard as possible to make sure I do not over do it so I can continue to not let pain interfere in my life. For me, there are cons to only using the spoon theory in any pain management but especially if you are trying to accept chronic pan and manage it naturally.

Moderation is so important and I obviously proved that to myself this past weekend. Putting your management of pain first is not selfish because if you are not feeling well and your only focus is on your pain to the point where I was last night, you cannot help your loved ones and everyone ends up suffering. But that is just one tool in managing chronic pain: for me. I also need meditation, exercise, stretches, therapy (yes therapy…nothing to be ashamed of) distractions, not using the word pain, practicing the art of not displaying “pain behaviors” which are things such as rubbing my face or neck which brings attention to my pain. I have a huge box of tools and there are a few posts I have written that share them, but you are all always welcome to email me. The other con for me regarding the spoon theory is that it brings attention to the pain. I do not want to worry about my spoons and start thinking: “Oh my God, if I use another spoon, I am doomed tomorrow because often times the fear of pain is worse than the pain itself and if I am worrying about pain and how many spoons I have left for the day, then my worry turns to stress which in turn intensifies the pain in which I am trying not to focus on. Wow, that was a mouthful!

One of my favorite people who also has chronic pain and manages it as I do has an amazing blog in which so many benefit from: countingmyspoons.com
I love you Julie.
I know chronic pain, I know the many approaches people take and why and let me tell you I sure as hell am not angry at myself for self medicating years ago when I lived every hour of every day as I did last night.
You are all strong as hell! Spoons, Forks, Knives (well no, no knives) but you get the idea. I am so proud to know all of you and am so beyond impressed you read my blog and take my advice.

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