Friday, April 17, 2015

Coming out as a Spoonie

Two blog posts/articles this week caught my eye. In the Huffington Post, Sophie Cowley comes out as a "spoonie". As she explains in her article, a "spoonie" is someone with chronic illness. The term comes from this article by Christine Miserandino in which she uses spoons as a unit to measure energy or ability to carry out everyday tasks.  

Those of us with chronic, invisible illnesses often hear things like, "but you don't look sick." Coming out as a "spoonie" feels kind of risky. It can alter the dynamics of a relationship. I completely understand where she's coming from.

The other post that really resonated with me this week was this one from Samantha at Defeating the Dragons. Samantha talks about overdoing it so that she can be with her friends and then paying for it with increased pain later. 

She also talks about the Christian culture issues with pain - that we are to endure suffering and that pain is sanctifying. But, she realizes, quite correctly, that our bodies are gifts from God and that we need to care for ourselves. If that means limiting our activities, then that's OK. (And I realize that this one paragraph could be unpacked into a week's worth of blogging, but not tonight.)

Which brings me to my week. On Tuesday, I felt pretty well and it was a gorgeous day, so I decided that I'd take a walk. Two miles. That shouldn't be a big deal, right? I mean, I'd been walking a good mile or so on the treadmill a few times a week. But, the treadmill is flat. And Weyauwega isn't. About a mile away from home, I realized that it may not have been the best choice in the world. And, when I was almost home and a nice older man stopped and offered to take me the rest of the way home because my cheeks were so red, I knew I had overdone it.

The migraine later that night proved it. I clearly did not have enough spoons for a two mile walk. Not after a sedentary winter. But, I was determined that I did. Why? Because I was supposed to. I have migraines, after all. Not cancer or something terminal. But, migraines and fibromyalgia are real illnesses. And sometimes it takes doing something stupid like making them flare to validate that. Unfortunately, it made me completely useless for a day and a half.

So, if you are a fellow "spoonie", welcome! Let's journey along the "spoonie" journey together. We may be in pain, but we can validate each other and support each other. We don't have to be "more" than we are. God knows us and loves us where we are right now.

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