Hello there, dear spoonie or chronic illness sufferer. How are you feeling today? I want to hear your real answer to that question, not the “good” or “fine” that society has trained everyone to say. When you are a spoonie, sometimes you feel awful, or you feel good but you’re afraid to enjoy it because it won’t last. You may be dealing with side effects from a treatment process, or flares of your disease symptoms. When someone asks how are you feeling, it’s hard to keep the truth to yourself. Let this be a place where you don’t have to pretend.
(In case you are new to the term “spoonie” it is a way of describing someone with a chronic health condition. Many times these conditions are invisible, but nevertheless can be incredibly disabling. The term comes from the idea of having a limited number of “spoons of energy.” Some days, the illness is using up many spoons of energy, so that you don’t have enough left to cook a meal or change your clothes. The term has gotten quite popular in the chronic illness community.)
Let’s talk a little about self-care. How is that going for you lately? How is your sleep? Energy levels? Mood? If you have a chronic illness, you may be dealing with inflammation which can cause both physical and emotional pain. Did you know that inflammation can increase symptoms of depression and anxiety? How many of you are dealing with chronic conditions that cause inflammation?
I’d like to lead you through a little bit of self-care coaching. Let’s take a moment to work together here.
- Think about what you need for yourself. This could be physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental, financial. Anything really. If you have a lot for this list, you may want to rank them in order of most urgent to least urgent.
- What is getting in the way of addressing your most urgent need? This could be something practical or something more emotional. Sometimes the barriers aren’t so large but they may feel huge from our current perspective. Will it still feel huge when you have more energy to deal with it?
- How can you get support in addressing that barrier? Is there a person, a agency, a mantra, an activity that can help you accomplish what you need to on this issue?
- How will you know when the need is met? This may seem like a strange question but sometimes a need can be met, and then we need it again, and may feel that it was never met in the first place. Sometimes, we get what we need, and remembering to notice that can help us feel less alone, more empowered.
- How can you celebrate a victory when that need is met? When you are a spoonie with chronic illness, it is very important to notice the positives, when your life experience can give you a lot of negatives. Relishing the good moments can help.
Life as a spoonie or chronic illness sufferer can be overwhelming, exhausting and painful. Chronic illness can feel like an enemy as it takes so much from you. I hope you have seen that it is possible to think through your situation and find some solutions that you may have not thought about before. If you found this exercise helpful I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment below or contact me directly.