I’ve been running with a deficit of spoons and a surplus of forks, lately. For those of you who don’t remember or know what Spoon and Fork theory are, you can read more about them in this post. In short, though, Spoon theory is a way of talking about how people (typically with an chronic health condition) measure their effort through each day when they don’t have the ability to do everything they’d like to do (named so because the purported origin of the theory involved using spoons as a visual aid). Fork Theory is a way of talking about how ongoing stress can pile up or accumulate to the point where action must be taken to avoid becoming overwhelmed (named after the “stick a fork in me, I’m done” saying). As someone for whom both hold relevance, my day-to-day life is a careful balancing act of making sure I’ve got enough spoons to deal with whatever forks need to be removed.
Right now, my balance is out of whack. I’ve begun desperately removing forks in hopes that the cost in spoons of taking action is lower than the relief I gain from acting on things that have been on my mind and stressing me out for a while. I am working on figuring out my living situation, talked to people about canceling trips I’d definitely or tentatively planned for this month, figured out what shoes to buy online and bought them (along with making a plan for returning them in case they don’t fit right), and cleaned out my kitchen sink. I’ve been wheeling around the office all day, jumping from one thing to another in hopes of keeping up enough momentum that I won’t need to push myself to get back to work again. Without, of course, pushing myself so hard that I exhaust myself. All on about four hours of sleep because I was so stressed out yesterday that I couldn’t sleep until about 3am.
I even redid all of my alarms and my pre-work morning plan so I’d hopefully be able to use that as a reason to push myself out of bed tomorrow morning. After all, I have to wake up, get out of bed, and get to work on time for a couple weeks in a row if I’m ever going to break out of his bad habit I’ve got of going into work late and then staying at work late. Even just shifting everything two hours earlier in the morning will give me so much time back since, right now, those two hours are wasted on being depressed in bed. I can’t even get myself to do something at least mildly fun when I wake up in the morning, like play some video games in bed despite always making sure I’ve got two handheld consoles nearby out of the thus-far misguided belief that I’ll eventually turn to one of them instead of my phone for mental stimulation when I wake up.
Which, you know, is probably part of the problem. It’s difficult to push myself into getting moving in the morning when the first thing my waking mind experiences is a bunch of information about how shitty the world is. It’s not like there’s anything happy or useful on my Twitter feed at six in the morning in the Midwest. Or in my email. Or the news. Or Imgur. And that’s pretty much all I use my phone for these days, that and talking to people who are all busy with their own morning routines or still sleeping. It was a lot easier when I didn’t need to grab my phone to turn my “can’t fall asleep again” playlist on, but that’s the price of using a music streaming platform that better aligns with my moral code (sure, there’s no ethical consumption under capitalism, but you gotta have lines you’re not willing to cross and Spotify crossed my line).
So now I’m pretty much out of spoons and out of easily removed forks. I don’t know what’s next for me, since some of today’s fork removals will need to be removed again soon (lots of long-term, on-going issues or projects I’m trying to address, which is why I can’t more easily rid myself of them) and I know I’ll be at a spoon deficit tomorrow after the day I’ve had (too tired to even vent about it here in a way that makes sense and avoids too much personal information about my job). It’s going to be rough, especially considering that today was supposed to be the start of the “wake up and get going right away” habit which didn’t even sorta happen. Still, all I can do is try again tomorrow. Maybe if I try enough times, it’ll eventually stick. After all, this is one of the few things that gets easier as I do it. Once I get through the first couple days of this, I’ll be able to actually go to bed on time, get an adequate amount of sleep, and maybe not feel absolutely knackered each and every single day. What a boon that would be for my spoon counts and fork removal efforts.