I stare at my phone, reading and re-reading the text before me. She just wants to know if we’re still coming over for a visit. This should be easy. Just a few words explanation are needed, but instead I just sit and stare as more and more minutes slip away.
Inside my head, words race back and forth. Words describe the scene before me and within me. My thoughts race along as quickly as ever. Yet, somehow, nothing comes out.
It had been a long day. Not long in the usual sense of hours and minutes, but rather in the effort expended to make it through. I had awoken that morning with fiery pain spreading from my shoulder through my fingers. The pain was severe enough that my fingers were not working properly which made typing rather difficult once I got to work. With pain medicine, heat, and stretching, it took about 4 hours for the pain to subside.
Though I had only worked a partial day, I had to meet with HR (which is a whole different story). Dealing with people I’m not familiar with is very taxing for me. It requires constant monitoring of my body language, eye contact, suppressing stims, responding to verbal queries in a timely manner, and over all just attempting to seem neurotypical. Additionally, due to the sensitive nature of this meeting, I was brimming with anxiety for the two hours between when I found out we would be meeting and the meeting itself.
Once I got home from work, Husband and I set to work about the house in preparation for Thanksgiving. We bustled about unpacking more boxes, setting up tables, making the meal plan (we waited really late this year…), and cleaning everything.
Once our cleaning was done, we set out to the grocery store. Two days before Thanksgiving. Just after we began to drive, my shoulder started acting up again. Walking into the store was like diving into lava. It was too bright, too loud. There were people everywhere. I had forgotten to organize my list by department. We started making our way through the store. It was all too much. Too many smells. Too many noises. Too much commotion.
By the time we finally made it home, I barely managed to put away the groceries before collapsing into the couch. We put on Once Upon a Time and I just sat there and watched. Until I got the text, I hadn’t tried to move or speak so I hadn’t realized I couldn’t.
I had run out of spoons.
(If you’re not familiar with the Spoon Theory, click here)
Inside my head, I thought I was fine. My mood was doing well. I wasn’t upset about anything. I was in physical pain, but that’s just my normal state of being. Everything seemed ok until I realized I couldn’t talk. I struggled to even text.
I knew exactly what I needed to say. I had multiple versions of how I could say it lined up in my head. Yet, I somehow could not get my fingers to type the words. When my roommate asked me a question, I struggled to get out a single word. Inside I was awake, but, apparently, communication with the outside world had shut down.
Looking back over the day, I can see what happened. I woke up in significant pain which meant I started off my day with less spoons than usual. While I didn’t have much to do at work, the meeting with HR used up a lot of my spoons. Cleaning the house and trying to organize everything used more spoons. When the pain returned, it used up the rest of my spoons. That grocery trip was all on borrowed spoons. I remember the shift while driving to the store. It was as if the life fell out of me, yet I kept on moving.
Just the latest reminder that I really need to be more aware of my spoons.