Home > Uncategorized > Dissociation and why spoons are not for everyone

Dissociation and why spoons are not for everyone

Ever since hearing about spoon theory not too long ago, I’ve been trying to reconcile it with my experiences. I have issues with dissociation and depression, and from hearing other people with similar issues talk about “counting spoons” I thought it might help with my self-care. Unfortunately it hasn’t been working.

Take this morning for example. I woke up early (hey, 9 am is early for an unemployed student on break), took a shower, and treated myself to a decent breakfast. I felt good. Taking stock of myself I began making plans for the day. Not far into my carrying out of said plans everything broke down. For some reason, getting a glass of orange juice and starting the dishes was too much for me. I had a particularly horrible dissociation experience, my limbs became unfamiliar, as did all the sensations coming from them, as did my internal organs, making every breath and beat of my heart a violent attack. In half an hour I went from happy and functional to lying on my bed begging an empty room to “make it stop”. I haven’t figured a coping method to deal with the internal stuff (I can’t really cover up my organs like I do my limbs because they’re already inside me), so the only way to escape was to relax enough to fall asleep for a couple hours. Spoons can’t cover this sort of event; I went from having plenty more than I needed to not being able to move very quickly with no warning or triggers.

The opposite happens with my depression. Oftentimes I feel like I don’t have the energy for something, force myself to do it anyway, and it ends up being what makes me feel better. It’s the amazing fluctuating spoons, they crash and replenish of their own accord and counting them at the beginning of the day isn’t going to do me any good particularly. The best I can do is try to figure out what causes crashes (if anything) and prevent that.

  1. chartreuseflamethrower
    July 22, 2010 at 18:31

    I don’t know if spoons work for emotional/mental things. For physical disorders, which I believe that was invented for, you can generally tell what will cause what. For emotional/mental problems- you never know what will trigger what. Maybe it depends on the emotional/mental thing, but that’s generally the case for me.

    It sucks, though. I hope you can figure out what’s cuasing that.

    • July 22, 2010 at 18:40

      I’ve heard other people use “spoons” to refer to emotional stuff, mostly depression and anxiety. Sometimes I’ve felt like spoons might cover a little bit of the experience, being low on energy or being already triggered can make other triggers worse etc., but yeah, I’m finding that triggers and random freakouts are more the pattern.

  2. Mel
    July 25, 2010 at 08:14

    In theory, I think they can work for some mental/emotional stuff, though not everything. I think for something like anxiety they might be a decent analogy, especially social anxiety, where it’s specific situations that are a problem, rather than general anxiety where it can be set off by any of various things. But for SAD, a “spoon” would be cost for every social situation one had to endure, that “normal” people wouldn’t think twice about – needing to make a simple phone call, having to make a return at a store, etc etc. However, I do think it works a lot better for the physically affecting illnesses, because then people can grasp that, they can grasp physical pain and physical limitations. No matter how many spoons you give and take away, “normal” people never will understand how something like SAD screws with you; whereas the girl who wrote the spoons thing is physically affected, they can understand that it causes literal pain for these various things, and whatnot. They can’t understand how a phone call can be such a huge deal for someone, though. So, I dunno… =/

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