“Spoonie fail moment!”
Have you ever had a moment in which you realized you had been doing something wrong for the longest time? We have all been there, but it can feel especially rotten to realize you have been doing something that has been harming you when you did not have to be.
Here, I will share a few of the worst spoonie “fails” that I have made during my own struggles with chronic illness and disability. Then, I’ll tell you how I fixed those failures so you can avoid making them yourself!
Spoonie Fail #1 – Trying to Do It All Yourself
Humans are stubborn by nature.
Most of us – especially those of us who have children, careers, and other obligations – try to push through pain and other symptoms to avoid losing our sense of self worth. We can do it, we tell ourselves. We do not need help!
The truth is, everyone needs help sometimes.
While you may not be able to do everything you once could physically, you can still do a lot of other things. Even if you are entirely bed bound or do not have many usable hours of mental clarity every day, you are someone’s sunshine, someone’s favorite person on this planet, be it your child, your spouse, your mother, or your best friend.
That is reason enough to go easy on yourself and allow others to offer you help when needed.
The fix to this problem? Take those offers of help and maximize what you can do, so you are not exhausted and suffering for days afterward. Pace and prioritize yourself.
You are worth taking for and spending time on!
Fail #2 – Keeping Quiet About Your Pain
I have lived with chronic pain for years now.
I realized a while back that talking about my pain can get annoying to some people, and others do not always believe me. After a while, I stopped mentioning the pain unless it got so bad that I was afraid I was in danger of dying.
This is a mistake. Everyone deserves help with pain and a life that is as comfortable as possible. Keeping quiet about how badly things hurt can keep me from getting the help I need, and doing so will keep you from getting what you need, too!
The fix is to speak up. Set guidelines for yourself and mention your pain and other symptoms as soon as they begin to interfere with your everyday life. If that happens often, reach out to your healthcare providers and advocate for yourself until you feel heard and understood.
You deserve to live as comfortably as you can!
Fail #3 – Letting Doctors Dismiss Your Needs
We all have horror stories about doctors and other health care providers who have dismissed us and our suffering.
I know I do. For many years, I would just let this happen. I even let them convince me that I was overreacting or imagining my symptoms – until I could not convince myself of this anymore.
The fix is probably obvious, but not easy.
That fix is advocating for yourself – as mentioned above – and taking a trusted loved one with you to your appointments and other engagements who will advocate strongly for you as well. The old adage of “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” is too often true in the modern health care system.
Sometimes, a spoonie has to be loud, persistent, and unflappable to get what you need.
Fail #4 – Not Prioritizing Rest and Self Care
This is the biggest mistake I have made personally.
I was raised by a chronically ill woman – a spoonie before the word spoonie even existed – who would push through her pain and symptoms to get things done. I inherited her desire to do the same, but not her ability to persevere.
As a result, I often come up short and suffer for it for the hours or days that follow.
The fact is, my mother should never have felt like she had to push through her discomfort and exhaustion, but real life is not always ideal. I should not have to do these things either, but as a mother, I don’t always have a choice.
However, I do have the choice to prioritize rest and self care for myself, which is something I have also been pretty bad at – until recently.
Again, the fix is easier said than done. As chronically ill or disabled people, we have to make time for ourselves.
Sometimes, this feels indulgent and almost unfair. We cannot do the things other people expect from us, so why should we do these things for ourselves?
It is because rest and relaxation is not just for us; it allows us to recharge and be better and more available in our everyday lives. Whether you are a parent, a professional, or just a person on this planet, that is a benefit you definitely owe yourself!
What about you guys? What are your biggest mistakes as a spoonie, and how are you working on fixing them? I would love to hear your thoughts!