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Spoonie Warriors - Unite

A spoonie? What is a spoonie? Did she spell this right? Is that right? What is she talking about?

Researching this concept, key words that jumped right off the screen - such as fibromyalgia, chronic illness, lupus, depression, warrior, pain, mental illness, transparent. Sure seems like a lot. And a lot of not-so-good topics, so..... What the heck is spoonie?

A spoonie can refer to any individual who suffers from chronic illness. These illnesses are often invisible; to most people, spoonies may appear healthy and able-bodied.

How I came to understand and relate to spoonies. This all started when I arrived home from the hospital. I had not been home for very long at all. Now if you've ever spent the night in a hospital, you understand the oddly comfortable evenings in a hospital. Sure, it's smelly and not all that quiet, but damn it is safe. You feel comfort in the safety of nurses and doctors. When you are discharged and get home, that sense comfort is gone. I was home. I was petrified. The follow-up appointments were good (okay, not good, but steady improvement), blood work wasn't setting off any alarms. I was recovering. On paper, I was looking better. Everywhere else, I was invisible. I was screaming yet I didn't make a sound. I was drowning yet I was safe on land. I was invisible. Life moves on and yet there sat a damaged girl, a completely shattered shell of a person.

I started doing what I do best. Worry. It's basically an art I've mastered. A little worry and self-doubt, ramp up that self- doubt with some paralyzing anxiety and I was off to the races, I was on a roll. Did I mention I was googling symptoms on WebMD?

It wasn't too long before I found the lovely community of people I could understand, people in which I could relate. They were spoonies. If you simply google "spoonie" I am sure you will find a number of theories or stories that highlight the concept. I will share - in my own words - what it means to be a spoonie.

Growing up in small town Wisconsin, Perkins was the go-to restaurant for all occasions or no occasion at all. My best friend and I were regulars. We would spend hours just hanging out at Perkins, sharing stories, dreaming, talking - growing up. Many a night, we would be at Perkins enjoying a slice of french silk pie and a table over, servers would be rolling silverware for the next day.

Whenever I think about the spoonie description, in my head, I picture Perkins, I picture the off-white plastic cylinder containers for silverware, with the holes throughout. You know the ones, anyone who has worked in food service, knows what I am talking about. The silverware is separated by knives, forks, and spoons in separate containers. Now imagine the container of spoons spilling out on to the table. There are quite a few spoons on the table. Those are my spoons for they day.

I know you are asking WHAT? Stay with me here, each spoon represents an energy reserve. Consequently, those spoons equate to my energy for the day. Now it may take two spoons to get out of bed and walk up the stairs to brush my teeth. Ope, wait, brushing my teeth is another spoon. By the time I get undressed (spoon), take a shower (spoon), get dressed (spoon), put on make-up (spoon), curl my hair (spoon), get dressed (spoon)...I could have depleted my energy reserves for the day, just in those activities. I could be out of spoons. You know what, sometimes just thinking about doing those things can deplete your spoons.

"If you know what a "spoonie" is, then odds are you may be one yourself."

A spoonie is someone with a chronic illness, someone battling severe depression, someone struggling with paralyzing anxiety. Most of the time, the illness a spoonie is battling is invisible. Just for fun. Just because. Thus making the spoonie appear well-bodied and healthy, while the battle rages on within the spoonie. For instance, just getting out of bed on a particular day may deplete your spoons. Not everyday is equal. You are not guaranteed a certain spoon allotment per day.

Spoonies tend to feel isolated, alone and scared. Ding. Ding. Ding. We have a winner! This is, by far, 100%, why the spoonie community resonated with me. I was isolated and alone (during the day), it was frightening - I was scared. It was Christmastime and I've always LOVED decorating the Christmas tree. Normally I would say, it would take about an hour, when it's all said and done. This year, it took days. Literally days and it still wasn't decorated. I equated an ornament to a spoon. I did not have a surplus of spoons to begin with. An ornament = a spoon.

"You never truly know someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes."

Yes, you are correct, I may not "fit the definition" of a spoonie. However, that does not stop me from approaching them and loving on them. Y'all keep pushing through - grace upon grace!

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