I’ve been thinking about the Spoon Theory of mental illness for a bit, lately. Just in case you weren’t aware, I have 2 diagnosed mental illnesses (depression and anxiety), and am working on a third (hypertension). I’ve adopted the spoon theory because it just makes sense, especially as quickly as my family goes through spoons, lately! People are adopting other methods of explaining it, though, and I caught myself doing the same the other day. Then I realized that what I was using to explain it, the battery on my cell phone, was probably the most accurate and easy to understand for me. It hit me because I was thinking about getting everything off of my phone that I wanted to save (pictures, contacts…) and doing a factory reset to see if it helped with my battery life.
You see, when my phone was new and didn’t have any apps downloaded and running, nothing going on in the background, and no jobs I needed it to do, the battery lasted FOREVER! Then I downloaded the apps that I normally use, Facebook, Google Hangouts, Messenger, and Pinterest. The battery was still great, just didn’t last as long. The longer I have the phone, the more updates it gets, the more random things get loaded, the more I use those apps and some others. The battery life on my phone right now is about 4 hours. IT SUCKS. I spend the afternoon with my phone on the charger so it doesn’t die.
Now, recently, I’ve picked up my phone after it being on the charger all night and the stupid thing hasn’t been charging. In fact, it’s dying when the alarm goes off. Why? Because the USB cable is getting old and the connector is a bit loose, so it didn’t make the best contact and, thus, didn’t charge the phone.
I realized while I was debating the reset that… that’s exactly how I feel! Some meds I was on have caused me to cough, a lot. I stopped taking them after talking to my doctor, but I still wake up coughing during the night. I’m a little older than I used to be, a lot overweight, and I have a ton of things going on at one time, ALL THE TIME. I do things to help keep them straight, sure (my bullet journal, my forced down time, SCA weekends, Me Days, counting steps, drinking more water, cutting out Cokes), but it doesn’t change how much of my battery is used by all of those things (including the things I’m doing to help correct the problems!) or how bad a charge my sleep habits have been to cause a less than 100% battery charge the following morning.
These things that I have in my life are my apps, the things I’ve downloaded onto myself. I am a teacher, a mother, a wife, a sister, a SCAdian (which means an apprentice, a protege, a fighter), a crafter, a friend, a writer, a reader, a track director, a problem solver, a kitty mama, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a large and active Facebook group runner, and a person in my own right. I have interests, responsibilities, and hobbies that are all demanding of my attention, my energy, and my brain! They’re things I enjoy, like scrolling through Pinterest, and things I don’t, like cleaning the kitchen sink! When all of those apps are running at once, it drains my battery! I plug myself in (take naps, drink a Coke, eat a sugary candy bar, or put on headphones) when I need a quick recharge to keep my battery from dying, but it’s just a patch until I can plug myself in for an extended time without running any apps! When the charger is malfunctioning (ie, I wake up with crying children, or coughing, or having weird dreams), then I don’t start with a full battery to begin with and then the apps start draining what little charge I do have! And some of those apps really burn through a battery! You think Facebook is bad for a battery, try a six year old with a headache while you’re trying to cook dinner who is arguing with her sister about EVERYTHING!
So, maybe spoons aren’t the best analogy for me. Maybe I need to talk about battery life and how many apps I have running at once, instead. Right now, I’m hunting for my charger, because I seem to have misplaced it! I’m going to see if my pillow knows where it is!