The chronic pain community is huge and wonderful. I love interacting with people who just get it. They get how rough mornings can be, they get how hard “simple tasks” are, and they understand “running out of spoons” without an in-depth explanation of the spoon theory.
People with chronic pain understand why “doing more” is hard. They understand why someone might refuse a night out on the town, or hell…even a trip out for coffee. They get why doing things past a certain time can rarely happen, and they don’t make you feel bad when you have to cancel last minute.
Healthy people, bless their souls…they don’t get it. They try to, of course, but it’s hard. Their go to suggestion seems to be “do more”.
Oh, you’re in a lot of pain? Have you tried exercising? If you just got out of the house more, you’d feel better.
I can typically get through my day-to-days. I can pull myself out of bed and go about our routine, and I can even fit in a couple of trips to the park and a few play dates during the week too. But when I add new or unusual elements to the mix – that’s when it gets hard.
Let’s revisit the spoon theory — again, I know, but it is my favorite way of describing things. I have just enough spoons to get through a regular day in casa Sarcastica, but when I do something different, I have to borrow from tomorrow’s “spoon bank”, which leaves me with less spoons for the next day. I can borrow a few more tomorrow, taken from the day after, just to get through that day, but eventually…I will need to pay up.
This is why I stress about “doing more”, or alternating our schedule, because I know I’ll have to borrow spoons from my tomorrows and I know the pay up will undoubtedly suck.
If you are a healthy person guilty of asking someone with chronic pain why they can’t just “do more”, I’ll break it down a little more for you: Everything we do has a domino affect on our bodies and our health. At the end of the day, are you going to be able to magically transfer your endless bounds of energy and healthy ju-ju? Are you going to stand beside your friend or loved one and help them put back up those domino pieces? No? Then try not to take it personally when you are told that they can’t “do more”.