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How I manage my daily energy: The Spoon Theory - Energy crisis during concussion

Updated: Jan 10

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A concussion causes an energy crisis in the brain. Did you ever have a hard time explaining how it feels to have limited energy? The Spoon Theory is such an easy theory to apply to yourself or to explain how you have to manage your energy during the day to others. Did you hear of The Spoon Theory before? I am not the founder of it but, I read about it around a year ago.

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A concussion causes an energy crisis in the brain

Did you know a concussion causes an energy crisis in the brain? The brain needs more energy to heal. The combination of decreased blood flow and low energy creates a metabolic mismatch and that's why you can feel so tired.

Click here to read more about this.

The Spoon Theory helps to manage limited energy

I was having dinner with friends as well as at one moment, one of them asked me how it feels to have limited energy. I was a little bit shocked because I did not know how to answer this question. I told her about my symptoms and how I deal with them during the day. But she still asked questions and, I could not manage to explain them well.

How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? Generally, I change the subject still I wanted to answer this question. If I cannot explain this to my friends, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I gave it a try, remembering what I read about the Spoon Theory.

Explaining The spoon theory to friends

I grabbed some spoons and gave them to one of my friends. I explained that the difference between having a concussion and being healthy is having to make choices about things when the rest of the world does not have to. The healthy luxuries of a life without choices is a gift most people take for granted.

Most people wake up and are not aware of the unlimited number of possibilities and energy that has been provided to them for the day. They do not have to make the same choices and worry about the effects of their actions.

I used the spoons to make this point clear. I wanted to give her something to hold so I can take it away. Most people who have a concussion feel a loss of a life they once had. If I was in control of the spoons, she would know what it feels not to have any control over them.

She was excited about the spoons; thought I should start making a joke or something. But this time, I was not starting to make a joke.

I asked her to count her spoons. Because when you are healthy, you have an unlimited supply of spoons, with an impact there is a limit. You need to know how many spoons you have exactly need to start your day. She counted twelve spoons. Wondered if she could have more of them. I felt this was the best explanation ever about how to deal with limited energy. I said no, I wanted more spoons for years and still do not know how to get the unlimited spoons.

I told her she had to know every minute of the day how many spoons she still had and not to drop or waste them on something that is not important. I asked her to list off all tasks and activities of her day, including the most regular ones like taking a shower. I told her how each one would cost her a spoon. Her first activity was getting ready for work I took away a spoon. You do not just get up. You have to open your eyes as well as, you did not sleep well, and then you realize you are late and you also have to make some breakfast as well. I took away another spoon as well as realized, she has not even gotten dressed yet. This and showering were worth her another spoon. I had to break down every task to show that every little detail needs to work out.

She started to understand when she did not even get to work and as well as she has left only with six spoons, half of the total she had. It was still morning as well as the day did not even start yet. I explained she needed to rest reasonably, as when your spoons are gone, you cannot get them back. Sometimes you can borrow a spoon from tomorrow although, that means you will have fewer spoons tomorrow.

I explained, that when you are having an impact you are always aware that you can get a cold or any other thing the next day that you did not plan. So, you want to save some spoons stand prepared for that. We went through the rest of the day as well she learned that skipping lunch/rest would cost her a spoon, standing on a train, typing on a computer, or even watching television.

In the end, she still had to make dinner yet, she only had one spoon left. She could choose to cook dinner and not clean afterward or go out for dinner but driving home was not an option. Making an easy soup was the best option with one spoon left. The rest of the evening you are out of spoons so, it means not doing anything or take the risk of borrowing a spoon from tomorrow. But the next day same Spoon Game is starting over as well as you do not want to get in trouble.

My friend asked me, live like this EVERY day. She was upset yet; it was getting through to her. It told her some days are worse than others and on some days. I get more spoons that make me excited. I just learned to live my life with an extra spoon in my pocket, in reserve.

Is it easy? No, of course not, it is the hardest thing I ever had to learn. I fight this every day, I hate feeling left out, having to stay at home and not get things done that I want to. Maybe I miss the freedom and spontaneous life where I never had to count my spoons.

People understand it a bit better

I have used the spoon theory to explain my life to many people. Once people understand the spoon theory then they seem to understand me better, yet I also think that they live their life a little differently too. I think it is not just good for understanding a concussion, but for anyone dealing with any disability or illness. Hopefully, they do not take so much for granted or their life in general.

It took some time to be confident about it. But at this moment, I see this concussion energy crisis as a blessing. I have to think about everything I do. I cannot waste any time. If I do something or see something, I chose to do it because it is worth my time. I am even joking that people should feel special when I spend time with them because I spent one of my precious spoons with them.

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Have you tried many things to reduce your symptoms?

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