Spoons, fear, and darkness

Day 184 of being laid off.

I have never understood spoons as much as I have this past week.

I’ve survived a lot in my life (yes, even with privilege, I have had to endure some shit). I have struggled plenty, more than you know because I’m not inclined to ask for help (see Lydia Temoshok’s theory of the C-type personality here: https://www.healingcancer.info/ebook/lydia-temoshok). But I have learned a bit over the past few months…not the least of which is that “holding it in” is a BadThing™.

I am NOT good at being vulnerable but I also realize that it might help someone for me to talk about darkness and fear.

I have spent the past 2 days in total meltdown. Vacillating between feelings of abject fear and complete worthlessness, I cried for 2 days. I cried till I ran out of tears. My eyes are still sore today; my emotions raw. My chest aches (not in a heart-problem way, don’t worry). I am angry and frustrated and terrified and panicky…and hopeless.

My brain has little recordings of friends tucked away, telling me to breathe fresh air, get some sunshine, meditate, or whatever kind of “do something that won’t cost money” kind of thing I can muster. You think I don’t listen to you, but I do. In fact, there are times that your voices are the things that drive me. So I went to the health club (I’m fortunate to receive a scholarship into a cancer care program at a local health club) for a meditation class followed by a chair yoga (harder than you think!) class.

It was a shakra meditation and while Lin was guiding us through the shakra colors, all I could muster was solar plexis yellow, throat blue, and crown violet. Everything else was black. I fully understand what the black means – it’s depression. Tears streamed but I managed to stay with the meditation through the end.

I was rolling up my mat and drying my tear-soaked face, when she came over and just held me. Tight. This tiny lady, half my size at most, was so strong. She held me while I cried. She whispered that the quiet of meditation can bring up all sorts of emotions, that everything is fluid, that nothing is permanent, that darkness passes, and that there will be sun again.

And she told me she would hold me as long as I needed to be held. Normally this would have made me super uncomfortable. But I gave in and let someone else support me.

Truth be told, it may have been the most important hug I have ever had. I am grateful that I had one spoon left to get my ass over there. The experience didn’t solve anything. It didn’t take away the post-radiation pain I still have. It didn’t rewrite my resume or get me a job or an interview. It didn’t solve my financial crisis. It didn’t take away any of the things that have built up over the past 6 months.

But what she did for me, in those 5 minutes, was give me a respite from the suffering. She gave me some time to be taken care of. She helped bring me out of a very dark place. All those bad feelings are still there, but she replenished some of my spoons.

I know i have a lot to be grateful for. But sometimes that’s just not enough. And being told to be grateful just makes me feel smaller and invalidates my feelings. Then that sets off the whole cycle of hopelessness and worthlessness all over again.

So here’s my wisdom and advice.

Check on your strong, silent friends. They won’t tell you when they’re hurting.

When someone you care about is out of spoons, consider a (consensual) hug instead of a lecture or advice.

Answer their text or their call.

Let them express it their way.

Listen to them and hold them up – replenish their spoons.

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Pam is an experienced MSP-owner and IT consultant. Most recently she was a content writer, writing about IT admin life and tech. When not working, Pam spends her time with her dog, visiting her kids across the country, and being creative with yarn (though she's learning other crafts as well).

One thought on “Spoons, fear, and darkness

  1. Jenn Poncher

    You go Pammy Whammy! Nobody understands the spoon theory until they have to experience it. I live with it daily because of that “silent disease” MS. “You don’t look sick” is a weekly comment I hear and, inevitably, the spoon theory gets told. You go girl! You are a rockstar in my book. 🙂

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