We are broken. We exist in a state of low spoons and are unable to do as much an neurotypicals can. On bad weeks, we average 12 hours a day in bed. We have averaged over 12 hours a night in bed for the last four days. During these times, we go to work, eat, shower, do basic self care, and sleep. Any time or spoons that would have gone towards the leisure activities neurotypicals seem to be able to do go towards processing nightmares caused by PTSD, curling up with anxiety, or trying to pass time in a low energy state because spoons do not exist.
All our life, we have received signals that we are supposed to push our boundaries and generate spoons out of thin air or borrow against future spoons to complete tasks. During childhood, we were never taught to respect our limits. If we were ever having doubts about being able to complete a task, it was implied that we would find a way to make it happen. Or else. There was never any space to have lower spoons, even for a short period of time. Getting 18/20 on a test meant we were asked where the last two points went. You will have spoons for perfection. Or else.
Our first semester of high school, we were on the path to get an A and we intentionally sabotaged the grade to ensure we got a B. Getting an A would have meant that when we were unable to get another A the next semester, we would have been asked what went wrong and why we couldn’t get another A. No appreciation for doing well, just a permanently increased expectation of perfection. A decade later, we strongly believe we made the right decision. An act of creating space for ourselves.
We lived with our first girlfriend for three months between college and our first job. She spent a significant amount of energy trying to “fix” us. She believed the hypomanic seeking state we were in when she met us was our baseline. The entire summer was her wondering why we were not at hypomanic spoon levels and attempting to offer suggestions to fix it. We were not allowed to be broken.
When our life fell apart, we mentioned to the body’s father that we were falling apart and were concerned we would break. All he had to say was “if you break, you can unbreak”. You will have spoons to function as I expect you to. Or else. We got promoted by working at a pace which borrowed huge amounts of spoons against the future. We told our boss we were not sure we would be able to sustain the pace we were working at. The reply was “I’m not worried about that”. You will have spoons to continue working at that pace. Or else.
The word broken is powerful for us. As everyone around us pushes and prods us to ignore our boundaries, considering ourselves broken serves as a reminder that we simply cannot do all that others demand of us. Others see our broken state and try to answer the question “how can I make you have more spoons?” They see it as something they can fix. Viewing ourselves as broken allows us to approach the problem as “how can we structure our life so it is workable with our limited spoons?” rather than trying to conjure up spoons where they will simply never exist.