Being low on spoons is tough. Running out of spoons is worse. Having a deficit of spoons, or going into your spoon overdraft is nearly as bad as it can get.
The idea of using spoons to explain physical and/or mental stamina is thought to have originated in 2003 when Christine Miserandino, whilst in a cafe with her friend, used the utensils on the table to explain how everyday tasks used up her energy reserves.
I’ve talked about spoons before, and there are other ways of describing this concept using things like hit points, or space on the bookshelf. It doesn’t matter what is used so long as the concept is understandable. The last 4-5 weeks have hammered my reserves and I’ve gone from running on hardly any spoons, to running at a deficit.
So, what is going on?
Being autistic in a neurotypical world involves a base level of anxiety just through existing. It’s like the body’s basal metabolic rate; the number of calories the body uses just by existing. Being autistic in this world automatically raises your anxiety levels because the world is just not designed for us. Imagine having to wear a shirt all day, every day, that has a little tag scratching at your neck, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. That’s how the low-level, persistent anxiety feels.
On top of this, we have been going through some work on our home. It was supposed to take “a week or so”. We allowed for two weeks. It’s now been over a month. The contractors would turn up at 09:00, and start working at 09:30. They’d take 40 minutes or so for lunch, and leave at 14:00. Also, for everything they’ve done to the place, they’ve created new problems. They’ve broken the blinds in our main bedroom, damaged our shower door so our shower leaks whenever it’s used, and the painting… The painting is poor. At first glance it looked ok; not great but not poor. As you take it in though, you realise places have been missed and there is not a straight line to be seen. They’ve got paint on the floor, the window frames, and where we have different colours for the wall and ceiling it just looks a state. We fired them and agreed on a reduced price. The owner of the firm said that it’s always more difficult working in a property when people are living there. However, we cleared out each room completely for them to work in, also as my Dad said, “does you being in another room stop them painting in a straight line?”
I always knew that the work to our apartment would be stressful, and I was braced for that. I wasn’t braced for the scale of the problems we’ve faced though, through other people just not doing what they said they will do. Also, corporate incompetence.
We ordered a lot of stuff from Ikea, such as a bed, wardrobes, storage units and boxes, a new sofa, and so on. I’d arranged for my Dad to come and help assemble the bed and wardrobes with me a couple of weeks back. We’ve both put a lot of flatpack furniture together over the years, with me having lived between Sheffield, Leicester, and Preston since turning 18. Furniture is generally easy if you take your time and follow the instructions. However, this bed was a fucking nightmare. It took the two of us eight hours of solid work to assemble it due to crap instructions and a couple of manufacturing faults.
I decided to tackle the wardrobes myself. My girlfriend, Oana, had taken charge of designing and picking our new stuff as she’s got a really great mind for this, and she knows it stresses me out. Over a few days, I worked on assembling the frames; one double and two singles. It was surprisingly easy. Then, I started on the inserts; the drawers, baskets, shelves, and whatnot that you can choose to customise the wardrobe. This is where the problems started.
The side panels on the wardrobes are designed in such a way that they can only be set in one possible way; i.e. you can’t have them back-to-front or upside down. The back edge is rough and the front edge is smooth. There are large holes at the top end of the panel, so you know it stands that way up. The doors for the units have pre-cut holes for the hinges, which go into assigned holes on the panels, so you can’t get it wrong. Or can you?
Ikea managed to get it wrong as the side panels have different numbers of holes on each side, which are spaced unevenly, so when you try to fit a flat shelf inside the wardrobe, it’s skewed by about ten degrees. I went so far as to physically count the number of holes on both sides, and there’s a definite manufacturing fault. This means I’ll have to unassemble…
… the unit and wait for the new pack to arrive. It might not seem like that big of a deal, but whilst we don’t have a wardrobe we can use we are still living out of boxes. We had to wait to order the furniture until the painting and flooring were completed. For those keeping track, we are coming to the end of week five of living like this.
I recently posted that I’m reducing my sertraline dosage, but it doesn’t seem to be helping much with my sleep. I’m still waking up several times a night and then spending the next day mentally exhausted. I’ve spoken with my GP again and I’m being put on a new drug; mirtazapine. It will probably take a while to kick in but I’m hopeful it will make a difference.
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