Monday 25 June 2018

Spoonie Writer: Taking Care Of You

I've been a spoonie for the majority of my life. I've been a writer since I was 19 and published almost 13 years now. One thing I have been very clear on is that you gotta take care of yourself. I've talked about this in other writing pieces, in vlogs, and all over the internet, but sometimes it's good to have a reminder of why you need to make sure you're taking care of you as well as your writing.

Now it's been a while since I did a piece like this, so I'm gonna quickly recap what a spoonie is: A spoonie is someone who is chronically ill and identifies with The Spoon Theory. How am I a spoonie? Well I have several chronic conditions including Fibromyalgia, M.E. and a rare form of asthma that leaves me reliant on oxygen and in a wheelchair. Now that parts over, lets move onto the main focus of this piece. Taking care of you.

In the writing world there is a lot of pressure to be working constantly. I see it, hell I even do it from time to time. There's also a big feeling that you should be pushing yourself to your limits to both write and build your platform. I am still considered a very small fish in the writing world and I doubt I will ever become a big one. Not because I don't want to be, but because there are certain things holding me back. Namely my health, or lack of it. I work hard, I write mostly every day and I make sure to stay on top of my own deadlines and everything that comes along with writing, but yet I still struggle sometimes.

A good example of this is last month I finished two books earlier than planned. I had pretty much a whole week to do nothing but various other pieces of admin. I could've started my next two projects and spent some of that time planning them, but I didn't, because I knew I'd been pushing hard and I needed to take a break. Now this applies whether you're a spoonie with physical conditions or mental health problems. I'm both and sometimes it's harder to take the time for myself when my anxiety of depression are acting up because there's a lot of stigma that surround them. People see the oxygen tubing and they give me a break for that, but when it comes to needing time because my depression is flaring and my anxiety is through the roof, it's harder. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't happen.

I know that there's a lot of talk about how people should be pushing past their barriers to make sure they achieve the maximum they can in any given time, and that's just not true. There are valid reasons for taking a break. Even if no one outside your own brain is saying that to you, it's still wrong. I struggle with taking time for myself. I don't want to let people down and I don't want to be the one who's always the reason for disappointment, but at some times, I do need to say no. I do need to tell people I need this time for me. It's not easy, not in the slightest and while yes, the majority of people should be understanding, there are some who won't be.

Here's the thing, writing is a creative pursuit. You're using all your imagination and time, and energy and all of that to create worlds from nothing. That has a toll on you. There should always be a chance for you to take some time for yourself, and if the people around you are saying different, then they need to take a step back. Again, it's not easy, I get that. I have friends who don't get that I need time for myself and I get how hard it is to say no to them, knowing that you're causing them upset and discomfort, but you need to take care of you. You are valid and no is a complete sentence.

So my advice is to take that time, take it slow and remember that you matter. You are important and alongside that, so are your needs. Now I'm gonna go and curl up with a book and have some much needed down time.

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