‘I Have Measured Out My Life With Coffee Spoons’

This famous quote from T S Eliot’s The Lovestory of J Alfred Prufrock has more meaning then you would first think for someone who suffers with chronic illness(es).

Many people that know me or work with me will be aware that I suffer with both mental and physical illnesses, which take a large toll on my life. However, I am very determined to make sure that they do not stop me achieving anything that I want to do in life!

In the past month I have been diagnosed as having Hypermobility. This is a very common condition, but only a small percentage of those that suffer with Hypermobility develop the chronic pain that I face. It has taken an increasing effect on my life in the past year, with varying degrees of pain in all of my joints, but especially my hips.

Hypermobility comes in many forms. The first is the increased flexibility of the joints, which is surprisingly common, and usually has very few side effects. When I was growing up, it was referred to as being ‘Double Jointed’. The next is possibly a better description of my condition, which is Joint Hypermobility Syndrome. The idea here being that you are extra flexible and prone to dislocations, but also have suffered with chronic pain and fatigue over a prolonged period of time. Then there is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) Type 3, a condition which leaves the sufferer with paper-thin skin, easy bruising, fatigue, joint pain, as well as heart problems.

One of my favourite approaches to Hypermobility is The Spoon Theory. This was coined by Christine Miserandino, on her blog ‘But You Don’t Look Sick‘ (check out the original post here). It’s a funny, sensitive and incredibly relatable approach to living with a chronic illness and the constant effect upon the sufferer. Despite being initially applied to Lupus, The Spoon Theory has since been snapped up by ‘Spoonies’ of all kinds!

The Hypermobility Syndrome Association recently posted this video to its Facebook page, which explains The Spoon Theory without the bulky text. I urge anyone who suffers with chronic illness, knows someone who is a sufferer, or just wants to increase their knowledge and sympathy for others to read or watch. It’s a great way of making these conditions easier to comprehend and raise awareness.

Think you or someone you know is suffering? Visit Arthritis Research UK – Hypermobility or NHS – Hypermobility for more info. Or visit your GP if you have any concerns.

 

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