At the bottom of most posts, along with my distance, time, and other relevant stats, you may have noticed the “Emotional Score” and “Motivational Score” values. This is how I keep track of how my depression is improving. Below is a handy visual guide to the meaning of the emotional score numbers. The emotional scale is a little more complicated than the motivational scale, because a 3 is not necessarily better than a 4, its just different. However scores in the 0-3 range signify varying types of emotional emptiness, while 4-7 signify some sort of (usually unbalanced) emotion, and 8-10 tend to be more “normal” emotional states of being, so in that regard the higher the number the “better” it is.
Throughout the scale, as well as throughout the blog, I talk about having or lacking “spoons” so before we dive into the scale here is a quick run down on spoons.
The Spoon Theory was created by Christine Miserandino as a way for her to describe what it was like to have Lupus. It has sense been adopted by people all over the internet as simple way to explain their struggle with diseases and mental disorders. Spoons are a metaphor for energy. In the case of someone with depression, like myself, spoons typically refer to emotional energy (which can also effect physical energy, but not always. On a good day I might have enough spoons to do some laundry or dishes, but not enough to chat on the phone).
Everything you do costs spoons: from getting out of bed, to taking a shower, to responding to an email, to making lunch.
“Normal” people wake up every day with an abundance of spoons, usually more than they can use in a day, while people with depression (and other illnesses) have a very unpredictable and finite number of spoons. Some days we have more than enough to get through the day, other days we don’t. So we always have to be aware of how many spoons we have, and to make sure we always have some in reserve for those unexpected spoon eaters, like an call from a bill collector or missing your bus or getting caught in the rain. And once we run out of spoons, that’s it, we are done.
So with that in mind there is my emotional rating scale, illustrated with images:
0. Complete Emotional Collapse
This can manifest in one of two ways. I either feel absolutely nothing, or I am so overwhelmed by emotions that I “shut down” because I can’t cope with it all. Either way, the end result is me, in bed, cocooned in my blankie hoping the world will go away and leave me alone. This is usually the results of running out of spoons
1. Barely Holding it Together
Trying hard not to loose it, but I’m teetering on the edge. My blankie is probably the only thing keeping me together. I’m simultaneously grasping onto any emotion I can feel and wishing the negative feelings would go away.
2. Time to Go Get My Blankie
I can tell that I’m not doing ok. I’ve run out of (or never had) enough spoons to deal with anyone or anything. I just want to be left alone, in the hope that some quiet will keep me from having a breakdown.
3. Momentary Meltdown
I’ve got so few spoons that if anything goes wrong, it will be the last straw for me. I will probably make a mountain out of a molehill. I may be better in a little bit, or it may ruin my whole day, depending on how many spoons I loose to whatever happened.
4. General Sadness
I just feel sad. No reason. I’m just sad.
5. Stressed Out
There may be a lot of stressful things happening in my life; then again there may not be. Either way I’m just feeling super stressed.
6. Pissed Off
I may not have any reason to be; or I may have a reason, but its stupid. Regardless I’m pretty much pissed off at any and everyone.
Confession (and extra gif, yay!): I like feeling angry. Its a nice change from the normal stress & sadness I usually feel (when I feel anything), so sometimes when I’m angry I’m kinda like this:
I’m getting by. I feel little to no emotion, but I’ve got enough spoons to deal with almost anything that comes my way.
8. Life Doesn’t Suck
I may not feel “happy” but at the same time I don’t feel like life sucks and is completely meaningless either.
9. Starting to Feel Good.
Did I just smile? Is this what happy feels like?
10. Emotional Balance
I’m feeling good. I’m having the proper emotions at the proper time and I can cope with whatever comes my way.