I often imagine my energy reserves a large basin that funnels my daily energy where it needs to go. In my mind, the energy looks shimmery and silver, glinting whenever it hits the light.

When my reserve is full, everything is good. I feel like the world is my oyster, and I can do anything and everything. This feeling is brief and fleeting, because from the moment my eyes open, the fluid starts getting sucked away, and I have little say in where it goes.

Each part of me requires its own set of tubes, and the older I get it seems, the more there are. The ones that draw most heavily are the tubes labeled Autism, POTS and, Mental Health.

As the energy shifts from shimmering silver to a matte purple, gravity pulls it down the mental health pipes. It pulls enough drops to make sure I take my meds, another few drops toward meeting my food exchanges and following my meal plan. Yet more drops into the well of self-care.

Already I am tired.

POTS rejects the pull of purple and makes a subtle change from iridescent silver, to gun-metal grey. This liquid leaks rather than drips, oozing down chutes that prevent me from fainting. The ironic thing about this is that in trying to give me energy, my body steals more than its share from my reserve.

The autism energy oozes, never staying color for more than a handful of seconds. It squeezes its way through narrow pipes, in an attempt to balance my sensory input, understand and imitate social behavior, and to do things like remember where my phone is (in my hand), how to make coffee (in my defense, the filters were in the wrong place), and figure out if I’m hungry or not (I am, I think?).

After all of this, there is a spoonful left in the bottom of the tank. Just enough to get myself to bed, and prepare for tomorrow.

I wish I knew how full the tank would be when I wake up. Some days there’s an excess, and I can take a walk, and some days I’m scraping the bottom before lunch, and I won’t be able to stand for the rest of the day.

My energy plumbing is a little broken, but it is mine. Some days I’d like to borrow yours, but I know in my heart that it wouldn’t be the same. My plumbing, with its tubes and its pipes, is as much a part of me as my soul. Both can be problematic, but hey, so am I.


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