If you are even the slightest bit familiar with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you probably know that there was a new mobile game released. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is on almost every Potterhead’s phone by now, mine included. One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from people regarding the game is the energy feature. When the energy is filled up, there is a total of 25 energy points. It takes 4 minutes to regain an energy point, taking it a total of 100 minutes to refill energy after it has been used. It seems like a decent amount until you begin playing the game. Flipping through textbook pages takes up 5 energy points. That’s 1/5 the amount of energy you have to use those 100 minutes.
There are other tasks like listening, glaring, and talking that take up copious amounts of energy as well. These are all simple tasks that shouldn’t take up so much time and energy. It is easy to see how infuriating this game might be to some of the less patient players. But as I played the game, I realized how similar the energy in this game is to the energy of someone with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), or any similar chronic illness.
I was into walls constantly. An “owe” can be heard coming from me approximately every ten minutes. I have even dislocated my shoulder sleeping, and that might just be my proudest accomplishment (at this point in my life, I might as well take pride in this ‘talent’ of mine). While some parts have slowly developed over the course of my life, a lot of it came crashing down in 2017. In all honestly, I’m still working to manage most of my symptoms to the best of my ability. Of course, when a struggle strikes, I have always turned to horses. There is something peaceful and therapeutic about being on the back of a 1200 lbs animal that could kill me at any moment. Horses have always made me feel closer to God. But with sudden severity of chronic shoulder pain after an injury running (yeah, I injured my shoulder running; I said I was accident prone), I couldn’t manage my pain enough to ride. I needed a new outlet.
In fact, the energy within Hogwarts Mystery is very similar to something referred to by the chronically ill as the ‘spoon’ theory. The spoon theory was created by Christine Miserandino as she tried to explain what having lupus was like to her healthy, able-bodied friend. The concept is simple. Most healthy people start off their day with endless possibilities. They don’t have to worry about using up energy because their supply is practically unlimited. The decisions a healthy, able-bodied person makes aren’t based off of the amount of energy they have. Their ‘spoons’ are unlimited. If they are running low on energy, taking a nap, eating food, or hydrating help them to replenish lost spoons. On the other hand, a chronically ill person struggling with something like EDS, POTS, or Lupus only has so many spoons in one day. For someone who is chronically ill, they can’t get more spoons because everything uses energy. They only have so many spoons, so they have to budget their time and energy wisely to do what needs to get done first. It is because of this that so many people with chronic illnesses cancel plans last minute, and struggle to do things at the same rate as that of a healthy person. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is similar in this way, because energy is used for tasks that shouldn’t require so much of it.
As someone with EDS who struggles with ‘spoons’ each and every day, I can honestly say that Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, as unintentional as the decision may have been, accurately depicts the energy levels of someone who is chronically ill and serves as a great analogy to bring awareness to chronic illnesses like EDS. Because May is EDS awareness month, and the Harry Potter game was released so soon, it was only fit that this was my first EDS awareness post this month (each week I will post a normal blog, along with a special EDS awareness blog all month long). Next time you play Hogwarts Mystery, keep in mind those who live with a similar energy level in real life.
If you would like more information on EDS, look at The Ehlers-Danlos Society
If you would like to read more about the spoon theory, look at But You Don’t Look Sick .com
“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31
I grew up in the church and I have heard this bible verse before a million times. But it had not come up since my diagnosis until January (I’ve been diagnosed since July 2017). I was sitting in one of my classes, and this was a verse my professor had been talking about. Even though I’ve heard this verse before, hearing it again with everything that has gone on in the past year made it ten times more powerful. As someone with chronic illness, I have almost no strength physically. I cannot lift heavy things without risk of injury due to my EDS. I cannot run because I will injure myself. I am weary and faint 24/7. And yet, in this passage, I am reminded that I should put my trust in the Lord regardless of these things because He will renew me day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).
For my exam in an Old Testament class, I was asked to write about Judah’s history through the eyes of the prophet Isaiah. In my essay, I talked about two of the three reigns Isaiah oversaw: King Ahaz, and King Hezekiah. Now, during this time, Israel (the North) and Judah (the south) were split. During Ahaz’s reign, Israel, under Pekah’s leadership, and Aram formed a coalition against Assyria. They urged Ahaz to bring Judah’s forces to fight with them, and Isaiah steered him away from that decision. Of course, Ahaz feared that this wouldn’t be enough, and submitted Judah to Assyria as a vassal for protection against the coalition (this is something Isaiah specifically told Ahaz not to do). Now, a vassal was an ally to a country of greater economic, or political value. To be a vassal to Assyria, Judah was required to pay heavy taxes to Assyria’s deities (something the Bible specifically said not to do). Pekah was killed in the battle against Assyria, and the new king/last king of Israel was a guy named Hoshea (not Hosea the prophet, who ministered in Israel just before Hoshea became king). Now, when the king of Assyria died and was replaced, Hoshea decided to rebel against Assyria again. Israel was conquered by Assyria, and was absorbed into the Assyrian empire as a result.
Now, Assyria taxed their vassals heavily. There was economic peril in Judah, and idolatry flourished during Ahaz’s reign. Hezekiah took the throne, and he struggled to maintain Judah. He tried to bring about a religious reform, believing that religious unification among the Jews would lead to political unification. Unfortunately, this never happened because of the fear of what Assyria would do if Judah rejected their gods. Egypt came to Hezekiah, and tempted Israel to rebel against Assyria. Isaiah warned him against it, and Hezekiah heeded the prophet’s warning. Assyria crushed those who rebelled against them (side note: rebellion is literally just not paying taxes, so just imagine the IRS with swords and Donald Trump’s temper). Now, Egypt came to Judah a second time, and tempted Hezekiah again. And again, Isaiah warned Hezekiah not to join in. But did Hezekiah listen? Nope, despite what he saw happen to Egypt the first time, and Assyria sieged Jerusalem. While there is much debate as to how this siege ended (the Bible says Assyria left Jerusalem unsubdued, but Assyria’s documents claim they forced Hezekiah to terms), and I would love to get into John Bright’s theory on what happened, I want to focus on Isaiah’s thoughts during this time.
Israel had been taken by Assyria, and the remaining Israelites there were scattered throughout Samaria. Idolatry was high, and Isaiah was sent by God to preach about the impending destruction of Judah if they didn’t turn from their ways and repent. I don’t know about you, but watching the mistakes of two people like Ahaz and Hezekiah when they were warned against those decisions would be enough to make someone like Isaiah grow weary. There was war and oppression in Judah all throughout his life, and it could have so easily been avoided. This verse might be helpful in the midst of difficult times medically, or financially, but it becomes so much more powerful when we look at the context that it was written in. Isaiah, and all the prophets leading up to the exiles in Babylon and Assyria, are constant reminders of what hope in the midst of destruction looks like. Regardless of the exiles coming, they still preached God’s love and mercy for His people. I think these verses are important to remember and think about because of their context.
Even when life is difficult, God still offers hope and love. As someone who has struggled with pain, fatigue, and fear, I love the hope professed by these prophets in these difficult times for the Jews. It can easily be seen that God’s plan for salvation is already in motion. This world is cruel, and unforgiving. But this serves as a reminder that no matter the trials we face in our lifetimes, God will always be there to give us strength.
King of Pain by The Police
“It’s the same old thing as yesterday
I have stood here before inside the pouring rain
With the world turning circles running ’round my brain
I guess I’m always hoping that you’ll end this reign
But it’s my destiny to be the king of pain.”