Before I got diagnosed with Crohn’s I had never heard of the Spoon theory or being a Spoonie. I suppose you don’t get it until you get it, you start doing a bit of digging and find out some terminologies you haven’t heard of before, well that’s what I did anyway.
What is the Spoon Theory?
“The Spoon Theory”, is a personal story by Christine Miserandino, is popular among many people dealing with chronic illness. It describes perfectly this idea of limited energy, using “spoons” as a unit of energy.
Miserandino has lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease which causes an immune system to attack the body’s healthy cells. One day, Miserandino says her friend wanted to understand better the realities of living with a chronic illness. She explained that each activity has certain number of spoons/energy and you have a certain amount a day to use.
I saw this infographic the other day which explained it beautifully
From my experience living with a Chronic illness the amount of Spoons you have in a day can vary wildy and you can’t always plan for it either. Some days I can wake up and feel like I can get loads done and other days through no particular reason I feel like I don’t even have the energy to get dressed and brush my hair.
This was especially true for me before I got onto the right medication and my symptoms weren’t stable, a simple task of just emptying the dishwasher and I would feel exhausted. I had many a crying meltdown because I couldn’t complete the most mundane tasks. I felt so weak and pathetic and a failure/fraud.
I found it really hard to explain my frustration and also working full time had an impact on the amount of spoons I had to use.
One year my physical exhaustion was so bad I could barely walk at times, like my body had had enough and was telling me to slow down.
It is no wonder those of us who are chronically sick often cancel plans, you feel alright during the day and before you know it you’ve used up your spoon allocation and you are too tired to meet up with your friends.
Thankfully I’m at a point where I feel like I have alot more spoons in my hand than I used to in previous years but still have to be wary of overdoing things and listening to my body when I start to feel fatigued.
We all have to use our spoons wisely, sick or not – make the most of what you can do and try not to feel to guilty when you have to take it easy. So whether you ran a marathon today or folded some laundry or simply just got out of bed (or you didn’t) remember that:
“Achievement is not always success, while reputed failure often is. It is honest endeavor, persistent effort to do the best possible under any and all circumstances ” – Orison Swett Marden