People on my Facebook profile hear me talk about spoons an awful lot, and some get a little puzzled.
Now, for most readers who are disabled or living with chronic illnesses, I’m preaching to the choir here, but for those who wonder what I’m talking about, or haven’t heard of this at all before, let me explain…
The Spoon Theory is credited to Christine Miserandino who happened to be in a cafe sat next to a pot of spoons as she tried to explain how sick people manage with low energy.
The idea is that you start the day with a fixed number of units of energy (spoons). A healthy person will have a seemingly unlimited number of spoons because I can honestly say I did not get the exhaustion you get with ME or other chronic illnesses when I was healthy. I’ve worked a 12hr night shift, driven 120 miles, had a day of fun and socialising and driven 120 miles home, and still not even come close to how it feels now. I thought that when my Grandfather was dying, and I sat by his bedside for 5 days straight, barely sleeping for more than an hour or 2 at a time, I was the most exhausted a person could be. Now I can sleep for 16 hours, and 12 hours later be so tired I sleep for 16 hours more, and it’s not just that lazy sleeping where you’re in bed so you just doze, it’s can’t keep your eyes open tiredness and a body that feels like it spent last night dancing in heels, doing shots, possibly the odd slutdrop, and then falling over onto cobblestones.
So, say someone like me only has 12 spoons, that means making careful choices how we use them, because they very quickly run out, and if they do, you have to think very carefully about borrowing from tomorrow, as it may mean a day in bed without even the energy to prepare a meal. In my case, lifting my chair in and out of the car takes an awful lot of spoons, so I can only go out 1/2 times a week max, unless I have someone to drive me or meet me at home to lift the chair into the car for me.
I first came across the Spoon Theory when I met a friend who has EDS, I’m now slightly jealous of her bangle that is a silver spoon so she “always has a spare”.
Those of us who use the theory call ourselves ‘Spoonies’ – we have no affiliation to the pub chain that serves cheap alcohol and is known to attract people who are not otherwise engaged at 10am on Monday mornings, slightly ironic since the media tends to brand us all scrounging layabouts. I am unsure of the collective noun, suggesting a chain of spoonies might be taking the joke too far though…