For those not familiar with spoon theory, it was first coined by Christine Miserandino. The concept is sometimes used by people with chronic illnesses to explain what it’s like to live with their illness. Technically, I have a chronic illness (Hashimoto’s disease, where my immune system attacks my thyroid), but as long as I periodically have my thyroid levels checked to make sure that my medication is properly balancing the disease’s effects, I can’t really say that it significantly affects my daily life right now. Other people with chronic illnesses, however, aren’t so lucky. I’ve always thought that spoon theory is an interesting way of explaining how chronic illnesses can impact your life.
The concept is that everyone is given a certain number of spoons to start their day. Some people have a endless supply of spoons. Some people have a limited number. Every day you might start with a different number of spoons. When you run out of spoons, you also run out of energy.
Daily activities take spoons away. If you have an unlimited supply of spoons, this isn’t a big deal. But, planning life can be a bit difficult when you never know how many spoons you will have in a day or when you’ll run out of them. What might be fine at 9am when you still have lots of spoons isn’t necessarily possible at 2pm if you’ve already run out of spoons. The next day, you might not run out of spoons until 7pm.
How do you make sure you make it through the day without exhausting your spoon supply too early? Do you turn down any invitation that occurs after a certain time in the day? What if you’re invited to something at 1pm, a time when you would normally still have several spoons, but you have a really bad morning and also happen to have a shortage of spoons that day and they’re all gone by noon? Do you soldier on? Or cancel?
There was a time, before I was diagnosed, when I certainly counted my spoons and had to figure out how to spend them. Now I count my blessings instead that I was diagnosed and that it can be managed with medication. But, I made this spoon to remind me that not everyone can say the same.