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The Spoon Theory

Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,676 Disability Gamechanger
If you go online, you often hear people talking about the Spoon Theory, people with chronic illnesses also sometimes call themselves Spoonies, but what does it mean?

The Spoon Theory was written by Christine Miserandino and is an analogy of what it is like to live with sickness or disability.

It uses spoons as a metaphor for energy levels and is a way of explaining how everyday activities use up units of your energy and so people with chronic illnesses have to plan their days via how many spoons they have available.

You can read The Spoon Theory on the 'But you don't look sick' blog here

Tell us about your experiences of spoons and how your impairment changes or doesn't change the way you plan acitivites and every day life.
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  • debbiedo49
    debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,904 Disability Gamechanger
    For me my spoons are used up going outside and going to my part time job. It starts with preparing for going out, the journey to and from the excursion, the actual being out and being able to participate, and then it’s out of spoons time. I have only just heard of spoons recently but it makes a lot of sense. Sometimes I wish I could carry a card saying I am out of spoons so people would know why I’m dragging myself home or ready to keel over.
  • Markmywords
    Markmywords Member Posts: 419 Pioneering
    While I can relate to, and agree with, having a finite amount of energy, why choose spoons?

    I have to list the domestic jobs that need doing and prioritise them. There are tasks though, such as the garden, that no amount of planning will make possible. For these I have to pay a tradesman.
  • Chanilm
    Chanilm Member Posts: 2 Listener
    I think the person that came up with it chose spoons because they had them to hand at the time? Its been a while since I read about it but I still think its a wonderful way to explain it to people and will say "I'm out of spoons" or "I'm running low on spoons" with people who have read about it as a quick way to explain what is going on.
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    [Deleted User] Posts: 1,748 Listener
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  • whistles
    whistles Member Posts: 1,583 Disability Gamechanger
    Makes me think of dessert sorry.
    I just use simple language. 
    People understand the word tired, why not make life easy for the person listening. 

    I needed a break from here, I wrote that. 
    Do not follow me, I don't know where I am going.
  • debbiedo49
    debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,904 Disability Gamechanger
    I like the spoons it’s just a symbol same as purple butterfly for fibro and chronic pain. You need to read up on it to get it. But yes it’s fairly new and I tend to use how many tasks I can do a day or how many steps literal or physical I can do a day. I was thinking of traffic lights today for measuring the pain I’m in red I am in too much pain to do anything, amber I am in some pain and may manage to do something and green I am managing my pain and able to do something 
  • thespiceman
    thespiceman Member Posts: 6,389 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello every body confusing is this just me.  An old fashioned gentleman from a time when you were ill. Got on with life and never really made a fuss.  How does having kitchen utensils say to your self being ill or not well.

    I do not understand this at all.  Spoons sounds in my day means something else. Spooning well that is also something else.

    Not for a Sunday please.  Understand it is the Sabbath. Sacred days for some.

    I have disability from birth.  Mental illness as well.  My much documentary problems on the forum, I wish to share. Love every body who I meet and greet on this forum.

    All I ever want is for all of us to support each other. Care and concern.  Helping hand.

    All of us have responsibilities do we not if we are not well.  Mental or physical need to reach out and touch.  Offer a helping hand.  Be a good Samaritan to my fellows.

    Why did and does everything need analysing and scrutiny.  Need a label to express who and how you are.

    Understand this all of us surely hate being ill.  Hard to cope and struggle with these demons and problems that plague us all.

    Having acceptance and having to deal with pressures from a society outside of our community is a constant battle.

    Some times are we our own worst enemy and give off a persona to others that doubt them and others who see us.

    Having an addiction history you are constantly being victimised and in your mind feel not wanted.  Look at the end of the day.  Understand you self comes first. Another thing alcoholism teaches you. Looking at life different and evaluating what life you have used up.

    Understand some people need to hang on to something to support themselves and make themselves aware of their fragile state of mind.

    Understand all that, I am one.  Yet am always trying to change and adapt my circumstances. Who wants to live in a rut and not climb out. Please not me.  Although I will and help those who wish to move on and  to help themselves.

    On my table is an empty glass constant reminders of alcoholism.

    So do we move on and stay where we all are with using labels.  Do we join together and become one in unison.

    In becoming a community. To help and support and to give each other the merits and respect to move on.
    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
  • Waylay
    Waylay Member Posts: 971 Pioneering
    I have chronic back pain, and if I do too much, I get severe back spasms. I never know when my back will just go, "Nope! BACK SPASM!", which means that for the rest of the day, and possibly a few days afterward, I'll be stuck in the house, my room, or even my bed. I've been practicing pacing on and off (when my mental health lets me).

    Depending on how my back is doing when I wake up, what I have to do later or the next day, etc., I decide how many tasks I think I can do that day (usually between 0 and 4). Tasks are things like: 1 load of laundry, going to the shop down the street (usually 2-3 tasks), washing 4 dishes, catching a bus to an appointment  and getting home again (usually 4 tasks). Obviously if my back gets worse, I reassess. Instead of explaining about tasks, which is kinda complicated, I just tell people that I'm out of spoons, or only have enough spoons left to hang up this laundry, or whatever. People get that. It's useful.

  • debbiedo49
    debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,904 Disability Gamechanger
    We are all individuals and use whatever tools we have that work best for us as individuals. However, would be good to have a universal system for showing chronic pain which covers many conditions e g traffic lights but something unique not mistaken for something else 
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  • whistles
    whistles Member Posts: 1,583 Disability Gamechanger
    If you go to A&E they will ask you what your pain level is, on a scale of 1-10. That's universal. 

    It's up to the individual but life is complicated enough. Why not just say you can't do something, why hide it behind a kitchen utensil.
    Not a great day sums me up, those who know me know what I mean. 

    We need to communicate.
    Do not follow me, I don't know where I am going.
  • debbiedo49
    debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,904 Disability Gamechanger
    Yeah @whistles we do need to communicate. Unfortunately for people like me who say I am fine/ok rather than go into detail its not so easy. For invisible illness its even harder.
  • whistles
    whistles Member Posts: 1,583 Disability Gamechanger
    I have invisible issues and I just say, not a great day. I don't do detail.
    If anything I found doing the pip encouraged me to not just day i am fine. I scored 0 for communication because I don't shut up.  :)
    Do not follow me, I don't know where I am going.
  • debbiedo49
    debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,904 Disability Gamechanger
    Yeah I’m thinking of keeping a diary of how my conditions affect me for pip so that I can describe day to day life properly. I’m normally very good at speaking just not for myself. Also I come across as good at speaking on the outside which is masking me feeling really bad on the inside
  • smiler43
    smiler43 Member Posts: 32 Courageous
    Hi I  disabled and have to think about most things i do 
    I am 43 but following a brain tumour two years ago my balance is not very good I wall with s four wheel walker now.  Because of the tumour it has effected my balance and coordinate of I have to do up buttons is quite hard for me and anything that requires strength or balance. Before the ops i didn't need to think about the about these things but i do have to now . Dancing is quite difficult for me although I can do it it.requires energy and strength now . Even walking up steps i can manage a few I do have a wheelchair of needed even to walk is tiring for me x


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