The Spoon Concept
Are you wondering what a “spoon theory” is?
The spoon concept has been a way to communicate and make people understand in layman terms how it feels like every day to do basic everyday tasks, coined by Christine Miserandino, who has lupus. She uses spoons as metaphors, used to illustrate the finite quantity of "spoons” aka energy that a person has available for daily activities in the setting of chronic sickness or disability. These spoons are unlimited for those without long-term health problems, but they are limited for those with low energy reserves, such as those who suffer from long-term illnesses.
While the spoon theory is meant for people to understand the struggles of people with chronic illnesses, also called “spoonies”, it does much more too.
The spoon theory helps individuals better comprehend how their decisions and activities affect their well-being by seeing their energy as a limited resource. Due to their increased self-awareness, they are better able to manage their energy, set priorities for their work, and avoid becoming overextended or experiencing "spoon depletion." By considering their energy as a resource that is limited, people may be able to better understand how their choices and actions influence their wellbeing. As a result of their improved self-awareness, individuals are better able to control their energy, establish priorities for their job, and stay away from being overworked.
The Spoon Theory also serves as a powerful advocacy tool. It makes it possible for people to share their experiences with others, such as medical professionals, family members, friends, and coworkers. They may successfully express their problems, difficulties, and requests for assistance or accommodations by employing the spoon theory metaphor. This encourages people to understand, empathize with you, and provide you the right kind of help.
It has gained widespread acceptance and usage as a notion within the community that enables people to effectively articulate their experiences.
It is most frequently used to describe the experience of having an invisible disability because those who do not exhibit any outward signs of their condition are often misunderstood by those who do not have firsthand experience with living with a chronic illness or disability as being lazy, inconsistent, or having poor time management skills.
According to Christine and her analogy, the spoons or tasks are limited and can finish with tasks as simple as waking up in the morning. How do you possibly use them effectively? Losing each spoon feels like a “loss”. She further adds, “I have learned to live life with an extra spoon in my pocket, in reserve. You need to always be prepared.”