I’d just seen a pin on Instagram and instantly knew that I had to have it. It was a re-creation of a cereal box prize that I remember from when I was little- a little plastic spoon with Simba from The Lion King on the handle. The nostalgia factor alone had me hooked.But then I looked at the description under the picture. It discussed something called “The Spoon Theory”; a term coined by Christine Miserandino that I will try to give a quick re-cap of.
Basically, for people with chronic illnesses or even mental illnesses, we start each day with a certain number of “spoons”. Spoons = energy bars. On some days, if they’re good days, we wake up with a lot. On bad days, not so much.So let’s say you and I both start the day with the same amount of spoons. We decide to go grab coffee. By the time we get our coffee, I will have less spoons than you, from being anxious. Going out for coffee doesn’t make you anxious though. You still have all your spoons.
The whole day goes like this. Situations will cost me spoons that won’t cost you spoons, because they’re not things you would (or should) be worrying about. But that’s the way with anxiety- it doesn’t make sense. So I’ll be pretty tired by the end of the day, and it might not be clear to you why. Anxiety is mentally and physically draining, but no one can SEE it happening, so it’s understandably hard for others to understand the toll it takes on your body. You might not get why I want to just chill at home for a while; you still have your full set of spoons!
The Spoon Theory also allows me to make a point that I used to find difficult to find the words for. When a “spoonie” uses their spoons for you… it’s a BIG deal. You must mean a LOT to them. They’re willingly going somewhere or doing something that will make their body feel pretty shitty for a while, and cost them a substantial amount of energy. But they’re doing it for YOU. This is something that anyone who is a friend or family or a significant other of a spoonie should try their best to understand, especially if/when they get frustrated with said spoonie.
So that’s basically the crux of that I felt compelled to share with everyone. And here’s the 90’s-riffic pin that started it all: