Do You Know What A Spoonie Is?

by Michelle Williams

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Spoon Theory is a great way to explain your lack of energy

It can be hard to explain to people that you lack energy because of chronic illness or post op recovery, because unless they too have been through the same thing, it is impossible to understand.

A great way to explain is via the Spoon Theory. Chances are you will have heard people in forums etc. calling themselves a ‘Spoonie’ but perhaps not known what they were on about.

Wikipedia states that:

The spoon theory is a disability metaphor used to explain the reduced amount of energy available for activities of daily living and productive tasks that may result from disability or chronic illness. Spoons are a tangible unit of measurement used to track how much energy a person has throughout a given day.

In Layman’s terms, for example, when you get up you might decide you have 3 spoons of energy. You then have to make those 3 spoons last for the whole day. You could do the hoovering this morning – but that would take 2 spoons of energy and only leave you 1 spoon for the rest of the day, until bedtime. From that 1 remaining spoon you have to manage all of your necessary activities, like eating, going upstairs to use the loo etc. and it’s simply not enough.

Since adopting this method of explanation to help make ‘normal’ friends and family understand my energy levels, I have found that they are far more sympathetic.

About the author

My name is Michelle; I live in Kent with my husband and son. I have a permanent ileostomy as a result of Ulcerative Colitis. You can follow me on twitter.

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