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As a person with Multiple Sclerosis I have often found myself in situations where it is difficult explaining just how I feel and what it can be like to have this illness. There have been many analogies used to describe this and other chronic illnesses, in particular the fatigue part. Some days I feel it is like trying to move my limbs through deep wet cement. But my absolute favourite would have to be defining myself as a Spoonie, based on the Spoon Theory.
Where does the term Spoonie come from?
‘The Spoon Theory’ written by Christine Miserandino began as Christine’s way to explain her disease of Lupus to a friend. It uses spoons to describe the energy needed to do certain tasks during everyday life. Each activity uses a certain number of spoons. But unlike healthy ordinary people, a chronically ill person has a limited number of spoons available to them depending on their disease progression, fatigue levels, the weather and overall general health at the time.
People with a chronic illness (such as MS, Lupus, and Fibromyalgia just to name a few) have to carefully plan out their day’s activities based on the number of spoons they have for that day. Once those spoons are used up, they are either borrowing from the next day’s supply (which can lead to a even worse day) or simply cannot do any more for the rest of that day. And so started the trend of people with chronic illnesses explaining how tough life can be for them using this analogy. Which has also resulted in many of them classifying themselves as Spoonies as Social Media took off. I’ve seen posts by many who get tattoos or collect spoon paraphernalia to help make others aware of their health.
Using the Spoon theory to explain how I am feeling on any day is a lot easier than any other way I’ve tried in my 12 years with MS. It allows my friends to know that even though I may keenly want to meet up with them, but that my body used up all the day’s energy on simply having a shower and washing my hair. They know on a low spoon today to not expect too much from me, as even mental processing is slower on those days. And it’s at those times that my dear friends keep a close eye on me to see I’m not pushing myself through it all and over doing it, as they know I’ll feel even worse come the next day!
So I’m proud to call myself a Spoonie! My disease doesn’t define me, but being a Spoonie allows me to share with others a little bit of what my life can be like.
Come follow my Pinterest board about Spoonies.
Leave a comment about your Spoonie experiences.