Over the weekend something slightly odd happened to me. On Friday a friend sent an email containing a link she thought I might find interesting and then on Saturday someone I was chatting with told me about the same thing. The topic at hand? The Spoon Theory.
This is what I was sent, to summarise it briefly (though do feel free to go and read the whole thing) the author, Christine, has Lupus, a chronic, unseen health problem that can have a huge effect on daily life. She used a spoon based analogy to try and explain what it is like to live with the condition – essentially you start the day with a set number of spoons and everything you do uses up a spoon (she was acting this out with her friend and gave her a pile of spoons and then took them away as she talked through an imaginary day). Pretty small things can use up a spoon, and you have to be careful to ration your spoons carefully or you end up with only one spoon left and more than one thing that you still want or need to do that day. Spoons can sometimes be borrowed from the next day but that means that the next day starts with less spoons to start with.
This analogy really struck a chord with me. I definitely find it hard sometimes to explain to people how my tiredness and fatigue issues impact on me, and how my pain makes situations worse – I definitely think I’ll try using spoons to explain it. I have had suggestions that I give in too easily to my health problems, or that if I just tried harder I’d realise that I could do it – maybe this will help me explain that I’m not just a lazy, layabout, whinging quitter.
What I also found when I was reading it, and then later thinking about and discussing it again was that I hadn’t thought about some of the things that I do to use spoons up. I often get frustrated ‘cos I can’t see why my energy is running out but I’m starting to realise ways I’m using it up without even thinking about it (until reading that I never stopped and thought about the lengthy decision making process I go through working out what to wear pretty much each day based on what I predict I can achieve energy and pain wise). My health problems are different to Lupus, and so the way my spoons get used up does in places vary to hers, but the basic idea is definitely transferable.