Gather My Fellow Spoonies
In the year 2003 in a moment unexpected, Christine Miserandino coined the phrase “Spoonie”. Just to clarify this has nothing to being a little spoon, getting all the best snuggles. Rather it has to do with using spoons as a unit of energy when explaining the day to day life.
What is a spoonie? How does it relate to psoriasis?
A spoonie refers to someone who lives with chronic illness. More than most things, we long to be understood, not because we want your sympathy. Simply because it is really hard when people keep expecting things from us that we cannot always do. Understanding why day to day life is so much more challenging for us might help you understand.
Honestly, it took me a while to catch on to this idea, and once I had it, it was something I could not un-see. I have since used this numerous times to explain my lack of energy to people and basically just what it takes for us to get through our day-to-day.
What is the Spoon Theory?
People who do not have a chronic illness and those that are much younger mostly start the day with abundant energy. Although this is something that they often unknowingly take for granted. However, for those of us who live with chronic illness, we start every day with a limited amount of energy.
In this theory, our energy is translated into spoons. We need to be very aware and choose consciously what we spend our energy on or else before you know it, the spoons will all be gone. One spoon for showering and getting ready, one for tidying your house and putting the laundry in. Then maybe one for standing for a long time while you commute to work.
Possibly the most important part of this theory, when you have spent all your spoon, you cannot get more till the next day. Once you have rested and recharged.
Rationing your spoons
If you start your day with 12 or 14 spoons, daily tasks will often absorb them without even blinking an eye. Some tasks require more than just one spoon for completion. You might find yourself at lunch feeling really fatigued and only three or four spoons remaining.
So you may need to exchange one or two options to make sure you can make it to the end of the day. This can often come in the form of canceling dinner plans. You may need to trade off cooking dinner for cleaning your apartment and opting for a healthier takeaway.
There is no room for wasted spoons
When you have limited energy, you need to really choose carefully. What would you like to spend your spoons or energy on? Starting to become conscious about this was a big learning curve for me. Learning that I can’t go to that work event, because I actually need to go home and make dinner and clean my home is okay. I learned to be okay that I can't and won’t be able to do both.
Mental things can also really eat up the spoons, as mental and emotional events can leave us feeling deeply drained. So be careful of over-committing yourself and creating a very stressful environment.
Always keep a spare spoon
Christine Miserandino wisely tells us that you should always have one spare spoon, as you never know when you will need it. The thing is that when you are living with a chronic illness, you never know what tomorrow is going to bring. You may need an extra spoon tomorrow, so try not to use them all, all of the time.
This can be a really helpful way to explain how we experience the normal day to day things. If nothing else maybe the next time you cancel a dinner date, they will understand that you just have not got enough spoons.
Have you had to explain the spoon theory to non-spoonies? Are you still learning and grasping the concept about using your spoons? It's not easy.
Where on your body does psoriasis bother you the most?