Have you heard of the spoon theory? The spoon theory was written by Christine Miserandino (www.butyoudontlooksick.com) It started with a conversation she had with a friend about being chronically ill. It applies to so many different types of people and has become common verbiage as us “spoonies” go through life. The conversation was how “normal” people get an endless number of spoons or an abundance of them each day. As a spoonie, we are only given a few.
So each day, each person has their set number of spoons. Each event in life requires spoons. Getting out of bed, walking to the bathroom, going to the bathroom, washing hands, brushing teeth, putting on deodorant, putting on makeup and so on. Imagine, this is only the first 5 minutes of a day and some spoonies may already have used up their supply.
A spoonie is given a small number of spoons to spend throughout the day. Every event is thoroughly thought through on how and where to use spoons. While getting my child to put his shoes on may use up one spoon for a “normal” person, it takes 3 for me. While buttoning a shirt may not even take a spoon from you, a person with arthritis may use 4.
Each person gets a different amount, uses a different amount, and requires a different amount for each task. The whole point of the spoon theory is that people who are chronically sick have fewer spoons, use them more quickly and run out fast! Some days I feel like I’ve used my spoons by 10:00am and still have a long day ahead of me. On those days I feel like I steal spoons from my next day leaving myself more depleted than the day before. This borrowing makes me so tired, worn down and triggers a migraine.
The only way I can recoup spoons for my next day is using less spoons in a day and resting. This is often seen as lazy and that drives me crazy. My resting is saving spoons one day and allowing more to be used the next. And let’s be honest, I don’t get a chance to rest that often therefore I’m not saving much. I’m not lazy, I’m building my supply.
So how do I deal with having a handful of spoons in a world that requires thousands? I rest, I pace myself, I prepare, and I plan. My husband used to get up for work and leave. Now I have asked him to get the kids out of bed and start them on breakfast. This takes him 5 minutes of his day before he heads out the door but saves me a few precious spoons. If I am able to sit and drink a cup of coffee without bouncing back and forth from the refrigerator a few times, I save spoons I need for the dreaded battle of getting dressed and out of the house with two small children.
At the end of the day, I ask him to help with bath time. Bath time uses way more spoons than I have in the evenings. I am low or out of spoons, plus a loud bathroom, cranky kids, and no spoons to use seems near impossible. Drying off, lotion, brush teeth, potty, read books, hugs and kisses (I always have spoons for those) and more. The last hour before my children’s bedtime is by far the toughest time of my day depleting any supply of spoons I have rationed for my day!
I plan where to use my spoons all day. I prep food so I don’t use extra spoons at meal time. I fill up waters in our refrigerator so my children can help themselves when they need it. I do small things each day to help conserve spoons and help for the next day. It’s all about pacing myself and preparing for how I’m going to use each spoon. It sounds crazy, but that’s the life of a spoonie.
Where do you use your most spoons? How do you try to conserve or prepare?