Friday, December 16, 2011

The Spoon Theory

When I was in the hospital for my headache, the recreational therapist lead a class where she presented us with The Spoon Theory. Click on the link to read for yourself. Christine Miserandino developed the spoon theory when a close friend asked her what it is really like to live with her chronic illness. She gathered up spoons and gave them to her friend and told her friend, "you have lupus". She went on to say that a healthy person has an endless supply of spoons. But when you are sick, you need to know how many spoons you have because you have to choose to use them carefully. She asked her friend to list tasks for the day. For each thing (anything that takes extra energy), Christine took a spoon from her friend, showing that she was being robbed of something and running out of 'spoons'. By the time the friend theoretically got to work in her pretend day, she had far less spoons to use during her day. By the time she got home on her pretend day, she had 1 left. One spoon left to be able to make dinner and clean up.

I think this article is a great demonstration to help others without a chronic illness understand what it's like for us. For me, sometimes I wake up with 5 spoons because I already woke up with a bad headache. And I don't have much to work with that day. Other days, I might have many more spoons to work with that day. Not only can activities use spoons (shopping, cooking, cleaning, working), but so can talking to people who are emotionally draining or dealing with a stressful situation. On the other hand, there are things that can give me back spoons. Such as when medication works to make me feel better or activities that give me energy or make me feel better (going to the dog park or swimming).

This article was also good for me because it helped me realize the importance of pacing so that I don't expend all of my 'spoons' at once. I used to just go, go, go no matter what level was pain was at, and I'm realizing that I need to be more intentional and careful about pacing myself for the sake of my health, as it will be better for my pain level. Hopefully I can figure that out!

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