A spoonie's take on the spoon theory

Updated: Jan 12

When I first learned about the spoon theory my perspective shifted on how I view both my chronic illness and limitations. The spoon theory was created by Christine Miserandino when her friend asked her to describe what it was like to be chronically ill.

Miserandino created a metaphor, using spoons to explain her limited energy. She described that doing a task like getting dressed may take her one "spoon" while going to work might take her four. Towards the end of the day, she may be only left with one spoon and will need to determine how she wants to prioritize her limited energy. Her idea quickly became popular among the chronically ill community, who now have adopted the term "spoonies."

We all have limited time on Earth; however, most unthinkingly live day to day, without considering the bigger picture. But for us Spoonies, we are well acquainted with life’s limitations, as every day we are challenged to assess our daily energy reserves, or “spoons,” and consciously prioritize tasks. While this may sound discouraging, Spoonies actually recognize that we exist for a reason. We direct our attention to accomplishing purposeful, yet achievable goals. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, scrolling carelessly through social media, or obsessing over superficial matters, Spoonies have grown to appreciate the simple moments, build each other up, and intentionally utilize social media to send “spoons'' of support and encouragement.

I now utilize my platforms and connections with Connecting 2 Heal, CHYP, and Stanford’s Pain Program to advocate for my spoonie community and teach others that we are all truly defined by the devotion of our heart, the focus of our thoughts, and the use of our energy.

While this path was not chosen, my involvement in the Spoonie community as a patient, volunteer, mentor, and friend has grown into a passion for advocacy that will guide my future path. Here’s to spoonies, who make a broken world beautiful!

To read more about the spoon theory go to

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