The Spoon Theory

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Re: The Spoon Theory

Postby Mr.A » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:43 pm

We have different kinds of spoons:

Spoon Type 1 - Energy
Spoon Type 2 - Pain increase
Spoon Type 3 - Increase in rate of pain increase

May be I should use knifes & forks instead :lol:
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Re: The Spoon Theory

Postby Quackers » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:32 pm

I cried and sobbed when I read this. It is just what I needed to explain things to myself!
I really need to learn how to balance those spoons. I will use this explanation to my friends and family. I will not be looking for sympathy but for understanding.
I have tried to just keep going like the forum member who disagreed and it just does not work. I end up more ill and that might be why she is so ill. Pushing herself too much. That used to be me but not any more. I need those spare spoons to try and enjoy life at some point and have precious time with my family.
God bless the author and I hope she is getting over her bad time. I only have FM and that is still a LOT to put up with on a day to day basis.
My home help allows me to keep a spoon on a Friday and Tuesday. My husband making meals when he comes back from work allows me to keep another spoon which can make the difference of whether I get out of bed the next day or not or even being able to persue my hobby of card-making now and again.
Thankyou to this author for sharing. My spoons will be getting shared with my family and friends and I will be proud to be able to give them one of them now and again.
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Re: The Spoon Theory

Postby lollyb » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:49 pm

Hi Gillshut , I have tried to access The Spoon and the alternative one that you posted but unfotunately neither are working comes up as ERROR. Hope you can help !! Pleasexx
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Re: The Spoon Theory

Postby denys » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:53 pm

Hi Lolly Gill doesnt come on very often now so try this ... Theory.pdf

let me know if it doesnt work and I'll copy and paste it for you :hugs:

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Re: The Spoon Theory

Postby lollyb » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:12 pm

Hi :wave: denys , thank you for replying , I am useless , I still can't get to read it ...and have tried to send you a private message only to fail there as well !! :banghead: :banghead:
Please give me a clue :crazy: I have tried and tried and tried .... and I would love to read it .....Please...
Thank you lollyb
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Re: The Spoon Theory

Postby denys » Sat Mar 12, 2011 3:24 pm

Hi Lolly here it is I've made sure the authors name is on it to so we dont take credit for someone else's work due to copyright. to pm just click the little pm icon next to my name, type youe message and send, it will stay in your outbox until the next time I log in then be sent to me :hugs: :hugs: :wave:

The Spoon Theory
by Christine Miserandino

My best friend and I were in the diner, talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time. We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing.
As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me with an awkward kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick. I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus. She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom. She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know?
I started to ramble on about pills, and aches and pains, but she kept pursuing, and didn't seem satisfied with my answers. I was a little surprised as being my roommate in college and friend for years; I thought she already knew the medical definition of Lupus. Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand. She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick.
As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think. I was trying to find the right words. How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity. I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand. If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I had to at least try.
At that moment, the spoon theory was born. I quickly grabbed every spoon on the table; hell I grabbed spoons off of the other tables. I looked at her in the eyes and said “Here you go, you have Lupus”. She looked at me slightly confused, as anyone would when they are being handed a bouquet of spoons. The cold metal spoons clanked in my hands, as I grouped them together and shoved them into her hands.
I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.
Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to convey this point. I wanted something for her to actually hold, for me to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If I was in control of taking away the spoons, then she would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control.
She grabbed the spoons with excitement. She didn’t understand what I was doing, but she is always up for a good time, so I guess she thought I was cracking a joke of some kind like I usually do when talking about touchy topics. Little did she know how serious I would become?
I asked her to count her spoons. She asked why, and I explained that when you are healthy you expect to have a never-ending supply of "spoons". But when you have to now plan your day, you need to know exactly how many “spoons” you are starting with. It doesn’t guarantee that you might not lose some along the way, but at least it helps to know where you are starting. She counted out 12 spoons. She laughed and said she wanted more. I said no, and I knew right away that this little game would work, when she looked disappointed, and we hadn't even started yet. I’ve wanted more "spoons" for years and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she? I also told her to always be conscious of how many she had, and not to drop them because she can never forget she has Lupus.
I asked her to list off the tasks of her day, including the most simple. As, she rattled off daily chores, or just fun things to do; I explained how each one would cost her a spoon. When she jumped right into getting ready for work as her first task of the morning, I cut her off and took away a spoon. I practically jumped down her throat. I said " No! You don’t just get up. You have to crack open your eyes, and then realize you are late. You didn’t sleep well the night before. You have to crawl out of bed, and then you have to make your self something to eat before you can do anything else, because if you don’t, you can't take your medicine, and if you don’t take your medicine you might as well give up all your spoons for today and tomorrow too." I quickly took away a spoon and she realized she hasn’t even gotten dressed yet. Showering cost her spoon, just for washing her hair and shaving her legs. Reaching high and low that early in the morning could actually cost more than one spoon, but I figured I would give her a break; I didn’t want to scare her right away. Getting dressed was worth another spoon. I stopped her and broke down every task to show her how every little detail needs to be thought about. You cannot simply just throw clothes on when you are sick. I explained that I have to see what clothes I can physically put on, if my hands hurt that day buttons are out of the question. If I have bruises that day, I need to wear long sleeves, and if I have a fever I need a sweater to stay warm and so on. If my hair is falling out I need to spend more time to look presentable, and then you need to factor in another 5 minutes for feeling badly that it took you 2 hours to do all this.
I think she was starting to understand when she theoretically didn’t even get to work, and she was left with 6 spoons. I then explained to her that she needed to choose the rest of her day wisely, since when your “spoons” are gone, they are gone. Sometimes you can borrow against tomorrow’s "spoons", but just think how hard tomorrow will be with less "spoons". I also needed to explain that a person who is sick always lives with the looming thought that tomorrow may be the day that a cold comes, or an infection, or any number of things that could be very dangerous. So you do not want to run low on "spoons", because you never know when you truly will need them. I didn’t want to depress her, but I needed to be realistic, and unfortunately being prepared for the worst is part of a real day for me.
We went through the rest of the day, and she slowly learned that skipping lunch would cost her a spoon, as well as standing on a train, or even typing at her computer too long. She was forced to make choices and think about things differently. Hypothetically, she had to choose not to run errands, so that she could eat dinner that night.
When we got to the end of her pretend day, she said she was hungry. I summarized that she had to eat dinner but she only had one spoon left. If she cooked, she wouldn’t have enough energy to clean the pots. If she went out for dinner, she might be too tired to drive home safely. Then I also explained, that I didn’t even bother to add into this game, that she was so nauseous, that cooking was probably out of the question anyway. So she decided to make soup, it was easy. I then said it is only 7pm, you have the rest of the night but maybe end up with one spoon, so you can do something fun, or clean your apartment, or do chores, but you can’t do it all.
I rarely see her emotional, so when I saw her upset I knew maybe I was getting through to her. I didn’t want my friend to be upset, but at the same time I was happy to think finally maybe someone understood me a little bit. She had tears in her eyes and asked quietly “Christine, How do you do it? Do you really do this everyday?” I explained that some days were worse then others; some days I have more spoons then most. But I can never make it go away and I can’t forget about it, I always have to think about it. I handed her a spoon I had been holding in reserve. I said simply, “I have learned to live life with an extra spoon in my pocket, in reserve. You need to always be prepared”
Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day. I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to. I wanted her to feel that frustration. I wanted her to understand, that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one. I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day's plans before I can attack any one given thing. When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war. It is in that lifestyle, the difference between being sick and healthy. It is the beautiful ability to not think and just do. I miss that freedom. I miss never having to count "spoons".
After we were emotional and talked about this for a little while longer, I sensed she was sad. Maybe she finally understood. Maybe she realized that she never could truly and honestly say she understands. But at least now she might not complain so much when I can't go out for dinner some nights, or when I never seem to make it to her house and she always has to drive to mine. I gave her a hug when we walked out of the diner. I had the one spoon in my hand and I said “Don’t worry. I see this as a blessing. I have been forced to think about everything I do. Do you know how many spoons people waste everyday? I don’t have room for wasted time, or wasted “spoons” and I chose to spend this time with you.”
Ever since this night, I have used the spoon theory to explain my life to many people. In fact, my family and friends refer to spoons all the time. It has been a code word for what I can and cannot do. Once people understand the spoon theory they seem to understand me better, but I also think they live their life a little differently too. I think it isn’t just good for understanding Lupus, but anyone dealing with any disability or illness. Hopefully, they don’t take so much for granted or their life in general. I give a piece of myself, in every sense of the word when I do anything. It has become an inside joke. I have become famous for saying to people jokingly that they should feel special when I spend time with them, because they have one of my "spoons".

© 2003 by Christine Miserandino
Please note that this story is copyrighted and should not be reprinted in any form without permission from the author. Feel free link to “The Spoon Theory” at - Thank you!

As a Public Moderator of this forum my opinions/views expressed are personal and are no more valid than those of other members and not necessarily those of UKFibromyalgia.
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Re: The Spoon Theory

Postby budda » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:32 pm

Ah forgot all the words that was in that, lovely but sad, thanks for that denys. :hugs:
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Re: The Spoon Theory

Postby Schnoodle » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:56 pm

thanks for this xx
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Postby paul-gd » Fri May 06, 2011 5:20 pm

Julie C wrote:I What caused this FM? Why me? Why not me?!!

Goodnight all :?

Just what I was looking for. 'Why NOT me'? I was looking for a 'coming to terms with' story, rather than a 'cure' story, and you seem to have 'come to terms with' in some kind of way. Which is what I'm hoping for.

Thanks - Paul.
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Re: The Spoon Theory

Postby Lindsays82 » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:30 pm

i read this a few days ago and have explained the spoon theory to a few friends........not for sympathy but for even the slightest bit of understanding, my bestest bud now asks me how many spoons i have today? we talk constantly pretty much everyday etc!

going to show it to some work colleagues too - see what they think.

Great read :D :D

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Re: The Spoon Theory

Postby Jan42 » Fri Sep 16, 2011 4:54 pm

I think this is a wonderful descriptive. Maybe I should explain it to my gp like this the next time I see her, as she still doesn't seem to get it. After 2yrs of seeing her while I wait for treatment and she still asks 'so, what is it like when you have a bad day?'
It leaves me so angry & frustrated...if my gp doesn't understand how disabilitated it can leave me, what chance to I stand with my tribunal for DLA?
Thank you so much for sharing this 'spoons theory'
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :wine: :wine: :wine: :D :D :D :D

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Re: The Spoon Theory

Postby ladygriff58 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:10 pm

hi all jus read the spoon theory an thought it was brill also read a post of julies trying 2 explain 2 family ive ad fibro fo 6yrs and i dont think my mum an sister still dont understand but mayb im 2 blame cos sometimes its easier 2 say ur feelin ok knowing that u feel dreadfull my husband is very understandable now he used 2 say 2 me in the morning ru getting up 2day :?:
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Re: The Spoon Theory

Postby Tricia_TD » Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:09 pm

I put a spoon on my Twitter avatar last year when I heard about the Spoon theory. This was for my depression, anxiety and endometriosis, all invisible illnesses, and now I can add fibro to the list. :yikes:

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Re: The Spoon Theory

Postby bamdaph » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:12 pm

When I was first diagnosed, the Spoon Theory saved my brain from exploding. I read all kinds of information and although I knew how I felt, i couldn't see a way of handling my life now. But having it explained really broke it down for me and made me understand that there will be good days, bad days and even good and bad hours having this illness, but I now feel more prepared to handle it.
it has also helped me to explain things to my friends and family and we often speak about the amount of spoons i have in any particular day.
Sal 'Bamdaph'
Wife - Mother - Depressive - Fibromyalgic - Cross Stitch lover - Slave to two cats - Cow collector.
"Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one." E.B White
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Re: The Spoon Theory

Postby carol odonnell » Fri May 04, 2012 3:45 pm

I cant get the "spoon" theory to download was wanting to read it too as sounds like its very helpful going by what you all been saying xx
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