spoon theory - your experiences

All your fibromyalgia experiences, questions and answers.

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spoon theory - your experiences

Postby dazzleship » Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:33 pm

hi all, hope you are having a good sunday and are as well as can be. :hugs:

right. I've had a quick search on here and I know there are threads where the spoon theory has been mentioned and been recommended. I have read this theory myself and although I 'get' it, I'm not sure whether it's really the right thing for me to use to explain my fibro to others.

so really that's what this post is all about. I want to know what your thoughts are about it and more importantly, for any of you who have used it to explain to family/friends/colleagues, how did it go down? was it well received, were there any negative reactions to it? did some people just not understand it?

the reason I'm asking is I'm currently wondering about the best way to explain things and I'm milling over a few ideas, this being just one of them, but I'm just not totally convinced that it's 'right'.

:sheep:
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Re: spoon theory - your experiences

Postby Jeany » Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:08 pm

I myself describe it as like a bank account. I explain that I only have a tiny bit of energy & when it's gone it's gone, so I have to save up for special things I want....spending time with family etc for example, which is just like saving your pennies for a special treat, and in the same way once you have used it all that's it ...gone, and you have to start saving up again, but in our case it's energy we have to conserve
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Re: spoon theory - your experiences

Postby migrembe » Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:59 pm

I don't explain it to most people but i have used the spoon theory and it has helped - kinda!

Because unlike other illnesses we cannot take a pill and get better and i have had recognizable symptoms for 11 years been diagnosed about 4.

On a really bad day it can take me 6 spoons to get to the bathroom and back to bed and it's not that far.

I once got a friend to go through his morning while i counted the spoons and he was done even before he got dressed. People just don't understand it.

There is also the - 'well if you are tired go have a nap' - yep i can do that but i will still be tired.

Beverley x
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Re: spoon theory - your experiences

Postby TNK* » Sun Nov 23, 2014 10:13 pm

TBH I think the spoon theory is a bit of patronising c**p ...its like trying to explain a theory to 2 years olds, but who used spoons as a currency or a unit of measure??
someone above has mentioned a bank account which makes a bit more sense, or even like a fuel guage in a car where you can say it takes 2 bars to do such a thing and 1 to do another, or "im feeling half full today" etc?

Spoons, schmoons
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Re: spoon theory - your experiences

Postby carolad » Sun Nov 23, 2014 10:52 pm

TNK* wrote:TBH I think the spoon theory is a bit of patronising c**p ...its like trying to explain a theory to 2 years olds, but who used spoons as a currency or a unit of measure??
someone above has mentioned a bank account which makes a bit more sense, or even like a fuel guage in a car where you can say it takes 2 bars to do such a thing and 1 to do another, or "im feeling half full today" etc?

Spoons, schmoons


That made me laugh TNK! And yes, I agree with you, it seems a bit bizarre to me. Why spoons? Why not knives or forks...or cups??? :roll: All I would ever say by means of explanation is that I get tired very easily and need a lot of rest. I'd be too embarrassed to start talking about spoons :oops:
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Re: spoon theory - your experiences

Postby TNK* » Sun Nov 23, 2014 10:55 pm

Exactly...we get enough funny looks trying to explain about FM, I dont want folk looking time even more weird if i started talking about spoons
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Re: spoon theory - your experiences

Postby Ali170 » Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:35 pm

Hi love,
I also think it's a bit too much of a bother to explain the spoon theory, most people would've fell asleep before I'd finished !

When someone asks FM"what's that?" I tell them I'm in constant pain all over, the slightest knock really hurts me, I can't sleep, I'm always exhausted and I feel weak and zombiefied ! It stops them in their tracks, then they say "sounds terrible " and I say, yes-it is !

Tell it like it is then move on. I've got great friends who understand and I try to carry on as normal as I can (retired now so at least haven't got the stress of work. ) I don't think my Son really understands but I don't mind as I don't think he likes the thought of me suffering and he'll always help if I need any.

I don't think you can explain any illness to someone if they haven't experienced it themselves, like any misfortune in life you can only hope for a little understanding and tolerance.

Goodnight guys hope you manage to get some sleep and tomorrow is another day xxx
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Re: spoon theory - your experiences

Postby carolad » Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:05 am

Ali170 wrote:


I don't think you can explain any illness to someone if they haven't experienced it themselves, like any misfortune in life you can only hope for a little understanding and tolerance.




I think this is very true. No-one can really understand what life is like for other people. That's why I don't waste my energy trying to explain my health issues to people. I know they have their own problems to deal with and they aren't interested in mine :roll:
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Re: spoon theory - your experiences

Postby migrembe » Mon Nov 24, 2014 9:37 am

I like the spoon theory although i wouldn't explain my condition like that to everyone, but to my friend it helped him understand. As for fuel and a car i wouldn't know as i don't drive :lol:

I normally tell people i have chronic pain and chronic fatigue, never mention the word Fibromyalgia at all as most of them just glaze over and look stupefied at you anyway.

And besides some people need it explaining like a 2 year old so they get it.

Beverley x
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Re: spoon theory - your experiences

Postby Gilly52 » Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:38 pm

Yes, explaining your health problems to others can be quite a chore, and at the end of the day some of them are not really interested.

The word fibromyalgia foxes most people, I generally tell people I have fibro-sitis (what it used to be known as), generally they will have heard this word before, and say "ooh that must be so painful" , to which I just reply "yes it is"....and leave it at that :roll:
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Re: spoon theory - your experiences

Postby Gilly52 » Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:38 pm

Yes, explaining your health problems to others can be quite a chore, and at the end of the day some of them are not really interested.

The word fibromyalgia foxes most people, I generally tell people I have fibro-sitis (what it used to be known as), generally they will have heard this word before, and say "ooh that must be so painful" , to which I just reply "yes it is"....and leave it at that :roll:
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Re: spoon theory - your experiences

Postby FluppyPuffy » Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:32 pm

I don't use the Spoon Theory as a way of explaining how a day can be for me. Who I'm speaking to depends on which analogy I use. Generally I'll use a battery~based description, comparing how someone without FM et al will recharge when resting/sleeping to what happens for me, and how that power/energy can be used during the day when carrying out the same sort of tasks, activities etc.

At other times I've likened it to having one of the evil Gremlins from the film living inside me. When they're in the cinema watching Snow White fits in with how things can be when relatively quiet, but then it doesn't take long for things to start going :pull-hair: :pull-hair: :pull-hair: :pull-hair: :too-upset: :too-upset: :too-upset: Currently it's known as Kevin, one of the purple Chomper Minions from Despicable Me 2, even down to having a plushy purple chomper Kevin next to my side of the bed :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy:

I've only come across 1 person who was familiar with the Fibro~sitis name, but they came out with a similar response to what Gilly has described. As I have the CFS card in my collection, I find that going in with that as my opening description, followed by the bit about the hurtys people do seem to be more understanding. Altho {in my case} CFS is more applicable than ME, with the 2 being lumped together, and there seeming to be more awareness of CFS/ME, it can make things a little easier to put across.
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Re: spoon theory - your experiences

Postby Zia2014 » Wed Nov 26, 2014 12:53 pm

I got my partner to read it when Fibro was first mentioned, and although I usually forget it he will occasionally say something about me not having any spoons left...so it did go in ;-)

To others, like to my hygienist this morning, I say "it's like ME but more pain than fatigue", although depending on the day it might be more fatigue. But if it's not to a friend or family I don't bother saying any more than that, usually people have heard of ME so I just find it a lot easier to save time saying that and then explaining the part that is relevant (like at the dentists it's about a lack of grip).

ETA: Oh I also have some leaflets from the Arthritis concern (?) website which explain it in some detail, and am planning to give those out to family (they did ask!).
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Re: spoon theory - your experiences

Postby SchroedingersCat » Wed Nov 26, 2014 1:26 pm

I've found a lot of my friends have already heard of spoon theory, but personally I've never felt it fitted the way my FM is, so I don't use it. I generally find either people have heard of FM, or just saying it's a chronic pain condition satisfies them. For those who genuinely want to know more, I explain quite simply how it affects me. I can honestly say I've never had a problem explaining it without resorting to metaphors like spoon theory.
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