Christine Miserandino who has Lupus came up with the “Spoon Theory” to explain what it is like living with a chronic illness. This explanation is now used by people who have so called “invisible illnesses” to explain to others what their days are like. Many people with depression, autoimmune disorders, and other chronic illnesses may not look sick to an outsider. That is generally because they don’t want you to know they are sick, they are trying to live their lives as normally as possible, or they may not want to hear or respond to comments that can make them feel bad.
Then comes a time when they can’t do something because they just don’t have the spoons left. Sometimes they experience others thinking they are exaggerating their symptoms and they feel unseen and misunderstood. The spoon theory is a way of trying to explain to someone kindly what it is like to have to think about every action they take in a day in order to make sure that they can get through their day. Or to be planning things well and just find out that today for some random reason you have less spoons than normal.
I think it is a good way of trying to put yourself in someone’s shoes so you can understand. No one who hasn’t experienced chronic fatigue and/or pain can understand that experience fully. That is actually a good thing. No one who counts spoons wants others to have to do the same. But if you know someone with one of these illnesses the spoon theory can give you some perspective so that perhaps you can look at them a little differently and in a more understanding way.
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