What is The Spoon Theory? + Resources

Have you ever heard of someone say that they’ve run out of spoons or that they don’t have enough?

They might be talking about literal spoons. Or they might be talking about their limited energy they have for the day.

What is the Spoon Theory?

The Spoon Theory was created by Christine Miserandino. One day her friend asked her to explain what it was like to live with chronic illness. She gave her friend a handful of spoons to represent units of energy. She walked a day of her friend’s and took away a spoon or two per task as the conversation went on.

Click here to read the full story written by Miserandino.

The idea of the Spoon Theory is that once you run out of spoons, you can’t do anything else for the rest of the day because you are mentally and physically drained. The illness decides how many spoons we have to spend each day. Some days we might have more or less spoons than other days.

Since Miserandino posted this story on her blog many years ago, the Spoon Theory has been a way for “spoonies” across the world to connect with each other, as well as a way for “spoonies” to explain to their loved ones what it is like to live with chronic illness.

Does the Spoon Theory work for those with mental illness?

Although the theory was initially used to describe those living with chronic pain, it can definitely apply to those living with mental illness, as fatigue is a symptom of anxiety and depression.

For some people with mental illness, it can be hard to get out of bed some days. On those days, they have very few spoons and they can only do the things that are absolutely necessary to survive.

Resources and ways to connect with other spoonies

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