May 12th is National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, so I thought I would bring awareness on my blog all week.
Fibromyalgia Awareness #1: What Is Spoon Theory?
You have probably seen me use the term “Spoonie” in my posts and some of you may be wondering what that is all about. So let me explain.
A woman, Christine Miserandino, with Lupus was having lunch with her best friend who asked what it was like to be sick all the time. She picked up a handful of spoons to use as a metaphor and The Spoon Theory was born. People with different types of chronic illness sometimes refer to themselves as “spoonies”.
The basic idea is that you have a limited number of spoons each day. Every activity you do during the day, uses spoons. Some spoons are physical, some mental and some emotional.
For example: If I have 15 spoons to start with, I use 1 to walk the dog, 3 to homeschool, 2 to take a shower, 1 to make lunch, 4 to go grocery shopping, 3 to make dinner and clean up…I end up with 1 spoon left for the day. If I rest in the afternoon, I probably have about 3 before bed. Everybody has their particular number of spoons. I think 15 is about right for me on a good day. If I am flaring, I have between 8 and 10 spoons.
We can use The Spoon Theory to help us pace our energy throughout the day. Walking the dog technically takes 2 spoons, but because it relaxes me and makes me feel good, I count it as 1 spoon. Some days, homeschooling takes 5 or 6 spoons, so I will try to take it easy for the remainder of the day. Laundry takes a lot physically, up and down three flights of stairs, so I do it on days when I don’t have much else. If I have a doctors appointment, it can take 6 spoons, but if I come home and relax, I can get a few of those back.
There are certain activities that take more spoons for me than they would for others. Grocery shopping takes at least 4 for me because of the parking, the lights in the store, the smells, the checkout lady, loading and unloading the car. Driving in unfamiliar places or for more than an hour, takes a lot. Being at the park with a bunch of screaming kids or around loud noises, takes a lot. Things that are overstimulating for me from a sensory standpoint, take up a lot of my spoons.
Any sort of confrontation or stress takes spoons, the car that almost hits you, the rude lady who gets in your personal space, the task you procrastinate on, the event you are dreading, the contractor who mucks up a job. Stress is the worst spoon stealer because it not only takes spoons, but it also causes pain.
So there it is, a tool to show how we manage with our energy limitations and a tool to help us pace throughout the day. In all honestly, I keep things in mind, but I have not used it seriously for pacing and after writing this post, I am thinking I should.