What Do Spoons Have To Do With Chronic Illness?

Source: Spoonfuls of Grace
Source: Spoonfuls of Grace

When browsing through Tumblr or scrolling past tweets have you ever found yourself asking, “What is a spoonie?” It’s time to find out.

First of all, a spoonie is a “who”, not a “what”, and the term represents anyone living with a chronic illness.

The term originally came about from a post written by Christine Miserandino entitled “The Spoon Theory“. The Spoon Theory tells of her attempt to explain to a friend the daily toll that chronic illness often takes from those who suffer from them.

She at first struggled to illustrate how chronic conditions effect even seemingly mundane decisions that we make every day. However, she found a way to describe it and exemplified how difficult it can be for healthy people to comprehend how much extra effort goes into everyday activities.

Sitting in a restaurant, she handed her friend a bouquet of spoons, each representing health and energy needed for each activity. Miserandino explained that healthy people often tend to have almost an unlimited number of “spoons” and take them for granted, when every simple task could require a “spoon” from a chronically ill person’s precious supply.

This example resonated deeply with many others who were suffering from various chronic illnesses; providing a scenario to assist them in explaining their daily hardships with others. The analogy helped to bridge the gap in understanding of what they were going though, even when they appeared to be healthy.

As the popularity of the term grew, online “spoonie” families were born. It has become a unifying term; a representation of solidarity and self identification; and a facilitator of understanding between those who are chronically ill and those who are not.

Source: Venture to Vitality

Featured image source: CPRS247

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