What are Spoonies?

Spoonies refer to a group of individuals that have a chronic illness (i.e. Autoimmune Disease). This term comes from Christine Miserandino’s essay called The Spoon Theory.

These spoons are representative of the “energy” required to complete simple day to day activities. I use the Spoon Theory to explain my capacity and energy level to my close friends, family, etc… Instead of me having to go into “My feet are swollen and it hurts to move”. I simply say “I only have 1.5 spoons left Mom” and she’ll be like “Say Less“.

While the average person may have a countless supply of spoons, I may have around a good 12 at my disposal. You can cut that down to 6 spoons if I’m stressed, anxious, upset, too hot/cold, sick, tired, the list goes on and on.

I wanted you all to understand the Spoon Theory better so I made this diagram

  • Pink Spoons represent the energy I’ve exerted completing an activity.
  • Yellow Spoons represent some of the energy I’ve gained back.

Waking up is hard to do. I’m usually sore/aching

-2 Spoons already

Driving to work and the walk from my car to the department is like a workout. I’m normally out of breath & exhausted

-1 Spoon

First rounds are the hardest & longest for me

-3 Spoons

Surprise, Surprise! It’s almost 9 am and I haven’t eaten or taken my 8 am meds.

+1 Spoon



You get the idea… I end my day with a whopping NEGATIVE 3 SPOONS!

The price I pay when I over-do it the day before is bed rest the next 2 days to fully regain my 12 spoons. Which brings me to another fun thing that I deal with… Chronic Fatigue.

Chronic Fatigue – A debilitating disorder that is characterized by extreme fatigue. Signs and symptoms of chronic fatigue include:

  • Headaches
  • Sore/aching muscles
  • Impaired decision making ability
  • Extreme exhaustion lasting longer than 24 hours after physical activity

Chronic fatigue causes you to feel so tired that you struggle to complete normal tasks. It makes it especially difficult to maintain a job and extracurricular activities. Many people that suffer from a chronic illness deal with chronic fatigue because our bodies are working 100 times harder.

Recovery time for me after working is around 2 days. Having a chronic illness has taught me what is/isn’t worth my time or energy. My spoons are precious!

Yours are too and you should use them wisely.

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