Kate-Wolfe-Jensen shared in her latest newsletter the story behind the metaphor of ‘spoonin’ for energy. People like Kate who live with MS, or other autoimmune diseases,,,including lupus, forms of arthritis, parathyroid dysfunctions, underactive thyroid diseases like hypothyroidism, or Hashimoto’s disease (where one’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland) live daily with the challenge of conserving and prioritizing the amount of energy they can expend on any given task or even social interaction.
The idea originated with Christine Miserandino and a social experiment she conducted with a friend.
“In a blog titled “The Spoon Theory,” Christine Miserandino describes how she showed her friend what it’s like to have lupus. (The autoimmune disease often causes fatigue, fever, and joint pain, among other symptoms.) While sitting at a diner, Miserandino handed her friend 12 spoons. These represented units of energy. She then asked her friend to describe the typical activities of a day.”
Miserandino took away a spoon for every single task: showering, brushing one’s teeth, getting dressed with painful joints, standing on a train. Skipping lunch would cost a spoon. When the spoons were gone, it meant there was barely energy to do anything else.
This idea of quantifying energy as spoons, and the idea that people with chronic disease only get a handful of spoons each day, hit home with readers far and wide. “Spoon theory” is now part of the lingo of autoimmune disease.
Legions of people call themselves “spoonies,” connect on social media as #spoonies, use spoon theory to explain their chronic disease limitations, and plan their days around the number of spoons they have when they wake up.”
It is the side effects from the drug I take for my type of breast cancer that are causing me daily fatigue these days from my on-going low-white blood cell count. When I wake up in the morning I feel so energized mentally and ready to take on the day…but by the time I have gotten up, eaten breakfast, and dressed…many days I feel like crawling back in bed. My energy level is definitely taking a hit from the side effects of my cancer drug.
So when I read the article on the “Spoon Theory” I could certainly empathize with the dilemmas facing others with diseases or side effects that compromise one’s immune system. I, daily, trudge forward, in spite of the “low points” throughout the day but more and more I find myself reserving time for energy naps and reading times.
I was especially happy to see, in the article, that certain activities (that might initially use up some spoons) can also bring one such joy and feelings of love that you can earn some back.
This is true of baby sitting and family gatherings…initially they use up a few spoons of energy but once I am there…the physical contacts, the form of hugs, squeezes, kisses and the feelings of love more than make up for the energy dispensed in preparation.
Dr. Seuss was right, “Life is a balancing act” and the better we get at balancing it…the more fulfilled our lives become.
Let’s not forget that in our connection to the rest of Creation we can dispense energy and light to others who need it and, also, receive it from others who have it. How many times have I watched my grandchildren playing, with their seemingly ceaseless energy, and wished for a siphon to withdraw just a little of their amazing amounts of vitality into me?
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
I can now admit to being a “thriver” and a “spoonie”! 🙂
Lisa Register sent me the sweetest “visual moment” yesterday…she has started writing a blog post…and she is amazing. Thank you Lisa! Our thoughts were intertwined yesterday it appears…each grateful for the people who bring “light” and sunshine in our lives.
Walsh and Lachlan…Boys on Deck ….ummm…or Dock? 🙂