Do you have enough spoons to make it through the day? I am not talking about spoons to use in your coffee, cereal or ice cream... I am talking about the Spoon Theory, written by Christine Miserandino, a way that people with chronic illness/pain measure their energy. For a healthy person, they start each day with an unlimited number of spoons. However, for someone with a chronic illness/pain each day you wake up with a set number of "spoons" to use (usually 12 per the theory, but you can make up what works for you) and every activity you do uses a certain number of spoons. For example, a shower may use up 2 spoons, getting ready takes 1 spoon, the grocery store uses 3 spoons and now you have 6 spoons left to get the rest of the day. You can borrow spoons from the next day, but then your count will be lower for the whole next day and you will have to manage your day with less spoons. The more demanding the task is, the more spoons it uses. If a person says they are running low on spoons, it is just a different way of them saying the are running out of energy.
Not everyone with chronic illness/pain identifies with this theory, and that is okay. I believe the main reasoning for using an analogy such as the spoon theory is to help people understand something that is invisible. When you have a chronic illness that nobody can see, that is difficult to put into words, sometimes you take what is in front of you (like Christine did) and let it help you explain your life. Just like migraine is not a one-size-fits-all disease, theories and analogies don't fit everyone. You have to decide what works for you, including how you choose to explain how your chronic illness impacts your life.
A healthy person can go about their life and not think twice about how each little choice will impact their health for the day. One of my ALL time favorite quotes is by Imam Shari'i that says, "Health is a crown that the healthy wear, but only the sick can see it." When explaining my chronic migraines and how I manage different aspects of my life, most people are surprised and acknowledge that they have never had to think about many of the things I do. One of the reasons I don't really use the spoon theory is that I never know how I will feel. Somedays I wake up with a migraine, other days it sneaks up on me and snatches away all my hopeful plans. The way I feel and the energy level I have is never the same, so banking on a set amount of "spoons" is just not for me. Resting is helpful, but it doesn't guarantee that I will have feel better and be able to take on the world the next time my feet hit the floor.
Have you ever used the Spoon Theory or any other analogy to describe your pain?
If you want to know more about "spoons" I recommend visiting Christine's site and learning how her theory was born.