How The Spoon Theory Explains What It’s Like to Live with Chronic Illness

You’ve probably read the term before: spoonies. It’s a nickname for people with chronic illness, that unites individuals with all kinds of health problems on social media.

Because spoonies all share a common struggle: how do you get things done with the small amount of energy that you have? How can you take care of work, home life or even your basic needs when you’re always exhausted, in pain and have limited mobility?

Having to pace yourself is a concept that’s hard to understand for healthy people. Because getting dressed, making meals and doing the dishes is something most people do without even thinking about it. But when you’re chronically ill, those daily tasks can take up much – if not all – of your energy.

One day, lupus patient Christine Miserandino found a striking way to explain to her friend how difficult it is for her to get through the day, by using the items in front of her: spoons. Her Spoon Theory became a widely used metaphor to describe what it’s really like to live with chronic illness.

Have a look at this in-depth infographic from Burning Nights on what the Spoon Theory is and how you can use your daily spoons wisely.

This infographic is designed by the team at Burning Nights, a UK-registered charity advocating awareness of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). For more information and support for sufferers of caregivers, visit their website or donation page

You can read more about living with chronic illness here:

Which metaphor do you use to explain what it’s like to live with the limitations of chronic health problems on a daily basis? 

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Jennifer Mulder

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