Spoon theory was originally thought up as a way of describing to others what it’s like to manage chronic pain, fatigue or other disabilities. I think it’s also a great way to think about anxiety, depression and other debilitating mental health problems.
In brief, at the start of the day, one has a number of spoons (i.e. units of energy) the number of spoons you have are dictated by the severity of the illness you are coping with and may fluctuate from day to day without warning. Everything you do requires a certain number of spoons – getting out of bed, getting dressed, going to work, eating, exercising – the problem of course being that once you’re out of spoons that’s it for the day. It’s a wonderful way of explaining why you sometimes have to change plans at the last minute and that on other days you can barely make it out of bed or dress yourself, let alone make it to work.
I tend to find that when my anxiety is high, I have a lot less spoons. Which is unfortunate to find out half way through the day in the freezer aisle at the supermarket. But that’s the way she goes, right?
Read about the birth of spoon theory here.