The Spoon Theory

As someone who has a service animal and is constantly asked about my disabilities, it takes an immense amount of energy just to simply hold a conversation with strangers throughout the day.

Of course a large, fluffy dog will draw attention in public, which I am aware of. However, when it gets to the point where several people are cornering me, or crowding me, asking questions about my invisible illnesses and basically invalidating me because my disabilities don't stick out among a large crowd, I lose multiple spoons and have to find somewhere to rest; since resting helps regain spoons.

Taking a break to regain some spoons in Hogwarts after having to build up confidence to wait in a busy restaurant for butterbeer.

Now, let's talk about what exactly the spoon theory is -- a metaphor that disabled people use to describe how much energy they currently have remaining. The spoons are incorporeal, not physically real, but are our unit of measurement. Any person with a disability or chronic illness is considered a "spoonie." For example: a person with PTSD and severe anxiety may lose spoons faster in a crowd of people and the only way to regain spoons is through resting. If a spoonie ends up losing all their spoons, they must immediately stop and rest. Another example: an autistic person who has a tantrum might lose the rest of their spoons immediately, resulting in a need for rest. Remember that just because the spoons are intangible does not mean that once they run out, the spoonie can continue with their day.

People with disabilities only have a certain amount of energy and each task throughout their day deducts multiple spoons. Some spoonies know exactly how many spoons they have for the day, how many spoons will be extracted with each task, and when they are completely out of spoons and must rest. Healthy people have the energy to successfully complete simple tasks such as: having conversations with people, walking through crowds, being in the heat, going to social gatherings, being able to eat at any time of the day, etc. These tasks that seem effortless to healthy people could take up to 1, maybe 2 spoons each for a spoonie. With that being said, if a spoonie only has 10 spoons for the whole day and goes out in public, they are going to lose spoons quickly, which is exactly what happens; and this is why the spoon theory is exceedingly important. Spoonies are easily fatigued, lack energy and are constantly tired from their illness.

If you have a chronic illness, I suggest this interesting activity:

1. Lay out some spoons on a table

2. Visualize your day and deduct the amount of spoons you feel it takes you to do things such as: get dressed, go to school/work, socialize, taking medicine multiple times, and even just getting yourself out of bed (one of the hardest tasks for a spoonie)

3. If you run out of spoons before even getting to the middle of your day, that signifies a resting period

Spoonies can find a place to rest anywhere, but it would be most comfortable in your bed, unlike Saxon here!

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