"Spoon Theory aides in understanding energy-sapping illnesses" by: Jessica Shepard

   As someone with many friends who have anxiety and depression, we’re often comparing our methods for coping with said problems.
   Even though each different instance of anxiety garners its own coping mechanism and some aren’t interchangeable, but shared information is always helpful.
   My friends often ask me how I manage to do my job when I have to cover events with large crowds.
   And I really don’t have much of an answer aside from telling them that I just do my job and spend time after recharging my introvert batteries.
   Most nod along and understand and only a few have ever needed a better definition.
   That need lead me to scour the almighty Internet for a better description.
   I came across something called “Spoon theory.”
   The spoon theory or spoon metaphor is a disability metaphor used to explain the reduced amount of mental and physical energy available for activities of living and productive tasks that may result from disability or chronic illness.
   Spoons are a visual representation used as a unit of measure in order to quantify how much energy a person has throughout a given day.
   And like the weather, the amount of energy a person has varies; it could be more than the day before or less – that’s the problem with illness-induced fatigue.
   Each activity requires a given number of spoons depending on the level of difficulty and illness the person has.
   Spoons will only be replaced as the person “recharges” through rest.
   A person who runs out of spoons has no choice but to rest until their spoons are replenished, though some spoons can be borrowed from the future which can lead to overexertion and having to rest more or have less energy for the next day.
   Now, they’re only called spoons because that’s what the theorist Christine Miserandino had on hand when explaining her concept to a close friend.
   Miserandino lives with the autoimmune disease Lupus and a friend asked her what that was like which lead her to coin the spoon theory – using spoons as a unit of measure for energy.
   She also suggested that spoon theory can be helpful for explaining the experience of living with any disease or illness – including invisible ones like depression, anxiety and more.
   Her theory came out in 2003 and has been gaining traction in the disabled and able-bodied communities to refer to non-chronic forms of fatigue and mental exhaustion.
   Regardless, it’s also helped in my friend group where some endure visible and invisible illnesses.
   Plus, it’s helped them relay their energy levels to those that don’t suffer from the same afflictions.
   And I’m all for anything that helps people understand each other better.
   I just wish this theory was more widely heard of and more people took the time to understand that there are visible and invisible illnesses that affect a large number of the population.
   At least my friend groups get it and I’m working on explaining things to mom.
   Though, mom is like a super heroine and has almost an infinite number of spoons.
   I can only hope to ever be half as awesome as her even on my best day.

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