The spoon theory is a metaphor created by Christine Miserandino to describe how disabled people have to be more careful about how they use their energy. She said:
“Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions.”
She went on to use spoons to visually show how certain activities take away energy that could be used for other tasks.
The concept caught on in many disability communities
Jennie Smales writes about how the spoon theory doesn’t feel like it applies when your illness or symptoms have a lot of variation.
This post is phenomenal. Cynthia Kim says that “spoons are disability region-specific” This blew my mind, as my anxiety symptoms manifest in different ways and sometimes I have no physical energy, whereas other days I have no mental energy. She talked about how not all spoons are independent of each other and there is the potential for spoon ‘leakage.’
This takes the metaphor way past it’s original intentions but it has been so useful to me.
Naomi Chainey talks about how “spoon Theory was intended for the chronically ill”, and that able-bodied people are being disrespectful by appropriating the language. I find this article interesting, as someone whose mental illness is severe and has a lot of physical symptoms. While I disagree with aspects of it, it did make me think.
This post covers a lot of topics however it introduced me to the concept of ‘Intertia’, which has helped me understand my cognitive issues so much
A different interpretation of spoon theory, one that can be useful for kids.