NIIA Week: The Spoon Theory

I came across Christine Miserandino’s Spoon Theory about five years ago, right around the time my friend, Wabi, was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and Ankylosing Spondylitis. I stumbled across it late one night while trying to better understand what these strange diseases meant for my friend. I cried. I cried for Christine, for my friend, and for everyone else I’ve known who has ever suffered from an illness—invisible all otherwise.

When I was diagnosed with ME/CFS late last year, I immediately went back to the Spoon Theory as a way to explain to my parents how I felt. Christine originally concocted the Spoon Theory as a way to explain her daily life to her best friend, as a sufferer of Lupus. The great thing is though, the Spoon Theory perfectly explains how most people with chronic illnesses have to look at their day. It’s about limitations, planning, and trade-offs. It’s about all the things that healthy, young, busy people don’t have to think about.

If you’ve got friends, family, or colleagues with a chronic illness. If you yourself have one—invisible or otherwise—read the Spoon Theory, check out But You Don’t Look Sick, share Christine’s story with your friends and family. I’m not promising it will work for everyone, but I know it will hit home with a lot of people, and maybe help them get where you’re coming from a bit more.


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