The Spoon Theory is a story written by Christine Miserandino that Antonia Fowler, President of the MS Center, took to heart. When Christine was trying to tell her friend how difficult things are because of her Lupus, she created this beautiful illustration of the difficulties ressulting from her illness.
Christine wanted her friend to understand how much energy it takes just to exist. Healthy 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.
So for her explanation, she used spoons to convey this point. she wanted something for her friend to actually hold, for her to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If she was in control of taking away the spoons, then her friend would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control.
After the spoons were counted, Christine explained that when you are healthy you expect to have a never-ending supply of “spoons”. But when you have to now plan your day, you need to know exactly how many “spoons” you are starting with. It doesn’t guarantee, she said, that you might not lose some along the way, but at least it helps to know where you are starting.
She counted out 12 spoons. She laughed and said she wanted more. Christine said no, and she knew right away that this little game would work, when her friend looked disappointed, and they hadn’t even started yet.
All of us with chronic disease want more “spoons” and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she? Christine also told her to always be conscious of how many she had, and not to drop them because she can never forget she has Lupus.
When her friend listed the tasks of the day, Christine would take away a spoon. Her friend was amazed at the simple tasks and how quickly the spoons disappeared. So it is with living with MS.
Antonia could see the similarities between Christine and those of us living with Multiple Sclerosis. She provided a fun activity based on ‘The Spoon Theory’; all the supplies to make a beautiful bouquet of…spoons! 🙂 We wrote on each of the spoons the events that we do every day to remind us of the cost of energy it takes.
Even though I didn’t actually take part in the craft project, it was validating to listen to the story and be involved with my new friends. You can go here to read the rest of the story.
I’m very grateful for the Alaska MS center. I didn’t realize that it is a volunteer, non-profit organization that develops educational and exercise programs for people with MS in Alaska. All the money raised here goes to activities and programs in Alaska. You can find out what resources are in your area by checking the National MS Society’s website here.