I only heard of the ‘spoons’ metaphor a few years ago. The spoons represent energy. It goes something like this. Each person has a set number of spoons, let’s say for this article, everyone has ten spoons a day.
Often, an able-boded person is able to get by on these 10 spoons, perhaps they use up all 10 by bedtime, or maybe they have one or two spoons left.
But someone with a disability might burn their 10 spoons by early afternoon. Even if they have done the same task. Their spoons just burn quicker and they may feel like they need another five or more just to get to the evening.
Often, someone with a disability has to try and operate without any spoons left and recover when they can. Over the weekend, or staying in bed longer when possible.
My Experience with “burning spoons”
At university, I often burnt my spoons too but I don’t think I noticed as much because their were often recovery periods where I could spend a day or two in halls. I wasn’t one for clubbing so I didn’t care if I missed events. It was only when I started work in December that I noticed I was struggling.
I tried to keep up my swimming to encourage my right side to stay active while also working. My work was really understanding and let me have Monday morning off. I decided to make up the hours over the week, working from 8:30-5:30 on most the days. But I found that I was getting exceedingly tired and had a bout of insomnia over January because of it.
Recently, I have switched pool so that my swimming is on another day, Friday, where I won’t have to take four hours off. I’ll be working from 8:30-5 for two or three days to make the time up. I’m hoping that that will help me feel less exhausted.
But I know my next job (this is temporary), may not be as understanding. So I’ll make use of what I can for now.
I’m aware that able-bodied people can use up all of their spoons too, in stressful circumstances, particularly if the stress is on-going, but I found the theory interesting and recently found someone’s blog post on the issue.
Give it a read.
I’ve never considered myself a spoonie, but I think I’ve run out of spoons these past few weeks. I thought I’d be riding shotgun today on a trip with a moving van to get the last of our stuff from the house to wherever it’ll fit. Regular readers will know that I love road trips […]Emotional Bandwidth When You Are Disabled — Gin & Lemonade