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The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino -- A Useful Tool 


Some of us may already be familiar with the "spoon theory".

It's a simple theoretical model of sorts, used to illustrate what it's like to navigate daily life within the constraints of chronic illness.

Christine Miserandino (CM) came up with the metaphor as a way of explaining to her best friend how CM managed a finite, very limited energy budget as a consequence of lupus.


Some may have heard the term "spoon theory" and been unsure exactly what is being referred to, and some may have never heard it before. 

It can be a useful tool in communicating with family, friends, employers, doctors, and others about what we deal with living with a chronic, debilitating health condition.

BIND, WD, ADWD, PAWS/PWS, etc. all fit under the umbrella of chronic, invisible illness and functional disability that can be difficult for non-sufferers to understand.

(Other examples under the same umbrella include but are not limited to lupus, fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, post-viral syndromes such as long COVID, etc.)


The Spoon Theory is one possible way to approach a conversation with someone interested and willing to know more about what we go through.

It may also be helpful to those of us who have a difficult time organizing our thoughts and or organically articulating our experience.

Some of us may benefit from borrowing someone else's analogy not only to convey to others what we go through but also to assist us in sorting things out in our own minds. 

The more insight we have into what we deal with, e.g. clarifying/tracking/discovering how many spoons we have in a day and how we spend them, the better we're able to care for ourselves in self-relationship and also advocate for our needs in relation to others. 


I don't have permission to copy-paste "The Spoon Theory" short essay but encourage anyone who's interested to read Christine Miserandino's original text here:




If you'd rather listen/watch, here's a video of Miserandino reading her essay aloud: 



1996-2018 - misc. polypharmacy, incl. SSRIs, SNRIs, neuroleptics, lithium, benzos, stimulants, antihistamines, etc. (approx. 30+ drugs)

2012-2018 - 10mg lexapro/escitalopram (20mg?)    Jan. 2018 - 10mg -> 5mg, then from 5mg -> 2.5mg, then 0mg  -->  July 2018 - 0mg

2017(?)-2020 - vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine 60-70mg    2020-2021 - 70mg down to 0mg  -->  July 2021 - 0mg

March-April 2021 - vortioxetine 5-10mg (approx. 7 weeks total; CT)  -->  April 28th, 2021 - 0mg

August 2021 - 2mg melatonin   August 1, 2022 - 1mg melatonin   March 31, 2023 - 0mg melatonin

2024 supplements update: electrolyte blend in water sipped throughout the day; 1 tsp cod liver oil blend (incl. vit. A+D+E) w/ breakfast; calcium; vitamin C+zinc


Courage is fear that has said its prayers.  - Karle Wilson Baker

love and justice are not two. without inner change, there can be no outer change; without collective change, no change matters.  - Rev. angel Kyodo williams

Holding multiple truths. Knowing that everyone has their own accurate view of the way things are.  - text on homemade banner at Afiya house


I am not a medical professional; this is not medical advice. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Someone used the term "bandwidth" with me recently and I thought it was a really useful analogy. When you're struggling with chronic health problems it reduces the bandwidth (time, energy, motivation, mental clarity) you have to deal with issues - so not surprisingly some things will be delayed or never get done. I guess it's ultimately the same as spoon theory. 

  • 1995-present: on and off various antidepressants, and many changes in dose. Never tapered properly
  • 2012-present: citalopram. Steady dose of 27.5mg since July 2020
  • 2020: pregabalin for 2 months. Very bad withdrawal.
  • Current daily medications: 27.5mg citalopram. 1mg melatonin, 4mg doxazosin, 300mg docusate.
  • My intro topic


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