top of page

What is a Spoonie?

Who are spoonies?

“A spoonie can refer to any individual who suffers from a chronic illness. These illnesses are often invisible;

to most people, spoonies may appear healthy and able-bodied, especially when they are young.”

The term originated from a post written by Christine Miserandino entitled The Spoon Theory.


What is Spoon Theory?


It describes the idea that chronically ill people have limited energy to perform everyday tasks, the "spoon" is used as a representation of the unit of energy. 


Every activity, however trivial and instinctive, drains its energy supply: eating, changing clothes, walking, everything that requires muscle movement, exhausts the energy at all times.


If you run out of "spoons," you can choose to continue using "spoons," but you will then drain the spoons from the next day and lose productivity in other activities that you may have planned for the future. 


When you use up your spoons, it is only a matter of time before exhaustion takes over.


So Miserandino explained the experience to a friend to give them a vivid idea of what it's like to suffer from a chronic disease like lupus.

“Because we look healthy on the outside, one of the greatest challenges we have is explaining to others how a person who looks so good can actually feel sick or be in pain,” -The Daily Migraine’s Lisa Jacobson...

Where did Spoon Theory Come From? 

It arose out of a conversation Christine Miserandino had with a friend and roommate when she asked what it was like to live with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes an immune system to attack healthy cells in the body.

Despite the fact that her roommate was present prior to this conversation when she went to see a doctor, walked with a cane, and occasionally exhibited common symptoms of Lupus, she still could not imagine or understand the limitations of the chronically ill.

Here Christine Miserandio presented the concept by giving her a limited number of spoons and describing how each action would mean the loss of a spoon and how she could never have the time or energy to do all the things that a person without disability or illness could do. 

That is how Miserandino explained the experience. SpoonTheory speaks evenly across all spectra for anyone dealing with long-term illnesses or diseases.


This also how she conceptualized the Spoon Theory in her site, 

But You Don't Look

Christine Miserandino.png

"I’ve wanted more "spoons" for years and haven’t found a way yet to get more"- The Spoon Theory...

Why share Spoon Theory with people? 

Sometimes, sharing the spoon theory with friends and family would help minimize the social isolation that many chronically ill patients feel.

Spreading awareness of the spoon theory can help others to help you better. 


bottom of page