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What the heck is a spoonie and other metaphors

by Suzy Molloy October 27, 2020

What the heck is a spoonie and other metaphors

Hello, hello! You asked for it, we're finally talking about it.
It's #LetsTalkTuesday so let's talk about what the heck is a spoonie.
You've probably seen it in my Instagram hashtags, the word #Spoonie.
And what that refers to is to anyone who suffers from a chronic illness, and it came from a conversation where The Spoon Theory was developed by Christine Miserandino (from during a dinner with a college friend).
Where basically the spoon became a metaphor for the amount of energy things can take while in a body that is chronically ill.
And it's gonna be different for everybody, like for example it can take 2 spoons to make your bed, it can take 4 spoons to make yourself a meal in the kitchen, it can take 10 spoons to go out and socialize with your friends.
And once those spoons are gone, they're gone, you can't really replace them, you just, you're done for the day.
So basically being chronically ill, the metaphor is: you are allotted a certain amount of spoons in a day and you kind of have to gauge how many spoons you use per task and have to learn what tasks you just-- are just not worth doing because you do not have enough spoons to deal with that task, Okay? Haha! And to be very honest, I don't personally identify with that metaphor, and that's okay, I think-- um, as someone that is dealing with an undiagnosed chronic illness, I get it, but it doesn't really, what that word? It doesn't really strike a chord with me,.
However, because the term has become so popular around the chronically ill community online, it's been used as a way to find one another and when we find one another and create these wonderful communities online, because the internet is such a beautiful accessible social space; not a lot of public spaces in real life are accessible to people who are chronically ill or people with different disabilities, so the internet is such a wonderful social space, that's accessible for all of us.
And we can communicate with one another, we can vent to one another, we- we share memes about being chronically ill with one another, and it's a beautiful thing because it's just-- it makes something that can be so isolating... not so isolating.
[It] gives us strength of community, strength of solidarity and that's really great.
Instead of using spoons...
I personally like to describe it as a gas tank, that I have as gas tank that only has a certain amount of gas, and I have no way of knowing how much gas I have left.
So, I do have to be very careful with how I spend that gas in my tank, and when it's out, it's out, I'm done.
But I don't really have a great gauge as to when I'm going to run out of that gas, so that sucks.
Also as a metaphor for my chronic pain I like the idea of a traffic light, and it's a bit more complex than a traffic light.
It is a bit more complex than red light,yellow light, green light, but here's how I see it: when my chronic pain metaphor is a traffic light, we have green which would be days where I am ready to go, no pain. I am ready to like take a walk around the block, or.. hahaha! That's- that's funny because that hasn't happened in YEARS.
I don't know it's just, full throttle, energetic, ready to go.
Yellow light, would be the days I usually am in, I'm in a yellow light day today, which is that I'm still fatigued, I'm still in pain, but I can push myself to sit up for a bit, um, and do some stuff. And honestly, it won't be a whole day right? Sometimes I'll have light a yellow light morning, red light afternoon, yellow light evening, like it'll- the lights would change throughout the day.
And what red light would mean, is days where my pain levels are like from a 7 to a 10, I could be paralysed in pain in my bed, unable to move, literally unable to move because I am in so much pain.
The longest that has ever last was 10 days in a row, where I kid you not it was gross, I couldn't shower, I couldn't sit up to eat, I couldn't do anything.
I just laid still, completely still for like 10 days in a row. That sucked.
But I like those, I like these traffic metaphors I got going on, I like the gas in the gas tank of a car and I like my traffic light metaphor.
I relate to them a little more than I do with spoons, but spoons and spoonies, is still a wonderful, wonderful thing that just took off and has created and immense amount of community online among the chronically ill community, and I am so grateful for it, and it's really great! Also, foot note, um, PLEASE don't start using spoons as a GENERAL metaphor/slang for energy because it's specifically for the chronically ill and I could make a whole 'nother video about the appropriation of language for sick people and disabled people and I'll be really brief and state; it's not good that as a society people have started using "I get really bipolar" to describe being emotional or "That's really bothering my OCD" when you don't really have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Using things that belong to the sick diminishes what these words mean and those words are very REAL and so then when you use these words like they're nothing it takes away from the people that are really experiencing these things and that sucks.
So please be considerate of that, that's all. - Annie Elainey
Suzy Molloy
Suzy Molloy

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