How To Explain To Friends And Family What It’s Like to Live With A Chronic Disease

Spoon with a SmileIf you live with an arthritis-related chronic disease, it is imperative that you know about The Spoon Theory.  Imperative, I say! It might just be the best tool out there for helping your loved ones understand your disease a little bit better.

Blogger, website founder, and Lupus & Fibro warrior Christine Donato came up with the most excellent description (on the fly, no less!) about how the lifestyle of someone with a chronic disease is different from a person who is healthy. Hence, the Spoon Theory was born!

Essentially, the theory explains that someone with a chronic disease has a limited amount of “spoons” to get them through each day, therefore he/she has to budget them wisely so that he/she does not run out before the day is over. For instance getting up, making breakfast, showering and getting dressed would require at least four spoons.

Excerpt from the Spoon Theory:

Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day. I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to. I wanted her to feel that frustration. I wanted her to understand, that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one. I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day’s plans before I can attack any one given thing. When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war.

Christine’s theory is a great way explain to friends and family alike why you sometimes have to cancel plans, or why you need to rest in between activities, or why sometimes you don’t have the benefit of a “second wind.”

Have you come up with creative ways to give your loved ones insight into your disease? Share your story in the comments!

The Spoon Theory (PDF) [via]

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