Christine Miserandino, a blogger, invented Spoon Theory to explain what it is like to live with chronic illness.
Miserandino has lupus. A friend asked her to explain what it was like to live with a chronic illness. They were in a diner, so, to illustrate her experience, Miserandino gathered up all the spoons she could find. She handed her friend 12 spoons and said, 'Here you go, you have Lupus'.
She then asked her friend to explain what happens to her on a typical day. Each activity costs a certain number of spoons. Spoons represent energy expenditure.
What I love about this story is Miserandino's friend's reaction to being handed only 12 spoons - she wanted more. We all want more spoons.
Unfortunately, spoons are limited when living with a chronic illness - this also applies to mental health issues. You need to use your spoons carefully.
Talking about personal limitations is often frowned upon (usually by those who champion positivity to the point where it becomes toxic). But, if you are living with chronic illness or mental health issues, ignoring the fact that you have a limited supply of spoons can be dangerous.
The best thing about Spoon Theory is its simplicity - anyone can understand it. In my experience, it is most useful as a tool for communicating your needs to others.
Communicating your needs to others is the first step towards prioritising your wellbeing.