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Keep Calm and Spoon On

Have you ever heard of the term "spoonie?" If you know what a spoonie is, then there is a good chance that you may consider yourself a spoonie or relate to others who consider themselves spoonies.

Maybe you've never heard the term before though, or maybe you have and you aren't quite sure how to explain it to others. A look at where the term originated from and what it means for those who live each day with a chronic illness.

What exactly is a spoonie?

A spoonie is a term that refers to any individual who suffers from a chronic illness. The term originated from a blog post written by Christine Miserandino entitled "The Spoon Theory."1

In the post, Miserandino uses counting spoons as a metaphor for explaining her ability to carry out daily tasks while living with Lupus. The counting of spoons is to demonstrate that some days those who suffer from a chronic illness have plenty of spoons and other days they don't have enough spoons to dish out.

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From her post, the term spoonie emerged and has been used across the social media world as a way for people with chronic illnesses to connect and relate to one another.

Using the spoon theory

The spoon theory isn't just used to explain life with Lupus it can be applied to a variety of illnesses including psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis may have visible skin symptoms, it also has many invisible symptoms such as fatigue, pain, and emotional symptoms such as depression and anxiety.

On any given day someone with psoriatic arthritis only may have a certain amount of energy, in the spoon theory the spoons are a metaphoric unit of energy.

Those living with psoriatic arthritis and other chronic illnesses have only a certain number of spoons per day, and some mornings those with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis may wake up and have fewer spoons than usual.

On those days when there are fewer spoons, to begin with, those with psoriatic arthritis have to be more conscientious about how they "spend" those spoons. Certain activities may require more than one spoon, while others may require just one, therefore the allocation of the spoons requires thought and planning.

If the individual doesn't plan accordingly then they could potentially use all of their spoons before lunchtime. Everyday activities as simple as getting out of bed, showering, getting ready for the day and eating breakfast all deplete from the spoon (or energy) bank.


The spoon theory offers a way of explaining to others who may not understand what it is like to live with a chronic illness that can impact people so uniquely how it can feel on a day to day basis to have psoriatic arthritis.

So the next time you are looking to explain to friends, family or acquaintances about life with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis try using the spoon theory!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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