The Spoon Theory

Lyme disease can present a range of invisible, but debilitating symptoms. This makes it tricky for those around you to understand how unwell you are.

Worsening symptoms can lead to changes in friendships and relationships as declining health may prevent you from doing the things you were once capable of. This often results in feelings of guilt, rejection and even isolation.

It is important to have tools that explain what you are going through. Managing expectations that people have of you can also help to avoid those negative feelings.

Christine Miserandino developed a useful resource called ‘The Spoon Theory’, which many people with Lyme disease find valuable when talking about their health.

‘The Spoon Theory’ is an analogy that assists to explain to others what living with a chronic illness is like. The idea behind it is that a person managing a chronic illness has a limited number of spoons to use on any day. ‘Spoons’ represent the amount of effort required; tasks like showering or making dinner need a collection of ‘spoons’.

Once the spoons are used up for the day, you’re not able to do anymore. This means that you must prioritise, sacrifice and compromise things every day. This concept is helpful when visualising the limitations of Lyme disease.

If you’re having trouble coping, we encourage you to read ‘The Spoon Theory’. Sharing it with your family, friends and support networks will help them to better understand your limitations.