Defining and Redefining Spoonie

The origin of the Spoon Theory traces back to Christine Miserandino and her essay on coping with Lupus. If you’re not familiar with it, I strongly encourage you to read it here because it’s a cult classic for the invisible illness community! Christine’s simple metaphor caught on, and the term “Spoonie” became a symbol for people who suffer from stigmatized chronic conditions.

The Spoon Theory is brilliant and insightful, but at first it left me wondering how my own experience fits into the narrative. I have a chronic pain condition, but do I meet the criteria to be a Spoonie? I also have a full time job and a social life, and I can run races just for the fun of it. Heck, I can even write a blog! So I had to ask myself if I even belong here. After all, Christine used this metaphor to describe a disease whose common symptoms include muscle and joint pain, chest pain, headaches, fatigue, hair loss, skin rash, fever, dry mouth, and many others. That’s quite a handful of symptoms, and they make my migraines sound like a piece of cake. I felt like comparing my experience to Christine’s would be an insult to her suffering.

However, after exploring the vast world of online support communities for Spoonies I changed my mind and thought, “Yeah. I can include myself in this conversation.” I decided to write because I realized that the word Spoonie is not a diagnosis, it’s symbol for fighting the stigma surrounding invisible illness. Being a Spoonie means something different to everyone, but all Spoonie support communities are dedicated to fighting stigma.  And that’s a fight I want to join in on.

I think that the fact that the term Spoonie can be defined and redefined to meet the specific needs of each person who uses it is precisely why the creation of the Spoon Theory is such a big win for the invisible illness community. The more the Spoonie community grows the more awareness will spread. So yeah, I named my blog Spoonie Runner Girl, and I am on the Spoonie Spectrum.

Thank you very much for reading my first post! Stay tuned for more original content!

4 thoughts on “Defining and Redefining Spoonie

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