What is a 'Spoonie'? - Laura Spoonie

What is a Spoonie?

Hey my Lovelies,

Today I’m going to speak about the word, ‘SPOONIE’.

Since starting my blog I’ve received quite a few messages on social media asking me what the word spoonie means and so today I’m going to answer this question.

All throughout my blog the word Spoonie is mentioned, starting with my blog name itself, Laura Spoonie

Read on to find out where this word comes from and how it contributes to such a huge part of my identity and blog.


What is a 'Spoonie'? - Laura Spoonie


The term spoonie was bought to light by Christine Miserandino in 2003. She wrote an essay “The Spoon Theory” where she refers to a conversation held between a friend and herself whilst in a cafe.

The conversation started as the friend of Miserandino asked what having lupus feels like. In reply to the inquisitive question, Miserandino chose to demonstrate using a visual aid. Miserandino took spoons from nearby tables and handed her friend twelve spoons and asked her to describe the events of a typical day, taking a spoon away for each activity. In this way, she demonstrated that her spoons, or units of energy, must be rationed to avoid running out before the end of the day. Miserandino also asserted that it is possible to exceed one’s daily limit, but that doing so means borrowing from the future and may result in not having enough spoons the next day… I guess this is what you could call ‘SPOON DEFICIT‘, you know like a bank balance but in spoonie terms. Miserandino suggested that spoon theory can describe the effects of mental illnesses as well.

PDF form of Christine Miserandino’s Spoon Theory – But You Don’t Look Sick


Since the spoon theory is a disability metaphor founded in 2003 by Miserandino (mentioned above), it makes the expression spoonie a rather exclusive word that not many know of unless not for close relations with a spoonie. It’s a newly coined word and expression to describe the reduced amount of mental and physical energy available for activities of living and productive tasks that may result from disability or chronic illness. Spoons are a visual representation used as a unit of measure in order to quantify how much energy a person has throughout a given day. Each activity requires a given number of spoons, which will only be replaced as the person “recharges” through rest. A person who runs out of spoons has no choice but to rest until their spoons are replenished.

The metaphor is personal story and analogy of what it is like to live with sickness or disability and is also used to describe the planning that many people have to do to conserve their energy to accomplish their activities of daily living. The planning and rationing of energy-consuming tasks have been described as being a major concern of those with chronic and fatigue-related diseases, illness, or conditions. The theory highlights the difference between those who are healthily functioning bodies and those with chronic illness, those who are always on the go without energy limits and those that do. The theory is used to facilitate discussions between those with limited energy reserves and those without. Healthy people typically are not concerned with the energy that they use during ordinary tasks such as bathing and getting dressed, and so the spoon theory helps healthy people realize the amount of energy expended by chronically ill or disabled people to get through the day.




Chronic Illness is exhausting - Laura Spoonie

A chronic illness is an illness that lasts longer than 3 months and typically cannot be cured. However, some chronic illnesses are treatable and manageable.

Chronic illnesses that have no cure can stand as a massive challenge to manage and because of this can be difficult for the person diagnosed to participate in everyday activities, even things deemed as normal everyday tasks i.e brushing your teeth, having a shower, eating nutritious meals at appropriate times. In even more serious cases, a chronic illness could be progressive in nature, getting worse with time and harder for the person suffering to manage.

It’s important to understand that a large number of people who suffer from chronic illnesses, do so with absolutely no visible evidence and may even look completely healthy on the outside.


Examples of some chronic illnesses:

  • asthma
  • arthritis
  • colorectal cancer
  • depression
  • agoraphobia
  • fibromyalgia – including other illnesses that cause long-term pain
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • chronic kidney disease
  • MEcfs (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis –

    Chronic fatigue syndrome

  • heart disease
  • HIV or AIDS
  • type 2 diabetes
  • osteoporosis
  • multiple sclerosis
  • cystic fibrosis
  • Crohn’s disease

Am I a Spoonie? - Laura Spoonie

The first time I found out about the term spoonie was in 2015/16. I didn’t automatically accept the identity of being a spoonie straight away as I was so used to feeling out of place even if something is blatantly a description of who I am. The thing is chronic illness is very isolating, no matter how many people you may know that have the same diagnosis or similar illnesses it’s something that causes even the most secure person to feel uncomfortable, out of place and just simply isolated for any and everything.

Eventually, by 2017 I finally decided to look further into what a spoonie is and soon found a new way for me to express myself and feel heard by a group of people who were also struggling, in pain not to mention doing so with a smile on their faces when the energy permitted it.


If you’re not sure if you’re a spoonie or not then ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Do you resonate with the definition of a spoonie
  2. Do you have one or more chronic illnesses that limit your mobility/ability to carry out everyday tasks
  3. Do you have a regular routine that helps to manage your illnesses i.e long-term medication, physical or talking therapies, a support worker that helps to check-in on you and your wellbeing/take care of your care needs etc.
  4. Does your Doctor think you’re a nuisance for going to them with the same untreated symptom  that has been present for more than a year that they’re trying to say is all in your head…haha, no really this is relevant because if the answer is YES then congratulations you may just be a spoonie


Me as a Bitmoji Spoon - Laura Spoonie
Me as a Bitmoji Spoon – Laura Spoonie



‘Life of a Spoonie’ – PAGE NOW ACTIVE






Twitter –

Pinterest – 

If you enjoy my content –  Support Me on Ko-fi

Thanks for stopping by.



6 thoughts on “What is a Spoonie?

  1. A few years ago, I introduced my therapist to “The Spoon Theory” as she had never heard of it before. She thanked me profusely because she knew this could be of major help to many of her other patients who could never quite get others to understand the struggle of their illnesses. I know it was helpful to me – being able to make people understand just a little went a long way!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you were able to explain to your therapist & in turn she could pass that knowledge on. Yes, chronic illness (more so chronic pain & fatigue symptoms) are very hard to explain to people who don’t have a clue.

      Just feeling able to identify with others is a step forward from not feeling totally isolated #SpoonieStrong 🙏💜

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is really informative. I had never even heard of ‘spoonie’ until I came across your account on Twitter & though I researched it, I still didn’t completely understand it, but reading this has given me a clearer idea. I have a relative who has lupus and I don’t know if having lupus is included in the definition of spoonie, but I’m sure if she read this she would resonate a lot. I hear it’s terrifying to even talk about to people that are outside your close network as well. This is a great read, thanks for educating us all.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s