When You’re Out of Spoons

November 29, 2015 | Posted in: Chronic Illness and Pain, Chronic illness and relationships, chronic illness; support

If you are familiar with the impending, looming sense of dread heaped upon you at the mere mention of one more stop on the way home, you might be a spoonie.

If you have ever cried upon being asked “Are we going anywhere today?” by your children, you might be a spoonie.

If you have ever eyeballed the distance between your vehicle and the entrance to Target, determined it insurmountable and headed home, you might be a spoonie.

If you have ever awoken to a sound you were certain was a full-on robbery and wished they’d keep it down, you might be a spoonie.

More specifically, you might be a spoonie who has come to the end of their spoons. Click To Tweet

I don’t think there’s any question in my household when I’m running on a spoon or two and I’m certain there is a look in my eye, a desperation that crosses my face as I hand over my final spoon to the forces that be. If only I could teach my four-year-old to recognize it, or to understand what it meant when I said, “Mommy’s all out of spoons right now. Can you go ask your daddy?”

It was fitting this morning when I drug myself to the kitchen for a bowl of cereal before hurling my body back in the bed for a day of post-holiday recovery. I poured my cereal and milk, sleepily opened up the silverware drawer and sure enough, no spoons.

IMG_3762It’s true. The season of no spoons is upon us. Just last night my husband asked me about some Christmas decorations he wanted to bring in from the garage. He wanted to know where I wanted him to put them. The answer I gave him is that I didn’t have that—the decorating—to offer at the moment because, you see, I was fresh out of spoons. (And also, the real answer about where he could put those decorations was X-rated and would have been the lack of spoons talking.)

So what do we do when we find ourselves fresh out of spoons?

Rest- This seems self-explanatory and yet you and I both know it is often the last thing we do. Instead, we try to push through. Because, inevitably, running out of spoons will come at the worst time, such as the day of the Holiday party, before company arrives, when the shopping needs to be done, etc. But we’ve learned the hard way that forging ahead on no spoons will only damage the motor further. Time to listen to our bodies, and they say rest.

Pace ourselves- We know that there are many meaningful traditions that we are going to want to take part in. It’s up to us to decide which ones and to what degree our bodies can really handle and schedule accordingly, to the best of our ability. If we know that preparing for the party will take approximately seven spoons, we probably shouldn’t schedule a twelve spoon event the next day, but maybe instead a twelve-hour nap. “What are you doing today?” “Making up for lost spoons, you?”

Ask for help- “Hey Bob, do you think I could get 2-3 spoons worth of help preparing for the party on Friday? I’m trying to save a few of my spoons for the concert on Saturday night. You can? That’s awesome. Thank you, so much.”

And lastly, when you run out of spoons, let people know. This way they can support and encourage you. Missing out on special days because you’re spoonless can feel pretty crummy. Being honest and up-front about it helps prevent misunderstandings and also helps us feel less alone in our spoonie world.

From my home to yours, may you have a very special, spoon-filled holiday season.

Don’t get all the spoon stuff? Read here.




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  1. Krystal
    November 29, 2015

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    I can’t wait until you have a drawer FULL of spoons. Love you friend!

  2. Melanie Pickett
    November 30, 2015

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    I felt like you get me with this post. I have Crohn’s disease which means I also battle heavy fatigue on a daily basis. I understand the spoon shortage! 🙂

  3. Stacey Philpot
    November 30, 2015

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    May the spoons be ever in your favor, Melanie!

  4. Cate Russell-Cole: the King David Project
    December 1, 2015

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    I like your use of spoons… because if there is one item of cutlery we’re always buying more of it’s… you guessed it, spoons!

    I relate in many ways. Thanks for the practical advice.

  5. Giftbearer
    November 22, 2016

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    That was funny what you were going to tell your husband about the christmas decorations, LOL!

    Great post!

  6. Katarina Zulak
    November 22, 2016

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    I can completely relate! I really like the advice to communicate that you are ‘spoonless’ to your family/friends and to ask for help. Things go a lot more smoothly in my house when I share ‘spoon’ updates with my husband. That way he can respond to the ever-changing nature of my symptoms. I shared a link to your post in a blog roundup of inspiring blog posts I read this week 🙂

  7. Nim
    March 4, 2017

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    I can’t get my boyfriend to understand when I’m outa spoons, I’m outa spoons for everyone, even him. I thought he understood but he just pouts and makes me feel guilty that I just want to be alone; thinks he’s different and can help and is therapy…Which of course makes me feel even worse.
    Spiraling out of control here…

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