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Spoon Theory in Real Time for One Day

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Hello all:

I know most of us are familiar with the Spoon Theory as it relates to SAH and wanted to do a one day trial to see how it affects any one of us Daily and our count. Anyone is willing to share whether you work, are a parent, both or a SAH survivor. I would use a typical day if possible and go from there. I realize all days are not typical.

I woud say you have 12 spoons for the day which is what I read in the article and think is probably a good start. So how many spoons do you use? This is my typical work day and spoon use:

7AM- Get up and get ready for work. Shave, shower brush teeth -3 SPOOONS

-Could honestly be more as just getting out of bed with an SAH is not feeling well tired etc..

7:30AM Drive to work. I dont live far, do have to concentrate but not gonna count any. Others with a longer trip or bus, taxi, walking I'm sure takes more spoons

8AM-12AM Work -6 Spoons

12-1PM Lunch- Yay get some food energy, rest a little +2 SPOONS

1PM-5PM- Work- 6 Spoons

5PM-7PM Drive home, grocery store or errands, cook dinner -3 SPOONS

7PM-11PM. Rest, watch TV, try and spend time with wife + 2 SPOONS

11PM-7AM Sleep. Supposed to be recharging right? I get to sleep but cant always stay that way. Often have weird dreams, have to use bathroom. generally nver feel rested waking up - 3 SPOONS

By my count, I used 17 spoons when I had 12 for the day to use. I'm down 5. Not good. How do we continue to operate at a spoon deficit and expect to recover? If I had a million dollars, I'd have the answer.

How may spoons did you use today?


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Hello dear Davie Bud!

Well... Im not sure I want to add up how many spoons I use, I know that right now it's way to many.

I use a couple before I've even left the house. I still wake up with head pains so take my time in the morning.

I've got to get myself organised for work, make sure Miss C is ready for school and out the door, sort out Frog Dog, often empty the dishwasher or put laundry on before I go to work.

Then I've got to get to work. I walk which takes 50mins, I think this uses less spoons than if I were to try and cope with getting a bus in morning rush hour traffic.

I use most of my spoons getting through my work day.

When Hub works earlies he will pick me up so at least I don't have to use precious spoons on a bus journey home but that's normally only once a week.

When I get home I'll then use up more spoons having a shower, making the tea, odd bits of housework that need to be done. Then I need to dig deep to find some spoons to spend time with my family. Sometimes I simply don't have enough spoons to even hold a conversation so I lay down in the quiet and dark for a while.

I'll gain back a few spoons as I have a cuddle with Miss C and she chats to me about her day.

I'm trying hard to have some proper 'me' time on my days off but there's always appointments to attend and things to do. I'm trying to catch up with my friends more but things still have to be planned carefully.

I've just started intense physio, that will be 3x a week. Where will those spoons come from eh???!!

As said in true SarahLou style.... 'Rrrroooaaarrr' !!!!!

'Nuff said!


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Hi David,

Passes David 5 spoons I didn't need today, there you go Pal.

But gradually I want them back, you will get stronger and feel happier I know this for a fact.

Oracle here lol, but you can call me Win the singer, No No I insist xx

Passes SL 3 was it 3 SL?

Be Well All and I wont sing I promise, sort of .



Edited by Winb143
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Oh man .....cannot recall how many spoons you gave me..........let me go back and read it AGAIN ( sorry no spoons left).

12 spoons

I used all my spoons by 11:00 am today at work. It was a busy crazy snowing day with employees being late and only 4 appointments that spead to 15 and most were crazy sick animals. I was ready to take something by 10:30-11:00 for head pain #5 but I just have a harder time thinking- I start looking like an idiot old woman- LOL - really. My communication & processing skills went into the river early today.

I use none really prior to work. Except this morning ( and again NOW) my husband keeps talking to me?? What is up with that??? I can't talk!!!!!! He is certainly not a mind reader.

Not many after work as all I will do tonight is lay on the couch and watch 5 or 6 hours of NCIS.

I only had a doctor in office until noon so this afternoon I did not have the pressure of appointments but still had plently to keep me steady busy - I could not sit or rest or I would never of gotten up again,. I was sure to sit at computer for stimilation on my lunch hour as that recliner would of knocked me out and I do not think I could of made it back to work.

Mary- tomorrow is my day off- :)

Edited by MaryB
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Hi David,

since I learned about eating regularly through the day my spoon usage has generally improved. When I'm getting low on spoons, my brain literally 'nips'. It seems to actually be a physical sensation. If I'm talking to a customer who doesn't speak much english, this happens very quickly and so I'll push my microphone out of the way and munch on something quiet like a dried date while they are trying to explain to me what they need from me. In this way, I can get through 80 phone calls a day. I take a walk at luch time, I get 45 mins and don't chat to anyone or read. Although a bit anti-social, this replenishes me enough to get through the afternoon. If I'm struggling, I take a very strong soluble vitamin which gives me a boost.

I don't have much energy for other things and am finding it hard to keep in touch with friends, especially those who prefer me to make all the effort all the time. I have mentioned before how supportive my partner is. He does all the hoovering, dusting and most of the cooking. I do the washing, ironing, change the beds and clean the bathroom. It works for us! When I decided I should make more effort to eat properly instead of eating ready meals, that gave me a very bad week. Andy was on lates, so the meals were my responsibility. I simply did not have the energy to stand in the kitchen and cook after work. I felt so exhausted that week that I started to get quite depressed.

Night-time uses up a lot of spoons too. Like you, I get up often through the night and rarely feel rested when I wake up. Recently, I'm having problems sleeping past 05:30. This is not a good start to an 8 hour day! Sometimes it seems that the more tired I am, the poorer the quality of my sleep. I haven't really dreamt much since the sah, but this could be poor memory - perhaps I do dream but don't remember it?

I wouldn't like to say ow many spoons I get through in a day, it's certainly not as many as it was a year ago even though I now work full-time. My stamina has certainly increased, but when I'm tired my tolerance goes through the floor and I become a moody moo :oops:

Dawn x

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Thanks for adding Jimmy C! I thought EVERYONE knew about spoons on BTG. My bad. I didn't know so I googled and read up on it. I think any item could be used as spoons it just what they chose. It is so true though. I'm minus many today, have to hit up Keith's shelf!


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I also thought 'spoons' were well known on BTG but only that you have so many a day to use & that you need to keep some in reserve if you have a busy time coming up and if you use them all you will crash?

I'm going to read Jimmy's link too in case I've remembered it wrong :shock:

I have to say, though, that reading Davids & Sarah Lous number stats on how many spoons they used & on what baffled me (my problem, not the explanation) but, er.....you have to still be good at numbers to keep up???? When I still worked, there were no spoons left over, now there are a couple some days but not all. However, I'm going to read the link in case I've misunderstood :biggrin:

Michelle xx

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Dawn, I cannot believe you answer 80 phone calls a day. I freak over a few I answer when the receptionist are busy!

Honestly when I ask if they can spell their name I turn into an idiot! Such as the man says Woolever is his name - MIND YOU MY NAME STARTS with a W as well. I asked him 3or 4 time to sell it again by now I am totally freaking cause I cannot understand the first letter "W" and I end up making his account "Ooolever". This is how my brain works with letters and numbers I cannot hear and translate them. Kudos to you Dawn!

I have a few spoons left after a hectic 1/2 day of work..........making dinner is always tough on days I work. I need that 30 minute cookbook - if all the meals were not so fattenign in it and I also need to be really organized. I make a big pot of something twice a week so we have left overs but I need to cook about 2 or 3 more days.

I also have the house work on a pretty good schedule after a year and a half. I did call in a helper every 6 -8 weeks to do the heavier stuff for several months that really helped me feel caught up.

One thing that really helped me was getting organized. I am an organize person by nature and had to be to begin with but now I make sure things stay pretty orderly ( spices cabinet, linens, laundry, my closets, shoes and dressers were all cleaned out slowly to only have stuff I use so I am not wasting energy and time looking for stuff. I really do not need 10 pairs of black shoes anymore, or do I?? Do I really need clothes that are too small or I look awful in any longer??

I keep a box or bag upstairs, downstairs adn in the basement of stuff I come across and do not need or want and BAM it is outta here.

I turned Sundays into cleaning up refrig and cutting up containers of veggies for the week.

So today at 5:05PM I have about 3 spoons left. But I will not try to use them up! Or maybe I reloaded after work when I rested for a couple of hours. I can no longer rest if I have to go back to work as I will never go back. Monday I would of just slept until the end of the day.

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Although the spoon theory has been 'discussed' in other threads I'm thinking we have to remember that almost all the members have brain injuries and some might not remember reading about it before. Someone who remembers today might not remember tomorrow but then remember it again the next day. :wink:. -- and it may depend entirely on how many spoons they have left that day (how much energy they have and how well rested their brain is).

It's also hard for us to remember to provide the links all the time too! Because after all, we have brain injuries. :biggrin:

And I think I may have forgotten that I'm not supposed to have all these smiley faces in a thread unless its in the green room? :shock:

Anyway... Back to how many spoons do I have. David I have a really hard time answering these questions. My brain just doesn't like calculating numbers and percentages and figuring out how much of what is anywhere. Thank goodness for calculators and computer programs. All I know is that I seem to have enough spoons right now but my cutlery drawer was empty of spoons months ago when I was trying to work.

Sandi K. Xoxoxo

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OK I re-read it. I have no memory of reading that particular explanation before but it absolutely explains it to perfection.

It would be great if it could be translated into post brain injury daily life but there really wouldn't be many words that needed to be changed.

So if I start a day with 12 spoons it would be a bit like this. I am always up early, (usually 5am) that's probably a spoon already as I have to stay up because my son will be up in 2 hours for school. He wakes up & tells me he has to go to school dressed as an African tomorrow for a fund raising day :shock:, there's another spoon already!!

I am fanatic about cooking healthy home made soups with lots of veg in & meals for dinner with the same healthy content, so I think, OK, I'll do soup & prepare the meal for tonight before I get in the shower......2 hours later, all is cooked (or at least ready to cook) and I've used another 3 spoons trying to concentrate & stay in the kitchen because the cooker is on (if I leave the room, I'll start other things & it will all burn) Meanwhile, my dog is bouncing about hoping to be walked (twice a week my dad walks her so I don't need to factor this in). Also the mail has arrived, their will be a new appointment for either him or me, so I go to calendar to see if it clashes then start thinking 'who can I ask to take us if it's further than a drive of 20 minutes concentration'? Another spoon. Two spoons if it's long distance & I have no-one to ask to give up that day, worry is spoon depleting more quickly than physical effort for me. If I have to cook and walk my dog, that would be another 3 spoons (1 to walk her her, one or two to concentrate on the recipe & another one or two to decide which I need to do most).

If we have appointments & have to be somewhere at a certain time and possibly to several places at a certain time in one day......the spoons are used before I even get dressed.

Holding conversations at these appointments or driving ourselves to them using concentration spoons and it's all over. Dealing with a bad head pain day.....there are no spoons but someone still has to get children to school, be there & listening after school & cook a meal (sadly the dog has to take second place some days :frown: )

Then there is just the very basic housework, another few spoons or let it all build up & be flattened by the lack of spoons when there are no clothes left to wear.

Clearly, everyone will be different but for me, organisational skills, time management & memory have taken a hit so every day is hard & tiring mentally. Adding in the on-going fatigue (maybe from the brain drain?) and the head pain & there are just no extra spoons ever.

I lost count of my spoons very early in my reply :lol: One of you good at numbers folk might count it all up and tell me I have LOADS of spoons left each day - that would be so funny, but slightly embarrassing!!

Michelle xx

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Ok, I know you are all sick of seeing my cute dogs and my post but I forgot to add ....that I am getting better in so many areas and having some spoons because I basically have no social life nor really care to have one. I have no one in my life that sucks the life out of and does not want to better themselves. I have no patience for any kind of bologna or game playing. If I go somewhere I prefer to go alone so I do not have to talk and carry on a conversation with someone. I prefer not to talk! So I am a real pleasure to be around for sure!

Also been in therapy that helps me sort out my goals, plans and what is important to me at the time. I have worked on what to do about working in the enviroment I work in that is so chaostic (SP) and loud everyday. I work very hard on stopping the negative voices in my head and it really helps to look at the bright side of things. I do the best I can at work and have stopped comparing others to my work ethics.

The areas I excel at so I am told are my coping stragies, probelm solving and observing behaviors. But like I said I cannot process much once I hit that wall I sort of just shut down. Or if I had to answer the phone all day I would be gone by the 3rd phone call!

Edited by MaryB
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I concentrated so hard on my reply that Sandi & Mary posted while I was working on it, I think they cyber nicked some of my spoons there :lol:

Much as I love Spring (?) and summer, that depletes more spoons trying to keep on top of my garden along with all the year round depletion of available spoons.

Michelle xx

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Hey I am not even sad there is snow on the ground! I am thinking GREAT! I do not have to kill myself doign my beloved yard work.

I wanted to add another way I save spoons is I have pretty much given up being a 24 hour news _______. I was addicted to the news and what is going on in the world and at home but I cannot do it - it bothers me too much and as much as I love a good debate I cannot go there right now. SO I have given up the news and that gives me BACK at least 2 spoons a day.

Ok really last post.

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Mary, you're great. I shall be taking a few of your hints and tips to put into my own life. Especially the work one. I am wasting far too many of my spoons at work over other co-workers.

Michelle, I wish I had enough spoons left to work out your math but... Errr... No chance! Had a good chuckle when I pictured your face hearing that Dylan has to go to school as an African tomorrow. Read that sentence a few times!

I've already given my spare spoon to my Davie, I really could do with it back as I need some energy for the huge amount of will power I need, I've got my fasting diabetic bloods tomorrow and all I want right now is a great big mug of tea and some toast with marmite on.

Ages ago I printed out copies of 'the spoon theory' , given it to many family and friends, it's the easiest way to help them understand what my life is like after an SAH. I even had hospital nurses reading it and printing it off.

Ummm... I wonder if I plaster many of them and many of 'a letter from your brain' copies over my works staff room wall that perhaps anyone would take the hint!

I still want a spoon tattoo, that WILL be done, I'll always have spare spoons then eh!

Take care,

SarahLou Xx

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OK REALLY last one......SL my son tattoos now! After 6 years of top art school education! If I had a desirable spot for one I would want one as well but it will look melted in a few more years on me!!!!!!!

Oh golly that was funny! A melted spoon! Cause I am soooooo old my skin sags!!!!

Edited by MaryB
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Read my reply again.....tried to calculate again, there are not enough spoons, working or not. Someone needs to set the starting spoons higher I think :biggrin: But, for some people, the build up of spoons does happen & it's important to remember that - some of us really do get better!!!

As for the Tatts.....I really don't want a life long reminder of SAH as I still hope that one day it will be so distant that I forget it ever happened and I will be better. However, my older boy loves his tatts and would probably 'get' why some people want the reminder :devil:. Also, I'm not all that keen on pain after SAH and brain ops, so tattoos, piercings etc, whilst I admire them and am in awe of those who under take them, this is probably not for me......

Michelle x

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Afraid not SarahLou I haven’t, but as Sandi said (thanks Sandi) you forget things but SURE I haven’t read it as I think it strange I wouldremember that.

In honesty if it works for some then well and good personally life is way to short & sometimes hard to think about things like that how many spoons and the percentage of how you are doing things throughout the day.

I’m glad I see that there are others that didn’t know about it either.

Edited by Louise
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Hello all:

Thanks to all for responding. It was great to hear from everyone. When I said that everyone knew the spoon theory at BTG it was said as a joke. A little sarcasm. Of course not everybody knows what the spoon theory is. I was hoping to encourage conversation. Many joined in it. I, myself must spend every MINUTE of my day conserving, managing and being aware of my energy (spoons) or I would not survive the day without being severly affected. I cant afford not to.

I specifically wanted to hear different perspectives from my friends Sandy, Michelle, Sarah Lou and any others who are in different situations than myself schedule wise. I know SL has to walk. I know Michele has a sick child. I know Sandi volunteers and is otherwise active. I was interested in how fatigue affects their daily lives as well.

Also, those who work, do you have any spoons left at the end of the day. Michele I hope you were not offended by me using the word work as I was concerned for you as well as to how you get along with a sick child, house, volunteering and being an SAH survivor.

I think it was useful, and I don't remeber there ever being a specific post about it before. Now I need some extra spoons (energy) to get thru today and will be happy to share with others when I have a surplus!


Edited by amexdm
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Well, I try not to use all of them but...

Spoon issues for me:

sleeping at night or other issues of my PTSD



legs/hips/back pain

strange wobbly feeling when standing, but now not when walking.


switching activities even if it is to ones I love

being hard on myself in my recovery...always striving

Things that give me spoons:




yoga (as long as I listen to my body and not the teacher!)


'Planking' - lying totally flat

reading/writing poems


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