What is a Spoonie?

By Susan Paardekam

November 30th, 2020

Since I became ill, I have had to be extremely mindful of my energy level. A commonly used metaphor for this is Spoon Theory.


Spoon Theory

In short, spoon theory explains the day of a person living with illness as a series of choices. You start your day with a limited number of spoons. Each spoon represents some of your energy. If you shower, you lose a spoon. If you call a friend, you lose a spoon (or two, or three), etc.

Most healthy people are used to spoons being pretty much unlimited and they can do what they want without really thinking about it. They are used to waking up the next day with a recharged supply.

spoonie chronic illness earrings
handmade chronic illness spoonie earrings invisible illness jewelry spoons


Life as a Spoonie

As a ‘spoonie’, I have had to get used to living my days with very few spoons. I reach my limit fast. A 30-minute phone call with a friend can cost me half of my spoons for the day. I constantly have to decide what I do and what I don’t do.

It is made even more complicated by the fact that I never really know how many spoons I have. If only it were as straightforward and tangible as the metaphor suggests! My life would be a lot simpler.

The Spoonie Collection

Many people with chronic illness identify as spoonies. It helps in explaining our daily reality. The spoonie collection honors this by helping raise awareness and giving spoonies a visible symbol. 

The Spoonie Collection is currently sold out. Sign up to the newsletter below or follow me on Instagram to get an update if it returns!

There is so much more to say about this and I will elaborate in later posts how it affects my daily life in more detail.

If you are interested in the full original story of Spoon Theory, click here.  

About the author

Susan Paardekam

Hi there! I’m Susan. I created Claymeleon to tell stories about my life with a chronic illness through handmade polymer clay earrings. What started as a hobby to pass the time on sick leave has turned into a small business that hopes to inspire vulnerability through creativity. When I’m not creating, I can generally be found resting on the sofa or doing puzzles with a bucket-sized cup of herbal tea.

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With my chronic illness, I am not stuck in bed all day – but I am much more limited in what I can do. In this way, I am kind of stuck in between “sick” and “healthy” as we normally think of them, not really belonging to either.

Stuck in the middle, I am constantly having to make conscious decisions on things that are generally automatic when you are (acutely) “sick” or “healthy”. The four main balancing acts I have to manage on a daily basis are:



The Claymeleon blog is pretty much on pause, as you can probably tell by the lack of recent posts ;). If there's a new blog, I will link it in a release newsletter. Sign up to the newsletter if you want to hear about it if/when it happens!