The Spoon Theory for Generation Z; A New Explanation of Living with Chronic Pain - Author Elizabeth Eckert

The Spoon Theory for Generation Z; A New Explanation of Living with Chronic Pain


The Spoon Theory for Generation Z


Those of us with chronic conditions like Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Ehler’s Danlos, Lyme, mental illness and many more, often have the terrible and heart-wrenching task of explaining to our children what it all means. If our children are young, this mission can be even more daunting. Many of us are well versed on the beautiful story of the Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino which has helped many people understand that the more chores, outings, stressful events etc. that we have in our day, the less energy, and coping skills we have left to handle what may come our way. However, the newer generations with their “I-need-fast-answers-that-apply-to-me” way of thinking may not accept or “get” the spoon theory.


The new and modified spoon theory…


I have 4 children in the Gen Z category and I recently discovered that the Spoon Theory was not sinking in to my children’s heads. What do they care about spoons? I stumbled around to find a way to help them understand what it is like to have a recent diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis on top of my 20-year-old diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis. The helpless feeling, I had growing, spilled over when I went to talk to my youngest, my 16 year old Son who has Autism, Fibromyalgia and a plethora of other disabilities. I had no idea how to help him to understand the spoon theory and his first response was “Mom, why the hell are you talking about spoons”.


The helpless feeling I had growing…


Just when I thought all hope was lost, my brilliantly mature almost 18-year-old Son came to my rescue and said… “So, imagine you are playing Minecraft in survival mode, hardcore version. You have limited possessions and the enemies are strong. To built anything and continue is difficult as you don’t have all the things you need. Each time an enemy gets you, your health bar drops. With chronic pain disorders the enemies are chores, problems, arguments, stress, weather, outings, new symptoms, injuries and people that don’t believe or care that your sick. Each one of those things hurts your health bar and makes you weaker and its harder to fight off enemies and keep building. You also have a food bar that goes down over the day even if you don’t get attacked and you have to keep adding to it, so it doesn’t make your health bar go down faster. With chronic pain, you have to keep adding help from others, happy moments, successes, healthy food, water, vitamins, medications and rest to your food bar or it will lower your health bar faster.

…imagine you are playing Minecraft in survival mode, hardcore version.


“People, like you and Mom, that have chronic pain and other terrible symptoms are living in Minecraft survival mode with bad enemies and limited resources. Getting through each day is difficult and most days your food bar is empty and health bar is almost empty at the end of each day. Sometimes you start the day with both bars at half. Without help and rest your bars go down too fast to build anything”.

My boys understand now and I think they added two more hearts to my health bar today! ????


How did you help your children understand your daily struggles with a chronic illness? Share your story!

Don’t forget to check out my young adult/adult/fantasy novel, “When I Died” and join Adrianna, Jonathan and Dierdre through death, fated love, heart-wrenching loss, unlikely friendships, unimaginable evil, and self-reflection that all can relate to. When I Died is also available on Amazon, Chapters, Kobo and signed copies can be purchased directly through me 🙂


  1. Yvette on January 16, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Yes, I love that you used mine raft. I struggle with this also, but I think I am finding my way in how to balance it all and how to explain it to my kids. I am sorry you have to deal with yet one more diagnosis.

  2. Spot on January 17, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    I wasn’t familiar with the Spoon Theory, either. Lol I’m going to do more reading on this now.

    But what a great way to break it down in a way your son could relate to. ????????

  3. Danielle on January 17, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    Wow! That is an amazing comparison. How awesome that your son was able to help your younger son understand. I’m sorry that you have to deal with all those diagnoses.

  4. amanda robbins on January 17, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    Love this post. I love how minecraft was used to help them understand <3

  5. Pieter Cronjé on September 14, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Love how he used something that his younger sib that was also suffering was able to grasp. Cudos 😂😂😂

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