The Best Analogy To Explain ‘Energy Debt’ With Chronic Illness




By Teresa Ledwith in The Mighty.


The other day I was struggling, as many of us with chronic illness do, to explain myself to a friend. As usual, I had to give up. I can’t explain to her why it’s not easy for me to drive in and out of my nearest city (an hour’s drive each way, a quarter of which is on narrow, twisty rural roads) several times — or even once — a week.  I’ve tried using the spoon theory, which makes a lot of sense to me, but I don’t seem to be so good at explaining it to others. And people often don’t want to or have the time to follow links and read articles that you send them.

I don’t claim to have invented the battery analogy. I’ve seen it many times before, particularly in connection with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), the neurological disease I live with. But today, possibly because I recently got a new laptop with a much longer-lasting battery than its predecessor, I suddenly felt like I could use it to make a  good explanation of what it’s like to have ME and other chronic illnesses — something to show to our friends and family members to help them understand.


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