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  • Julie Jenner

Have you heard of the fork theory?




In 2018, Jenrose shared their fork theory and explained how those of us with a chronic illness, physical of mental, have a fork limit, ie, we can only cope with a certain amount of forks each day.


Many of you have no doubt already heard about the Spoon Theory (if not, please do check out my blog on this). In this, spoons are the units of energy you have available to you, and how you use it. Fork theory is kind of like the brother to this, in that it speaks about all the struggles, stresses and difficulties you deal with, and how they can impact you.


So, imagine everything that causes you any level of stress, or something that needs to be done, is like a fork being stuck in you. Now a teeny dessert fork might be manageable, you might even be able to cope with a few of them, but at what point does it become too much to handle. How about if it was big enough to feel more like a pitchfork? Would you be able to deal with that, and what about all the other smaller forks you have not managed to remove yet?


Quite often, the smaller forks are areas that we can do something about. For example, a small fork could represent you being hungry, needing to pee, having the wrong socks on, you get the idea. A bigger fork could be getting a puncture in your tyre, an unexpected bill arriving, or losing your phone. The bigger the stress, the bigger the fork.


So imagine you are feeling a little stressed or anxious already, and already have a few of those little forks sticking in you. You are managing, but not very comfortably.

Then you go out to your car to drive home from work and one of your tyres is flat due to a puncture and you don’t have s spare. This could very quickly feel like to much to deal with and you could start to spiral. The accumulation of all the forks is too much, and you are on the verge of a meltdown and you don’t know what to do, or who to call, or even where to start.


At this point, you need to start removing the smaller forks, as these are the easiest to deal with. If you are cold, put a coat on. If you are hungry, grab whatever snack you can find. You need to pee, go pee. Once you have removed some of the little forks, the bigger ones becomes easier to deal with. You get some of your capacity to think back, your options become clearer, you are more able to call for help and get started on finding a solution.


There are so many every day occurrences that add forks, so it is worth paying attention to how many you are collecting without realising. It is also worth noting which forks aren’t yours. If you are worrying about something that is not your responsibility to sort, get rid of the fork. If you are trying to get too much done in one day, recognise this and don’t add more forks than you can reasonably deal with.


You are allowed to look after yourself, so pay attention to how many forks you are

collecting, and hold onto your spoons.


Julie x


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Hello there! My name is Julie and I'm a counsellor. I provide a non-judgemental safe space for you. I offer accessible and flexible online therapy sessions so you have the freedom to be in a place that is more comfortable for you.


Please get in touch if you'd like to learn more or arrange an initial consultation. As always, I'm happy to answer any questions you may have.


Remember... It's good to talk. Talk helps.

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