As you probably know, I'm one of those people who suffers from chronic pain. I have arthritis, I'm currently dealing with a knee injury, and it all adds up. This limits what I can do, both from a physical capability perspective (sitting cross-legged on the floor is not within my capabilities, unless you're going to pay for the necessary painkillers and a hefty guy to haul my carcass back upright) and from an available resources perspective; I simply don't have enough spoons. Do read that piece, if you haven't already, and then come back.
It's the lack of spoons that leads to the insidious cycle in the title. It's common for me to have enough spoons to cook a good dinner, but run out of spoons (having been sure to reserve enough to go to bed) before I can finish dealing with the mess generated by it. So now I have dirty pots and pans sitting in the kitchen, waiting for me to deal with them. This is somewhat daunting mentally, and of course requires spoons. So now, the next dinner is a higher spoon project than the one I did last time, because I have to clean things up before I can start it. And then I run out of spoons before getting ANY of it cleared up. The vicious cycle means that even though I might have enough spoons to cook, I don't have enough spoons to make dinner, because of the prerequisite tasks. Life is unfair like that, and this disproportionately affects sufferers from chronic conditions.
It wouldn't surprise me to learn that chronic pain and depression are linked. They have very similar effects on life activities, albeit by somewhat different mechanisms, and having dealt with them both at one time or another, I honestly don't know which sucks less. Both take (potentially) mind-altering drugs to treat, and that makes people wary of treating them. I worry about addiction and tolerance every single time I need to take a painkiller, and frequently argue myself out of taking painkillers even if the pain is too intense to stand.