When you live in pain every day, life is hard. And you need a lot of support.

Some of your friends and family will be very kind and helpful. Others may surprise you by not being there for you. Injuries and illnesses change relationships. Losses can change relationships. Sometimes it feels like you are starting over – like you need to find all new friends and family, a new team.

Many people have a hard time understanding what it is like to live in pain.

Being understood is a common struggle for people who live everyday with pain, limitations and losses.

Some people seem to get it, but many others do not.

Some may not get it because they are confused about why your injuries cause you so much suffering. Others are confused about why your doctors have not been able to fix your injuries. Even family members struggle to understand why some days are a little better and you can do a little more, while other days bring so much more pain and more limitations. The people, with the injuries and losses, who try and live through this roller coaster, also struggle to understand why it keeps happening.

For the people who try, but are still confused, I try and get my patients to give them the benefit of the doubt. These people are at least trying to understand. If they are kind and considerate in their questioning, they deserve a little patience on your part.

You can give them some trust and try to help them help you. This can be good for both of you. The main message that you want to give them is that you are doing the best you can. Don’t be afraid to say this simple phrase over and over again, with as much patience in your voice as you muster. You can also remind them, with a calm and reassuring voice, that you want to feel better, feel stronger and get on with your life, more than anyone.

Your tone of voice is often as important, and sometimes more important, than your words and explanations. It can be very hard to be reassuring to others, to help others, when it is you that needs the help and support. But, you are the one who knows the most about what has happened to you and what you are trying to live with every day. You know more details about your injuries, limitations and losses than anyone, including your family, doctors, lawyer, insurance company, employer. Way more than anyone.

You may not always feel confident about what you know. The roller coaster of pain can be very confusing and even harder to explain. But, even with this confusion, you are light years ahead of everyone else. You are the leader of the band, even when you didn’t ask for it.

Let me say this again. Others, even those closest to you, may be confused, but they need to trust that you are doing the best you can – not perfect, but the best you can, day after day after day.

And for others to remember that you will feel better and be able to do more to help yourself and them, when you all trust and support each other. Moving forward together is a much faster and better way.

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Thank you for reading. Thank you to Sharon McCutcheon (photo above) and Rachel Walker (image below), both from Unsplash, for your creative work. And, please feel free to steal, share or join our growing list of subscribers.