It is not helpful to discount or diminish any persons’ pain or suffering.

By discounting, you are (thinking) or saying to this person,I think you are suffering a lot less than you say you are. What you are saying, with your attitude, is that you know more about this person’s inner experience than they do. This is quite an arrogant position to take, even if you are just thinking it.

And, understandably, it is hurtful and offensive.

A more useful way to think about another person’s pain is to think about the problem as being more, not less.  The person’s experience of pain is not less of a real problem. It is  more of a real problem, because there are more elements to it than just the physical nature of the person’s injury.  This is especially useful if you think that the person’s pain is at least partly related to stress.

We all know Tina Fey. A lot of people love her from her Sarah Palin imitations on Saturday Night Live. I saw an interview with her once and she offered a very clever explanation of how to do impromptu comedy. She said it was very simple, just yes and and.  So, the first person says I had a bad dream last night and you say yes you did, and I bet it was very scary. Then, you take the story off in another direction. For example, you might build on your response by saying, scary dreams are hard for a lot of people. My brother got so scared that he would wet the bed.

Each person in the comedy routine then uses the same formula of yes and and to keep it rolling. Very clever I thought.

So how can this formula help us to understand, and communicate about, chronic or long-term pain? The secret is to follow Tina’s lead.

You want to think and say, yes you have physical pain, yes I know it has been very hard for you and I suspect it has caused a lot of stress in many parts of your life. Now, you have an opening to talk about the stresses caused by the person’s injuries and pain.

This simple strategy will help in your own understanding and help you to better communicate your understanding to people with injuries and pain. Yes and will also be an important part of the answer to why chronic pain is so overwhelming. That is why I have created this blog, entitled Pain And Loss.

Next time, I will add to this line of thinking with a more complete answer to the big question:

Why is chronic pain so overwhelming to so many people, all over the world.

Stay tuned.

*   *    *

Thank you for reading. Thank you to Brittanica  (image above) and Rachel Walker (image below, from Unsplash) for your creative work.

Please feel free to steal, share and join our growing list of subscribers.