Communication is vital and has a role in every part of our lives. We can convey messages with words, our body language and the things we do. For most of us, not a day goes by where we don’t communicate in one way or another. The skill of good communication becomes particularly important when you’re living with a disability, a long term health condition or chronic pain though.
Learning how to communicate well, and especially how to communicate your needs, is not an easy task. You might feel like you don’t want to bother people, or ruin anything, by being honest about how you’re feeling, or what you need. However, the journey of managing chronic pain is made so much easier when we learn to accept what’s happening, prioritise our needs and effectively communicate the support we need. There might be a task you’re struggling with, or you might be the kind of person who doesn’t like saying no to people, but in the long run, it is far more damaging to continue ‘keeping up appearances’.
Improving your communication skills will make it easier to help your loved ones understand what you’re dealing with. I know I have been guilty of not wanting to ‘bother’ anyone with my struggles in the past, but it is true that opening up and talking makes a world of difference. When we let people know how we’re feeling, we give them the opportunity to help support us and problem solve. Often there have been simple solutions to the things I’ve struggled with in the past, solutions that I would not have known about if I hadn’t communicated how I was feeling to my loved ones.
Start small, perhaps there is a household task you can no longer complete and you’d like to discuss with your family. Use the smaller everyday things as a chance to build on your communication skills. Once you’re more comfortable, then you can begin to tackle the bigger things like communicating your needs at work, for example. It can feel like a massive hill to climb to make changes like this, but you’re not alone.
Our 12 module digital pain management programme covers communication in more detail, and will give you the building blocks to build on your skills. And, here at The Leva Clinic, we’re always here to help support you on your journey. Our team is ready and waiting to support you to manage your pain and get back to the life you want.
If you would like to get in touch with Shona you can follow her on twitter, instagram or drop her a message via her website.