Explaining Injury to Family and Friends

Hi everyone! Sal here again. I think we can all understand that explaining injury can be a delicate subject depending on the type of injury and the relationship you have with the person who you are telling/who is asking. So, I’m going to break it down into pieces that I hope will be helpful to you.

Understanding what is going on yourself

We all know that the best way to test if we truly know a subject is to teach it, and this can be a bit flustering (not sure if that’s a word) when someone says, “so what’s happened to you?”. Understanding what is happening in your own body is essential to being able to explain it to others. Maybe you have great intuition and can tell what’s wrong but often you will need help from a health professional for this:

Seeing a health professional that explains and empowers you

A great Health Professional will work out what is going on and explain it in a way that you understand. Now if you know you are going to have trouble explaining it to your loved ones, I recommend asking the Health Professional to write it down.

At Barefoot we use what we call the Barefoot Physiotherapy Plan – we give these to clients, so they can share with friends and family as the body is a complex thing. Because what we do takes people through a process, we love empowering people to know where in the journey they are.

Not being defined by your injury

Now while I love bodies and what is happening to them, on a personal level let me say this: It’s not the most interesting thing about you! You as a human are WAY more interesting than your injury. So if you haven’t been able to participate in life fully because of your body and you would prefer to talk about other things at an event (eg BBQ) I can highly recommend preparing a little – writing down 4 things in your notebook that you’d love to talk to people about (ideas: TV show you’re loving, book you’ve read, documentary you’ve watched, something cool that happened at work, a cool animal you saw recently). This helps with only having experience lately of not being able to participate.

There is another trick here as well… answer the question you wish you were asked. So, if someone says ‘how are you?’ you can rephrase this in your mind as ‘how is your garden going at the moment?’. This may mean you speak about how you’ve been in a Sunflower growing competition that was a hilarious disaster because the possums kept coming to attack the delicious small plants. This is especially helpful with people you may not know so well that you don’t want to share more personal details with.

And sometimes you just have to nod and smile

It’s your body… choose who you want to share information with. Sitting down one on one with a close friend is very different to an extended family brunch. Sometimes in a group situation it is best to nod and smile and gently educate people, maybe suggesting you have seen someone about it and thank them for their input.

And as always – if this is something you’re struggling with or would like more tips please ask any of the physios at Barefoot