For me, it helps very much to know, and be certain of, what I want communicate. Even when what I want to communicate is uncertainty.
This came to regarding something else, but I think it applies. I have physical challenges, and I have special parking tags. I appear quite healthy. This can cause distress to some strangers and even people who know me, but not well. I have many friends with my same condition and they get quite miffed at people's ignorance and lack of understanding and support. I rarely have a problem with strangers or friends. I believe that this is because I am very clear about what my condition is, and what I need to do to manage it.
When someone sees me in a wrist brace they often ask if it's carpal tunnel. Elevator people. I spiel my sound bite, cheerfully: no, I have a condition that makes my collagen defective and my joints have a tendency to dislocate at random.
So, because I'm clear about who I am what I need, that's usually end of discussion.
Even when I don't know what I need, I can be clear about communicating that, too. "hunny, I'm feeling lost and confused right now and I'd like to just talk it out, if you've got some time."
(that works especially well for me as my boyfriends would prefer I get to the point)
Baby steps are good progress.