I’m continuously inspired by the stories I’m honored to bear witness to regarding how you’re living your life with a chronic or other life-altering illness. I’ve heard countless stories of courage, perseverance, and faith. What I realized this morning is that I’ve spent my entire career working in arenas where community is key. I’ve worked in drug and alcohol outpatient social model programs. I’ve worked at The Wellness Community where the word “community” is the optimal word. Community is how we get through the ups and downs of living with a chronic or other life-altering illness.
I remember one of the questions that Oprah Winfrey used to ask her guests was, “What do you know for sure?” This morning it really hit me. I know for sure that we can’t live in isolation. The diagnosis of a health challenge often inflicts the feeling of isolation upon us because we believe the struggle is ours and ours alone. I’m a firm believer in support groups because they get us out of the idea of being “terminally unique”. The notion that we are going through this ordeal and no one has ever done this before. Support groups break through that myth and put you in the midst or in some cases a sea of others facing the same challenge(s).
We’re social creatures. We thrive in community. So think of this…if we thrive in community and we focus on thrive don’t you think your body, your cells, will thrive in community? The mind, body, spirit connection is strong so building one part of the triad up helps build the others. Support and nurturance give your body the physical, emotional, and spiritual nutrients it needs to thrive. Having others who you can rely on and who rely upon you makes you feel nurtured and needed. You belong to something larger than yourself.
I believe in community so much and obviously so do many others because entire movements have been established to create community. Think of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Their “Race for the Cure” and the Avon Breast Cancer Walk gets thousands of people together in one place, engaging in one activity, for a common cause. It’s why walk-a-thons have become so popular for fundraising by nonprofits serving those with a chronic or life-threatening illness…it builds community.
I hope you find your community, your tribe. I believe it will reduce stress, help you make better decisions about your health, and keep you connected to others. I’m prescribing lots of connection on your journey to wellness.