What is a community? Merriam Webster defines community as people with common interests living in a particular area as well as other other definitions. Why is community important to our mental wellness? Communities provide support. They are groups of people that we have things in common with.They are groups of people that can understand where we are coming from. They are groups of people that are there to have fun with.
There are many different communities that one can belong to. There is the local community in your neighborhood, your town, your county, your state, etc. There is a school community. You have a community at work. There is your spiritual community. There are multiple support groups that provide community. There are sports communities, hobby communities, professional communities that may be different than your work community. At one point or communities were small and local, but with the addition of social media, our communities are much more broad. I have been able to join groups about art, gardening, herbs, and so many more. I have met so many people that I would never have known otherwise.
Right now, the BRCA2 gene mutation community is one I need. This is a group of “previvors; it is a community of people with the gene mutation, making them more at risk for breast and ovarian cancer as well as other cancers. Wednesday, I am going in for a breast biopsy. It is most likely nothing more than your average area of calcification, but because of my history, they are recommending a biopsy. If for some reason, it is a malignant area, it is most likely DCIS and stage 0. I’m not sure what my options are at that point, but the reality is that I will be thinking more about a prophylactic mastectomy. This is not a surgery I want and I will definitely need support if I decide to do it. I probably need support now, more than just what I currently have. I need that community of others that are in the grey area, that are playing the waiting game, waiting to see when they get cancer not if they get cancer. I have family that has had breast cancer and treatment, but noone that has had a double mastectomy to prevent cancer. This is where I need the support. This is the community I need right now. I could use the community of parents of kids with ADHD and with ASD and I belong to Facebook communities for this. I should see if I am part of any BRCA communities and participate in them more.
My mental wellness could be improved by belonging to a community of previvors. I just liked and requested to join a few communities on Facebook. I have already joined FORCE and Bright Pink on Facebook but maybe I should look for in person communities. I am doing ok right now leading up to my biopsy and I haven’t really shared that I am going for a biopsy with many people. I’ve only told my husband, and 2 friends. I thought about talking to my niece who has had a biopsy and cancer treatment but decided against it. Maybe I should use the community I have more than I do or have but I don’t think I’ll say anything until after my biopsy. I need to think about using my community more than I have. It can help prevent unneeded stress and anxiety or at least have more people to share that stress and anxiety with.
Do you use your community to help with stress and anxiety? Do you having a community is helpful?