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The Magic of Helping Others


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An IMPORTANT MESSAGE from Altostrata, SA'S founder:

 

On 11/7/2020 at 8:23 AM, Altostrata said:

 

Bringing this to everyone's attention again --

 

This is such a vital community because members help each other. It wouldn't be what it is without that mutual kindness and attention.

 

One of the things that's very important to each person here is knowing that healing is possible. Please don't just go away when you feel better! "Pay it forward" by updating your Intro topic with your progress and come back to post your success story when you are finally clear of all those awful symptoms.

 

Nothing is more valuable to the community than seeing how recovery happens. You have lots of people hoping you'll get better. Please let them know when you do.

 

 

 

 

Sometimes, when you just can't feel OK, can't get comfortable, can't get a break from the awful neuro-emotions, one thing to try is to look for someone else on SA who is having a hard time and to compose a post to them. Look into their history (from their other posts) a tiny bit -- not for hours -- just to get a sense of who they are and what's up for them right now.

 

This has worked for me sometimes. When I have tried everything else and am still basically miserable. At least I get the sense that I am contributing something to somebody. And, sometimes, I'm surprised that I have a thought that might be useful. And it increases the cohesion of the board, and strengthens us as a group. Also, the people you respond to are then more likely to respond to you in the future.

 

If you don't feel you can even think about someone else's puzzle at the moment, even a simple, "I'm thinking of you, praying for you, rooting for you" makes a big difference.

 

This is not the be all and end all. It's not the answer to all your suffering. But, it's a tool in your toolkit that you can try when other things aren't working.

 

This is not always possible and I'm a big believer in sometimes you just need to let yourself fall apart (temporarily) and not do *anything*, much less think about others.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added message

1996-97 - Paxil x 9 months, tapered, suffered 8 months withdrawal but didn't know it was withdrawal, so...

1998-2001 - Zoloft, tapered, again unwittingly went into withdrawal, so...

2002-03 - Paxil x 20 months, developed severe headaches, so...

Sep 03 - May 05 - Paxil taper took 20 months, severe physical, moderate psychological symptoms

Sep 03 - Jun 05 - took Prozac to help with Paxil taper - not recommended

Jul 05 to date - post-taper, severe psychological, moderate physical symptoms, improving very slowly

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  • Administrator

This is so true.

 

Thinking and caring for others not only helps us get out of ourselves, the good feelings help stimulate neurogenesis. When you show compassion for others, you help yourself.

 

And getting interested, showing concern, and asking questions helps build relationships. Feeling like you have friends helps your brain recover, too.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Thinking and caring for others not only helps us get out of ourselves, the good feelings help stimulate neurogenesis. When you show compassion for others, you help yourself, too.

 

And getting interested, showing concern, and asking questions helps build relationships. Feeling like you have friends helps your brain recover, too.

 

 

I agree... especially about helping others helps us get out of ourselves. It's amazing. A friend had surgery and I went over to her place to help her out, did errands, etc. When I was driving home, I realized how really good it made me feel.

 

 

Charter Member 2011

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This topic was:

 

Support your fellow SA members

A trick to help when you're feeling awful

 

It just got a title upgrade! :)

1996-97 - Paxil x 9 months, tapered, suffered 8 months withdrawal but didn't know it was withdrawal, so...

1998-2001 - Zoloft, tapered, again unwittingly went into withdrawal, so...

2002-03 - Paxil x 20 months, developed severe headaches, so...

Sep 03 - May 05 - Paxil taper took 20 months, severe physical, moderate psychological symptoms

Sep 03 - Jun 05 - took Prozac to help with Paxil taper - not recommended

Jul 05 to date - post-taper, severe psychological, moderate physical symptoms, improving very slowly

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  • 1 month later...
  • Administrator

Giving of yourself not only helps others, it makes you feel good, too.

 

Helping Others Is Good For Your Health: An Interview with Stephen G. Post, PhD

 

By Therese J. Borchard Associate Editor 05/28/11 Psychcentral.com

 

Mahatma Gandhi once said that “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” I have benefited from that advice, for sure, especially in the months that I was crawling out of a very severe depression.

 

An expert on the perks that come with helping others is bestselling author Stephen G. Post, author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping: How the Power of Giving, Compassion, and Hope Can Get us Through Hard Times (Jossey-Bass, 2011). He is Professor of Preventive Medicine, Heard of the Division of Medicine in Society, and Director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics at Stony Brook University. Visit him on his website at www.stephengpost.com/hiddengifts.

 

I have the privilege of conducting an exclusive interview with him for the readers of Psych Central.

 

1. What are some of the proven health benefits of giving oneself to others?

 

Dr. Post: In light of our experience, I was struck by the 2010 Do Good Live Well Survey (www.VolunteerMatch.org) of 4,500 American adults. 41 percent of Americans volunteered an average of 100 hours a year. 68 percent of those who volunteered reported that it made them feel physically healthier; 89% that it “has improved my sense of well-bring” and 73% that it “lowered my stress levels.” Not bad! It worked for us.

 

The therapeutic benefits of helping others have long been recognized by everyday people. This concept was first formalized in a highly cited and often reprinted article by Frank Riessman that appeared in 1965 in Social Work. Riessman defined the “helper therapy” principle on the basis of his observations of various self-help groups, where helping others is deemed absolutely essential to helping oneself. These are grassroots groups that nowadays involve tens of millions of Americans.

 

As the saying goes, “if you help someone up the hill, you get closer yourself.” Whether the group is focused on weight loss, smoking cessation, substance abuse, alcoholism, mental illness and recovery, or countless other needs, a defining feature of the group is that people are deeply engaged in helping one another, and are in part motivated by an explicit interest in their own healing.

 

2. Why does something as simple as just thinking about helping offer physical benefits?

 

Dr. Post: In one famous study that has been replicated, study subjects are given a list of charities to which they might contribute. They are wearing an fMRI device that shows where the brain is active. When they decide to contribute to a particular item on the list and check a box next to it, the mesolimbic pathway lights up. This is area of the brain associated with joy and the release of feel good chemicals like dopamine.

 

This reward mechanism is deeply evolved, and is probably related to the fact that helping behavior is so important for the survival of groups. As Darwin pointed out, sympathy is evolutionarily advantageous because it is the basis of the altruism and prosocial helping that allows any tribe or group to flourish and survive. A lot of writing these days is on “group selection,” which explains human nature in ways that “individual selection” (the purely gladiatorial image of conflict between individuals) does not.

 

3. What are some ways that people can make helping others a daily practice?

 

Lots of things can help. Of course meditation, which deflects attention away from self. Adherence to moral principle, such as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” can be important. Being part of a community of volunteers is useful, as is being around good role models and the right friends.

 

But more practically, we should focus our efforts on some needful group that we feel called toward. For me this is the deeply forgetful (people with dementia), and I have been involved in providing caregiver respire for many years. Also, we should help in a way that uses our talents and skills optimally. This allows people to feel effective.

 

....

 

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/05/28/helping-others-is-good-for-your-health-an-interview-with-stephen-g-post-phd/

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 1 month later...
  • Administrator

Bumping -- this is important for us all to remember. Pay it forward -- help others in gratitude for the help you have received.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 1 month later...
  • Administrator

"The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up." -- Mark Twain

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 1 month later...
  • Administrator

Bumping -- because this is something everyone who can post can do. No matter how bad you feel, cheer someone else up on this site.

 

Everyone likes to see encouraging messages -- and it makes BOTH of you feel better.

 

Read this related topic Compassion Therapy.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 5 months later...
  • Administrator

I'm bumping this again -- it's so important.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Helping others really does help oneself.

 

Back in 2003, I got a back injury at my job as a nurse's aide. I was in so much pain I thought I'd never walk again, but after a month of physical therapy I knew I was going to be more or less restored, except for lifting heavy objects. My Physical Therapist wanted me to go back to work part time just to stay in the habit of working, but I hated the job - and it was a good thing I didn't go back because I also had an undiagnosed partially fractured pelvis. Doctors, again.

 

Just to keep Ken, the P.T., happy, I volunteered at my church's food pantry instead of returning to my job. It was one of the best experiences I've ever had in my life. I worked at the food pantry two half days a week, and in between, made up a social services reference file and wrote grant proposals, some of which actually brought in money.

 

Speaking of which, I was barely getting by on the skimpy Workers' Comp checks, but this was one of the happiest periods of my life. I ate inexpensive but healthy meals (a lot of homemade soup and sandwiches), shopped the library book sales (25 cents per paperback), and the thrift stores. When I was ready to go back to work, the minister's wife gave me glowing a recommendation which led to the job from which I retired, the best paying job I've ever had.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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  • 2 years later...

This seems to be the only thing giving me temporary relief from anxiety/depression...

focus on kindness and compassion to yourself and others... focus on the qualities of your BEST self...

I found a helpful meditation  by Dan Roberts a cognitive therapist... google "developing kindness and compassion"... or , if anyone is interested , I can summarize it here.

Blessings to all who share this journey ...

xoxo

findingme

 

Since approximately 1992

have been on and off Paxil , Prozac(had a horrible reaction), Lorazepam , Celexa, Lexapro, Risperdal ( which was supposed to "kick start" the Lexapro) , and Wellbutrin...

By 2013, I was only on Wellbutrin and generic Lexapro ( 20mg)

I weaned successfully off the Wellbutrin, but by the time I was down to 10mg Lexapro, I suffered panic attacks on bridges, and creeping depression ,

July 2014, reinstated 20 mg generic Lexapro

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After a long year of awful depression taking over, it's now that I know to focus on my life of compassion over cruelty.

 

All the best and sending positive vibes your way.

-3rd attempt at discontinuing Pristiq-

2011-Started 50mg Pristiq from gp.
After f/n no difference started 100mg. Aggression, depression and suicidal tendencies increased.
2011-first attempt at discontinuation of pristiq; Psychiatrist halved (cut in half) 100mg tablets (contrary to recommendations)to 50mg for first week, replacing with 20mg prozac and a low dosage tranquilizer (apologies I cannot remember the name) 
Withdrawal symptoms included: confusion, disassociation, anxiety, chills, tingling in the face, increased depressed state, anxiety, agitation and aggression. Confusion of what to do with body parts and facial expression and increased heart rate were also noted. 
After 10 days psychiatrist discontinued all medications and started 100mg pristiq again.
2012- Same doctor halved tablet again to 50mg first week and recommended Valium to sleep at night. 
Withdrawal symptoms were same as previous. psychiatrist once again increased dosage back to 100mg after 2 weeks of adverse side effects.
2012-present. I am still on 100mg of Pristiq. I have seen multiple psychiatrists all of whom would not assist in discontinuing pristiq as they all believed I am suffering from ptsd and bpd and needed psychological help-which I have successfully been doing however still none will help with coming off the drug- I truly believe Pristiq is the underlying reason I cannot 'get 100% better' as my aggression increased severely when starting the drug.

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  • 5 months later...
  • Moderator

I find often that even in receiving we give to others and certainly in giving we receive and on and on it goes.

 

Yes, positive vibes to all.

2022 May- continuing with limited activity on site, just something I need to do right now

Started with psycho meds/psychiatric care circa 1988.  In retrospect, and on contemplation, situational overwhelm.

Rounding up to 30 years of medications(30 medication trials, poly-pharmacy maximum was 3 at one time).

5/28/2015-off Adderal salts 2.5mg. (I had been on that since hospital 10/2014)

12/2015---just holding, holding, holding, with trileptal/oxcarb at 75 mg. 1/2 tab at hs.  My last psycho med ever!  Tapered @ 10% every 4 weeks, sometimes 2 weeks to

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016.  And.....I quit smoking 11/2021. Lapsed.  Redo of quit smoking 9/28/2022.  Can you say Hallelujah?(took me long enough)💜

None of my posts are intended as medical advice.  Please discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical provider. manymoretodays

 

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You reap what you sow

trintellix 1 mg and rexulti .5mg

 

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  • 6 months later...

This is important.

CD off meds in July 2015, not on any medication since. Went through WD nightmare, now dealing with normal anxiety, but decided not to leave this forum yet because I want to support and give hope to others. ♡

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  • 10 months later...

Great  thread! I'm helping to take care of my sick grandma next week. Although my main intention is to help her, this seems to help me on so many levels too.

I have been on so many medications since I was 20 and diagnosed as "mentally ill" that I have lost count.

Right now, however I have been taking:

Lamictal 25 mg: I went on it in March for only 13 days, then cold turkeyed off when I thought I was developing a rash because of it. Pretended to go back on it, but didn't. Not the best idea, but I had no way to reduce the dose. Anyhow I had no adverse withdrawal reactions, probably because I was on it for less than 2 weeks.

Abilify 20 mg:  I have been on this for several years. Actually at least half the time I have spent as a meds "consumer" I have been on this nasty pill. I finished tapering off it at the beginning of 2016. Was reinstated during the 4 days I spent in a psych ward in March. Tapered off it again in 10 weeks, from say March 15-June 30. Needless to say this is not exact, but I remember I was off it before July 4 (patriotic holiday in America!) I am doing fine, although I know I may have to wait till Christmas or later to know I am out of the danger zone for withdrawal psychosis. The main thing I notice about being off is that I no longer crave sweets all the time and am losing weight without trying. Good thing since I used to weigh 350 lbs.!

Effexor 150 mg: This is the real trouble-maker. Since I have no other way of tapering I do the best I can by bead counting. I unscrew the gel capsule and count out the tiny micro-capsules or beads inside. This works fairly well with the generic time release version. Only 120 beads to count of almost identical size. Lately I have been "holding" at 20 bead removal due to some major stress in my life. Moving hundreds of miles from my old home and a bout of strep throat that wouldn't respond to antibiotics.  I guess that means I'm on 120 mg of Effexor right now. On October 16 I am going to recommence my taper since I am safely moved and no longer have strep! 

I admit now that I did something stupid. I had trouble opening the extra strength gel capsules containing the beads so I reinstated at the original dose for a week. I know it's not good to play ping pong with my brain, but I could never open the capsules without spilling those microscopic balls all over so I was never sure what dosage I was taking! Thank the LORD that I finally have the old kind again and can safely count out the amount. I am now back on 135 mg and feel somewhat better.

October 30, 2016. I am down to 120 mg effexor. November 27, 2016. Down to 105 mg effexor. December 25, 2016. 90 mg effexor. January 15, 2017. 75 mg effexor. January 21. 82.5 mg effexor. January 23, 90 mg again. Feb. 14, 81.25 mg. Mar. 15, 72.5 mg. Mar. 27, 65 mg.  Apr. 9, 58.75 mg. Apr. 24, 52.5 mg.

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  • 6 months later...

I know pracite meta meditation of buddhismu to  be able to connect to people even if I get paranoid during my withdrawel. I hope to remember that even if there is any bad intention towards me those people are same as me and we all want to be happy and kind. I also try to remember this when I am angry at shrinkers and psychiatric workers, because I am really angry and they seem to me often completely inhuman. Like tibetian monks toward chinesse opressor I try to see the light and struggle in their hearts and be compassionate. Because the angryness caused me some problems several times. One must be diplomatic and carefull not to get in to trouble when dealing with mental health system.

Also, I am a social worker and I think one of the reason why I survived the last ten years on strong psychiatric drugs is the fact that I had to wake up every day and go to work help others. This is some basic instinct which helps us survive even in the midst of hell. I hope that this will help me also during the last part of the withdrawel, and I am happy that on the lower dose I am more able to feel others needs.

2002 - MDMA induced psychosis, seroquel and st. worth. Abstinence from drugs. 2003 - psychosis relapse: olanzapin and citalec

2012 - 5mg of zyprexa and 150 Wellbutrin, starting with ayurveda helped
2015 - too fast and uniformed withdrawal; hospitalized and remedicated, first to 15mg Zyprexa; lowered to 10mg of Zyprexa when discharged. Abstinence from alcohol now on.

2016, sept – hospitalized again, forced treatment: 10 mg Zyprexa and 400mg amisulprid (Amilia).

2017 hospitalization (added abilify)

2018 so far last hospitalization

2019 heart palpitations, abrubt abilify withdrawal, stabilization on 5mg of olanzapin since then

 

Current medications and dosages:
5mg of olanzapin

 

Current supplements: Mentat (ayurvedic herbal blend for mental issues), St. worth (one cup a day), I drink mineral water

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This is a lovely thought and advice. I will try to put it into practice more frequently. 

 

:)

Previously - zopiclone, risperidone, lyrica (pregabalin), ativan (lorezapam)
01/Aug/2016 -  65mg effexor, 4.5mg olanzapine, 15mg mirtazpine
12/Aug/2016 -  75mg effexor, 4.5mg olanzapine, 15mg mirtazpine
03/Oct/2016 -  70mg effexor, 4.5mg olanzapine, 15mg mirtazpine
29/Oct/2016 -  65mg effexor, 4.5mg olanzapine, 15mg mirtazpine
25/Nov/2016 -  65mg effexor, 4mg olanzapine, 15mg mirtazpine
25/Dec/2016 -  60mg effexor, 3.6mg olanzapine, 15mg mirtazpine
18/Jan/2017 -  60mg effexor, 5.25mg olanzapine, 15mg mirtazpine
27/Mar/2017 -  54mg effexor, 5.25mg olanzapine, 15mg mirtazpine
23/Apr/2017 -  54mg effexor, 7.5mg olanzapine, 15mg mirtazpine
09/May/2017 -  75mg effexor, 7.5mg olanzapine, 15mg mirtazpine
08/Jun/2017 -  75mg effexor, 6.75mg olanzapine, 15mg mirtazpine
18/Jul/2017 -  75mg effexor, 6mg olanzapine, 15mg mirtazpine
Sometimes valium. Not daily. Supplements - Sterols and Stanols.
Note : I would really hope that nobody uses my tapering history as a guideline. It might not work well for somebody else tapering similar medications.
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  • 3 years later...
  • Administrator

Bringing this to everyone's attention again --

 

This is such a vital community because members help each other. It wouldn't be what it is without that mutual kindness and attention.

 

One of the things that's very important to each person here is knowing that healing is possible. Please don't just go away when you feel better! "Pay it forward" by updating your Intro topic with your progress and come back to post your success story when you are finally clear of all those awful symptoms.

 

Nothing is more valuable to the community than seeing how recovery happens. You have lots of people hoping you'll get better. Please let them know when you do.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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