During the bulk of my abusive marriage, I didn’t realize how isolated I was, but I did recognize the fact that other families weren’t like mine. The shame of not knowing how to fix my problems overwhelmed me, and the frustration of having no one to talk to hurled me into depression. The guilt of being ill-functioning for my children and husband kept me low. It was a devastating downward spiral that ended only after I realized I was not alone in my struggles.
Perhaps my “aha moment” would have come more quickly if Band Back Together, the website created by Becky Sherrick Harks, was available to me then.
Known as Aunt Becky to the Internet, Sherrick Harks created a website called bandbacktogether.com and invites everyone suffering from trauma, sickness, mental illness or abuse to share their story online.
Dr. Melanie Greenberg, our recent guest on HealthyPlace TV, has combined the Eastern-based practice of Mindfulness with cognitive behavior therapy to create a powerful program that helps her patients manage their mental health problems.
Last night on the HealthyPlace Mental Health Radio Show our guest Nikki Rosen shared her story of childhood abuse, drug addiction, kidnapping and rape, and fighting for survival while living on the streets. I was moved when she mentioned the acts of kindness that made an impact on her life – a man who let her sleep in the back of his shop, a banker who took $100 out of his own pocket and gave it to her. These generosities may have seemed small to those men at the time. But they served as reminders to a struggling, wounded person that there is some good in this world; that human beings, despite her experiences that testified to the opposite, are capable of profound compassion and generosity. It’s clear to me that those men did something good for her. But what did they do for themselves? We know helping others may impact their lives. But how does it impact ours? Is there self-healing power in helping others?
Self-Healing Power in Acts of Kindness towards Others
Our guest on this week’s edition of the HealthyPlace MentalHealth TV Show says yes. Stephen G. Post is professor of preventive medicine and director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University. He is president of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love. Author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping, Stephen believes there is self-healing power in offering compassion and generosity to others. Helping others, he says, can get us through our own hard times.
We can be anywhere, so long as we are helping others and caring for them. This is probably the one source of stability in our lives that we can truly depend on, and so in the end we are never really out of place. – Stephen G. Post
Video on the Self-Healing Power of Helping Others
Watch the video interview with Stephen, By Helping Others, You Help Yourself, and learn why he says compassion and generosity are healing, not just to the receivers, but to the givers as well.
You can find all mental health video interviews from the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show in the table of contents.
Share Your Experiences with Helping Others
How has human compassion and generosity helped you? Is there self-healing power in acts of kindness towards others? We invite you to call us at 1-888-883-8045 and share your experiences and insights. (Info on Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences here.) You can also leave comments below.
We get a lot of email at HealthyPlace.com every month. I mean a real lot – thousands of emails. Besides answering emails to help people, I sift through them to gauge what’s on people’s minds. One topic that comes up frequently is alternative, natural, complementary treatments for depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, schizophrenia — well just about every mental health condition out there.
A significant number of people who write us about alternative mental health treatments are interested because they don’t like the side-effects of antidepressants, antipsychotics, antianxiey, or ADHD medications and are hoping that natural remedies, like herbs or supplements, or some alternative therapies such as neurofeedback or yoga will do the trick and relieve their unpleasant psychiatric symptoms.
As a rule of thumb, we usually point people to pertinent information on our site and encourage them to share that information and their concerns with their doctor. I guess it’s not too surprising when they write back and say all their doctor believes in is psychiatric medication and psychotherapy. And that’s the rub, says our guest on this week’s HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show.
Getting Doctors to Believe in Alternative Mental Health Treatments
Dr. Patricia Gerbarg is an Assistant Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at New York Medical College and a Harvard Medical School graduate (1975). Her research focuses on mind-body practices to enhance recovery from mass disasters, particularly the 9/11 World Trade Center Attacks, the Southeast Asia tsunami, and wartime events. She has lectured on integrative treatments in psychiatry at meetings of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Anxiety Disorders Association, the International Combat and Military Stress Conference, and many other medical conferences. She desparately wants to educate doctors in the U.S. about the value and effectiveness of complementary and alternative treatments in mental health care.
As you’ll see on this week’s HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show, Dr. Gerbarg isn’t saying throw away the psychiatric medications. She maintains that based on 30 years of research and clinical experience, there are safe, effective treatments for a wide range of mental health challenges like anxiety, PTSD, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and schizophrenia, as well as various medical conditions and that mental health patients can benefit from them.
Watch the show here. And Dr. Gerbarg’s award-winning book, How to Use Herbs, Nutrients, and Yoga in Mental Health Care,is available here. The book is written for consumers and clinicians. Dr. Gerbarg says it “presents research evidence and guidelines for Integrative Treatments, inexpensive solutions that give the best results with the fewest side effects.” A guide to finding high quality supplements is included. Dr. Gerbarg is also offering our viewers her free newsletter on Integrative Psychiatry available by signing up on her website.
Share Your Thoughts or Experiences with Alternative Treatments for Mental Health
We invite you to call us at 1-888-883-8045 and share your experience with alternative mental health treatments or your thoughts about them. Or maybe you’re a non-believer. Call and tell us why. (Info on Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences here.) You can also leave comments below.