Not much came up today beyond "small kindnesses" (smiles, patience... attempted patience), so when I came home, I decided to make a donation to a local shelter for abused women and children. Then I sat down to finally write out the exercises I've been working on for a friend's emerging business. I'm giving it to her as a gift (the actual consulting work - what I've put into it - is worth about $1000, so in some ways, it's the biggest gift I've given).
Cool story of the day:
Some of you know that I was on a boatload of mood medications for 22 years (18 medications, to be precise, though not all at once). I was given nearly every mood-disorder diagnosis in the DSM-IIIR and DSM-IV (one psychiatrist finally summarized it as a "rip-roaring mood disorder"). Over and over, I was told that my depression/anxiety was "treatment-resistant" (despite all the drugs at super-high dosages). When things in my life fell apart three years ago, I couldn't afford the meds any more, and I weaned myself off them. In their place, I began using a variety of contemplative, cognitive and behavioral techniques to essentially retrain and rewire my brain. I also began taking 5-HTP, a natural seratonin booster (I took St. John's Wort for a while, but it didn't seem to have much of an impact).
Today I decided to buy some vitamins and supplements that I haven't been able to afford over the past few months - antioxidants, B-multi, etc. And then I realized that I haven't taken 5-HTP since I ran out in May. This might sounds like a tiny thing, but to me, it was the equivalent of Cami realizing she hadn't used her cane in three days. It was huge. Part of it is the shift in my mindset, from someone dependent on medication to someone who forgot about even the natural stuff, and part of it is the realization that I came through the challenges of the past few months without it.
I do believe that 5-HTP makes a difference in my mood, so I feel a bit more gentle with myself about having had a few emotionally challenging times this summer. I decided not to buy it today, though I probably will once the days get short.
Anyway, I'm not sure I'm conveying just how profound an experience this was, but I do think continuing to give - and being part of this community - is one of the core practices in maintaining my emotional health.
Hope you all had wonderful Tuesdays - Cheers!