Personal Reflection 12/20/21
I wrote a memoir detailing a Near Death Experience called “Unseen Brilliance.” I submitted it to eight new places with two rejections. I have a follow up to it “Your Calling is Your Character” which picks up where the memoir leaves off. The memoir is all about my surviving hardship. The self help follow up is about me finding love for life and answers to hard questions.
I’m also writing a YA that will take some time for editing but I’m soul searching real emotions and questions in it. It’s at a nice resting point where I can soul search and have deep conversations between my characters on life. It’s a wisdom book.
I have a children’s book complete but on the backburner.
All of my books I’m taking a break from right now but I am happy with the progress. I will just add as I get inspired and research now.
I see who I am and who I am becoming. A writer and a human and non-human rights activist. I know I will use my voice in a way that matters. I used to be a speaker for disabled youth at a few places. I’ve helped youth in general in different arenas. I know my mission and purpose is to keep helping youth find emotional support through my writing and work. Why? Because I grew up without it myself. I know how to utilize my struggles to help others.
Since 2013 when I left Brandeis grad school, I haven’t had a plan anymore. I just followed my heart. It led me on a long and winding road but it was the authentic road. A road that lights up gold and lifts me above it all. A road that I found my true calling, even if I don’t know quite yet what that looks like. This road is the motif and meaning in all my writing.
I’ve written one of the most popular Forbes Women WomensMedia posts on the vagus nerve. It has close to 100k views. I also write for Tiny Buddha, Elephant Journal, Thrive Global and more. But I’m done searching for platforms. I found Forbes, Tiny Buddha and Elephant Journal to be my focuses as I can share my real voice on them. I don’t write productivity hacks for popular sites though I could. I write on purpose in real ways for a few sites that I love.
I was discharged from therapy today (mainly because therapist sucks again lol). I’ve overcome so much. In a way, I won at life by choosing God’s path for myself. It was all worth it. My character is what matters. I see who I am for the first time. I achieved something in myself.
I’ve overcome poverty, mental illness, learning disability, abuse, rape, suicide attempt and ideations, loneliness, ADHD, trauma, the mental health system, the education system (being neurodivergent), bad therapists, bad med side effects, preyed on by a brand manager who promised me fame at a cost, loss and more. I’ve started over so many times. I am proud of the brand I’ve created which is just being human, myself and celebrating this authentic road. God’s grace got me here. There is no way I could have survived all that on my own.
I’m giving myself a break. A much needed break to think and feel and read and relax. I’ve solved so many issues. In a lot of ways, I’ve solved Christianity by deconstructing it and deciding what God means to me. I decided to call myself a Christ Follower not a Christian because of how much Jesus has been misrepresented. I know who I am. I haven’t rested once in 31 years struggling to overcome so many things.
For the first time, I love myself. I’ve given back enough and helped a ton of people. I’ve turned around kids and got through to hardened adults. I’ve helped animals. I’ve made meaning out of every single thing that has ever happened to me. I deserve to celebrate myself.
I’ve set up everything now that I spent every second rebuilding my life since a mental breakdown in 2015. I know what I’m doing. I know who to trust and to have boundaries. I know to empower others as well as myself. I know it’s the simple things that matter.
I’m letting myself enjoy life for the first time. I held onto Jesus like a rope so tightly, white-knuckling through it all. I can officially say today after being discharged from therapy that I’ve made it. I’ve made it to this point. I can breathe again. I can let go. All because I surrendered so many times.
I don’t recommend my struggles. I don’t recommend being oppressed by systems and people. But it has made my faith so strong. I have literally no doubt in God. Even as He as moved me through a learning disability to still do things that take work…I know that He is pushing me to keep being my best.
I am reading a ton of books lol. Here they are:
This is my research right now. This is where I’m getting information on what to write on next. And before you say it yes Sailor Moon! I learn how to write from how she sets things up! It’s a great story.
I’m almost through the autistic child one. It is interesting. A few say to let kids stim and that ABA is harmful. I need to look more into this.
I’m using smarter tomorrow one for Forbes research on emotional regulation.
Audrey Hepburn is my guiding point of who I want to be. I’ve studied her character for years. It is unmatched! I wrote on twitter that she beat Kim Kardashian’s fame lol.
In my YA, Man’s Search for Meaning is discussed between Payton and Ever. So that is number one priority. He wants to incorporate logotherapy (meaning therapy) into his suicide prevention ball. How? Still deliberating. That will be part of his speech (still being written).
The other books are continued human rights research. I don’t know how they will be used yet. The autism and disability rights ones are from people with autism and disabilities perspectives, not doctors etc. It’s important to hear their voices.
I would say my resilience article for Forbes is my favorite article so far. It’s out Jan 2. I wrote one on compassion fatigue this month here. The reason is that my resilience one talks about post-traumatic growth and resilience in a way where “Here’s what we get wrong.” We don’t have to always find a lesson in the struggle. We don’t have to be resilient- we need resources and support. Having these perspectives kind of challenges these terms and ideas. Your adversity may not make you a better person. It may just suck. And that’s okay to acknowledge.
There’s a tweeter I like who said “I don’t tell my daughter it’s okay when she’s crying. I tell her it’s okay to cry.” This shift needs to happen in society and therapy.
I’m actually glad to be out of therapy because I felt misconceptions about life there too. You don’t always have to fix everything or find a solution. I liked my last therapist mostly but it felt like I couldn’t relax and just vent or talk. I always had to be defending my life or finding solutions. This is not practical.
I’ve become my own therapist and emotional support since I never had either. I know my resilience comes from faith. Can I just write about that for Forbes? Not really. But I write about tools I’ve used to get there. My post-traumatic growth has been becoming a wisdom collector. In high school, I used to collect wisdom to help me combat depression and trauma. That and prayer helped me the most. (Still bipolar and needing meds but just letting you know these things help too!)
My trauma informs all I do. It informs my writing, my character, how to help youth and give emotional support as well as stand up for rights. I know what people need because I needed it too! I never want anyone to be alone like I was growing up.
My post-traumatic growth is happiness that I’ve overcome it all. Life will always be tough but it’s really gotten better. I no longer have swallowing and breathing difficulties due to bipolar meds. I’ve started to slowly lose weight again after meds in the past increased my appetite. I’ve started to find catharsis in my writing and making meaning out of my struggles. I’ve started to connect the dots. I’ve started to be more selfish, less giving everything I am and have away to those who don’t give back. I’ve started to heal.
I used to want to leave life because it was so terrible. I suffered horrible abuse and bad situations. I never got what I needed. Suicidal ideations were lifelong, even somewhat as a kid. I’m actually a happy go lucky person so it’s an interesting mix of that with despair. I used to wake up in the morning wanting to die. I couldn’t live with the things that happened to me. I was ashamed at needing help too. I was disappointed in the help I did get. Everytime I felt like the bad things were over, something else would happen. Since when you’re on disability, it’s forced poverty, I always felt like if one thing falls apart, everything will because I don’t have enough financial stability.
When I was discharged from therapy today, I recognized a new strength. No one can truly hurt me or get to me. I ended up not liking my therapist anymore, and I was glad to go. God reassured me I wouldn’t have to see her again after our last session she was basically fighting me the whole time. I was doing well and told them I didn’t need therapy anymore and reported her. So I was let go to be discharged as I had no more goals in therapy (interestingly enough, I just met all my goals before I left her). I think I’m happier than my therapists and more logical.
I see the sweetness of life and the simple things. My whole self help book is about my love for life now. It was a trade. I was manic and unhappy. Now I’m stable and happy. I miss manic Sarah too sometimes because she was unstoppable. She could learn better too. Two bipolar breakdowns affected my learning disability. I have some amnesia as well. I lost of lot of knowledge. But I’m able to cope with life better.
The suicidal ideations left. I no longer feel that way and know I never will again. That’s empowerment. That’s what I’ve been waiting for. Not that I’ve been feeling that way this whole time but it’s been a rough journey. I’ve been struggling for a long time.
So this newfound happiness is everything. Everything has been figured out and solved. I know how to compensate for my weaknesses. I know how to work through my learning disability and ADHD. I know how to self advocate. I know how to live again.
So when I created the Sarah Jeanne Browne brand from scratch mostly to tell a brand manager who tried to discover me only to hurt me off…well…it got me here. The endpoint of following my wisdom and logic on life is pure bliss. That’s how I know I’m a self help expert hehe! I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m not manic anymore but I am elated.
Life is a gift. I am thankful to still be here.
Thanks for reading.