Sarah Jeanne Browne is a speaker, writer, and activist. She is a self-help writer published on Forbes, Bella Grace, Lifehack, Tiny Buddha, Elephant Journal, Thrive Global, Raise Center, and more. She led leadership workshops for youth for The Peal Center’s Transition Conference 2010, Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network, and The Woodlands Foundation. Her areas of activism include mental health, youth leadership, abuse, veganism, feminism, grief education, Christian deconstruction movement, and disability rights. She volunteers for Tiny Buddha. She has bipolar, dyscalculia, and AuDHD. She/They Her website is www.sarahjeannebrowne.com and you can follow her on Facebook @sarahjsocialjustice.
Forum Replies Created
January 17, 2023 at 1:04 pm #414005
Hi Amy, could you paste your poems here instead of pasting a link to go to another site? Thanks!December 7, 2022 at 8:04 am #411458
I too have bipolar with past suicidal ideations. I’ve been an abuse victim too.
Have you tried genesight? I’m using that for psych meds right now. I had sort of a breakdown recently too.
But for the first time in my life, I felt “I want to live.” My suicidal ideation is gone completely. I have complete faith that I will be okay. I have felt God’s grace in many situations. For example, I gave feedback to the mental health services in my area to the manager detailing the ways they are failing people as well as possible solutions. I made meaning out of it all with writing self-help and attempting to write books.
I know trauma impacts mental health.
You haven’t been treated well. So you don’t know how to give yourself self-compassion.
I want you to take a breath when you read this and say “I am worth fighting for.”
You are worth it.
Everyone is struggling in some way. I have no idea if I’ll relapse again or go on the best med for me.
I’ve sort of given up control and gave it completely to Jesus. He’s my one constant in a chaotic life.
Please ask for help from a therapist or suicide hotline if you need to.
The first step is admitting you need help, that you’re out of your window of tolerance. A few books that helped me: 1) Chicken Soup for the Soul angels or miracles books 2) Try Softer by Aundi Kolber and 3) Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. 4) Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl holocaust survivor 5) The Choice by Dr. Edith Eger (as well as her book The Gift and online courses she’s a holocaust survivor)
I have a strong why to create art (my writing) and help others not to experience what I’ve experienced.
You don’t always have a why. You can’t always make meaning. But you can love yourself through this.
I don’t know you or what your journey has been like but you are not alone. come to this forum to vent rather than give up on your life.
You don’t have to be strong right now. Just rest and give yourself a break. You have overcome so much. Life may not make sense at times but there’s a reason you’re still here. You will help so many people with your story.December 4, 2021 at 6:21 am #389380
Ive had that pain but God has healed me. I experience powerful happiness due to appreciation for life. I don’t know how to help you get there but it’s a need for God.
SarahNovember 27, 2021 at 8:06 pm #389154
Im not going anywhere! You’re going to get through this and live a full happy life with so much strength and resilience. I believe in you.
Ive been praying for you. I don’t have the right words but you can vent here.
When I was thirteen I read The Purpose Driven Life. I can say that book saved me.
ive been fighting demons similar to yours but keep finding the light of God. I give you those answers as they come to me. But ultimately it is up to you to do for yourself.
Im praying for you!
SarahNovember 25, 2021 at 6:53 pm #389046
I can’t fix this for you. I don’t have the right words. I’ve been in similar depressive states and despair but all I personally have is my faith. I can’t tell you how to help yourself. I don’t know how to tell you that. All I can do is tell you that you are not alone. You have to live, you know that. You can’t turn away from life again. So now it’s just about putting one foot in front of the other until you stand again. It’s okay that you are not well. It doesn’t mean you are bad.
I’ve become really happy lately. I’ve created my own happiness. I do things that fulfill me. I find catharsis in my writing and goals. I have a strong why. Purpose. I didn’t think this kind of happiness was possible, especially as I don’t have very much. But it’s possible. Now I want to taste the sweetness of life and enjoy everyday instead of wanting to leave it (as I often did). I had to soul search to get to this point, rediscover life again after a mental breakdown. I made meaning out of my life and got closure from my writing, often turning to creativity and the arts. I love poetry, it makes me feel less alone. I just bought “Pillow Thoughts.” I have book I have to read- they are piling up. I’ve been interested in Corrie Ten Boom. I discovered my faith due to her in highschool. She has a book called “The Hiding Place” about her time as a Christian hiding Jews in the Holocaust and being taken to a concentration camp because of it. I’ve been listening to other survivors of the Holocaust and I know that sometimes it there is no good to be found of a situation. You just have to sit with the pain, be with it.
I’m incorporating what I’ve learned from holocaust survivors in my own writing. I am writing a young adult fiction novel where the main character discusses God with her boyfriend. Her boyfriend’s dad died by suicide so they are discussing how he still has faith even after that loss. I am soul searching for this conversation. How in all this did I not lose my faith? How does anyone hold onto it? The only example I have is Corrie Ten Boom. So I’m studying her story to see what my characters will say about her.
I’ve been afraid a lot this past year. I’ve had horrible doctors and therapists. I overcome horrible bipolar med side effects of swallowing issues and on another med, breathing issues. Wonderful things happen like my writing really showing my resilience and the lessons I’ve learned. I’ve learned I have to hold onto each little thing good that happens and tally them up in my head, replay them when I get sad.
Other than that, I’m just like you. I’m going through a difficult world too with questions about my purpose and identity. All I know is that my purpose is to be happy. And I finally am. I am stable for the first time too. Things worked out for me a lot. But it took my whole life for things to just be fine. I am relaxing again. I am done “white-knuckling” through hard things. I did the work. I know I can live this life and do things that are good. So long as I am acting from that place of wanting to do good and strengthening my faith, I know I can make it.
I’m going through what you are in many ways, but I hold onto God. That’s my own coping method. And know that I am not forcing this on you. I just know that there are two ways to deal with life – run from God or run to Him. Many lose their faith during hardship. For me, it’s all I have. I am in poverty, few friends, no job, no school- I am on disability for bipolar. I may accept a job offer soon. I have my dog Lady and my God. And I have you to look forward to helping each time you message here. I worry about what to say. Will I be able to help him? I want to be able to help you get to the place I am now. Nothing around me got suddenly better. I internally got better and woke up inside. I’m all about the simple things- running, hiking, kayaking, painting, Chis Stapleton music, writing, apple picking, etc. I’m not rich and I don’t have all the answers. But I have a yearning for life now that I have a chance at one again since I’m finally stable. I want to do everything. I want to learn everything. It’s like everything is new to me and I’m slightly vulnerable, raw, emotional, unguarded and lacking things others have. Life is so beautiful, if we dare to live it.
Dare with me. Let’s do it together. I’ll be here for you as you figure it out.
SarahOctober 30, 2021 at 8:54 pm #387973
I read your comment. He is truly an abuser. These are all abusive behaviors. I hope you get out.October 30, 2021 at 8:53 pm #387970
Get out of that situation. He abused you. Abusers know what they are doing. He is mirroring you to manipulate you to like him. He did not respect your boundaries at all. Even if you’re in a good place now, this is abuse. He is an abuser. Please get away from him.
October 4, 2021 at 5:58 am #387041
- This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Sarah Jeanne Browne.
The point of motivational speeches is to give you that strength. Can you imagine being born without limbs?? He was suicidal until he met someone like him and wanted to help him.
Try Fresh Anointing on youtube. They are a ministry.
Thats all the resources I have. All I can do now is simply listen. You’ve been given a ton of insights, tools and exercises. You didn’t do most of my exercises. I implore that you do.
You didn’t answer my question- what would you tell someone else in your position?
At this point you need a professional to help you the most. I don’t know how to help you receive that motivational speaker the right away. I don’t understand why giving to others and motivational speeches give you more anxiety. That tells me this is a severe depression that will need professional help. I cannot help you find the will to live. All I can do is offer my listening.
Recently I’ve experienced divine peace. I realized prayer wasn’t enough. I had to delve into Fresh Anointing ministry on YouTube. They removed the negative energy in my life. My anxiety was completely healed. But then I have a prayer unanswered. My dog gets sick sometimes and I’m always praying for a solution. In the midst of chaos though I have found a calm. I am praying for you.
sarahSeptember 29, 2021 at 3:28 pm #386836
Look up on youtube: Life Without Limbs: Nick Vujicic Ministries
He has a lot of inspirational messages. How about try to watch daily? I’ve also started watching Fresh Anointing on youtube.
There are many more.
I’m glad you are forgiving people. You said that you still hold a lot of resentment. I would say you might want to forgive but your emotional state isn’t matching that intention. Anger is okay but it points to something deeper.
I like how you told advice that you are going through something too and it was okay to be lost sometimes.
I worry a lot and can think in all-or-nothing thinking. If one thing goes wrong, I think all is wrong. And vice versa with being right. I don’t ALWAYS think like this. But I often do. I realized that my brain was telling me one thing and my soul was telling me another. My brain tells me to think small and be scared. My soul tells me to expand and live for God and meaning and purpose and something greater than myself. My brain wants me to be defeated and joyless. My soul wants me to be like a child again full of wonder and joy. It’s a constant battle. It’s a spiritual battle and we are ALL going through it.
Like you told that stranger on that forum, you are not alone in your suffering. I’m not going anywhere. I know it’s hard right now. I can’t help you to find all the answers. It’s going to be hard. But you have nothing to worry about. The worst is over. You have PTSD. It’s just processing life and picking yourself up again and leaning on God. I would say that my faith helps me a lot. I don’t know yours but whatever holds meaning for you spiritually, it’s time to listen to it.
We can’t know what’s going to happen. I can’t tell you it’s all going to turn around. All I can tell you is that I’m here for you. I hope that you know you are worth helping. I see good in you. I see a person who has promise. I see a person who is caring. I see a person who is just scared. That’s all it is. You are just scared. And you have every right to be. You’re still here aren’t you? That’s your sign that it’s okay to let go now. For a moment, set it all down. For a moment, release your struggles and exhale. You are Beloved. You are enough. You are good. You are going to be okay once you get a handle on your emotional state. That’s what you are up against – your brain is trying to work you up into defeatism. You can’t see through it, but I can. I can tell you that you are punishing yourself and holding onto anger towards past injustices. You haven’t released your grip once even a little bit. Try surrendering.
I’ll be here to hold space with you too.
Again, I ask you- what would you tell someone in your position?
September 29, 2021 at 10:07 am #386827
- This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by Sarah Jeanne Browne.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by Sarah Jeanne Browne.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by Sarah Jeanne Browne.
You can still help your wounded inner child now. Nothing will get you over the injustice of what happened. But you can forgive.
I have trauma too and read The Gift of Forgiveness and it reached my traumatized and neglected heart to forgive. It was very powerful for me.
I go through analysis paralysis sometimes in the morning when I think about my to do list. I get overwhelmed. Right now what’s motivating me to start is helping you. So you are helping someone right now.
You need emotional support. I still think a support group would be very helpful.
Why don’t you try giving someone else advice on this forum? Just one person. That will help you feel like you’re helping someone.
Giving doesn’t trigger me like it does you. We have two different reactions to it. I don’t understand yours but I know service to others is a great purpose so long as you take care of yourself.
Youre in great mental anguish. What do you do to process these feelings? How do you react to them?
I want you to start seeing the good of yourself. The author of Life Without Limits another book I recommend is about a man born without limbs. He too felt like a burden and suffered depression and even suicidal thoughts. Then he met someone like him. He thought he could help him. It turned his perspective around. He’s now an inspirational speaker and leader.
If you were to meet someone like you, what would you say?September 27, 2021 at 12:20 pm #386750
Okay let’s focus on one of your positives.
- Protecting and caring – P
How are you protective and caring?
When have you protected and cared for someone?
How does it feel to protect and care?
How can you protect and care for others and yourself now?
What does being compassionate look like for you?
How do you find purpose in compassion? Where can you use this compassion to create meaning for your life? Who can you help?
Start there. 🙂September 23, 2021 at 9:02 am #386624
This is trauma. Perhaps ask therapist for how to deal with ptsd. Come to forum to find out what tools you need through self expression and our input then take it to therapist. They might be struggling to pinpoint how to help so you have to do that part for them. Identifying what is wrong is half the battle.
You need more supports. I encourage you to join a support group or even a Facebook support group for depression and ptsd.
Im glad you are reading that book I recommended.
Let’s focus on finding purpose now. Do you have any ideas on what that could look like for you? Perhaps visualize what it does and feels like as a new assignment.
Please scroll back and do the other exercises we guided you to do. I can’t help you if you don’t take my advice. I’m trying to work with you.
SarahSeptember 20, 2021 at 8:16 am #386533
You are doing better than you think. You know the flaws of your therapists, you’re able to recognize and identify your feelings, you know to come to this forum and you know not to attempt again (i hope). So see that. That is hopeful. That is good.
Answers don’t come easy. They take some self discovery. Your therapist is a tool to get there but it’s up to you to do the work.
I recently have had “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me on repeat. I implore you to listen to their music. It helps ground me and helps me cope.
When you meditate, there’s something called “centering prayer.” You invite God into that space with you. A lot of Buddhists simply meditate and sit with silence for enlightenment. Which works to an extent. But an extra step is to commune with God when this happens. See what He wants to say to you.
I know this site is Buddhist-ish but I’m a mix of Christian and that. I actually have had the same struggles with you of despair. I recently had a side effect to a med that I thought would ruin my life. Instead, I found a solution to it, and I’m better now. But in the moment, I thought it was the end. I catastrophized (much like you are doing) that this meant I had to change meds which would be a bad situation which would lead me to end it. I really thought about ending it. Then things turned around unexpectedly. I’m so happy that I get to share this experience with you and that I lived. I am here because of God’s guidance to hold on.
What you’re missing is that connection. You are waiting on others (including this forum) to tell you what to think and feel, to give yourself permission to love yourself. Well we don’t have all the answers.
What would you tell someone else going through your situation? Turn towards self-compassion.
You WILL live. It’s just hard right now. And it’s okay to acknowledge that it’s hard. I’m not going anywhere. Keep venting, keep finding the beauty of life through the brokenness. Life might surprise as it did me recently.
SarahSeptember 10, 2021 at 11:03 am #386066
I do not have an answer to that. You will need a therapist and dr to help you make that decision.
When I meditated the other day, it didn’t make my depression go away right away. But then I thought of things I could control. I still recommend the other exercises I gave you, but try this one if those don’t speak to you. Write a list of what you can’t control vs. can control right now.
Let me know what you find!
Look up mindfulness practices. You will need mindful thinking to get through this.
SarahSeptember 6, 2021 at 7:43 pm #385888
Just checking in.
So I’m seeing you are struggling. So let me express what I’ve gone through and how I’ve gotten through it.
I struggled with severe mental illness as bipolar for many years, worsening when I was 25 in 2015. I was hospitalized twice (once the first time and secondly after a relapse years later).
I’m finally on the right meds. It’s a true miracle.
But for a while, I started waking up each morning cringing in shock at all I had been through. My therapist called this PTSD.
I had to let the shock of it subside overtime. I couldn’t get rid of it right away.
I had to not react to my mind. My inner critic was lying to me as it is lying to you. I had to just let it happen and not judge my process of healing.
You are feeling so many negative things. I understand that. I was just there myself! I was waking up cringing and feeling depressed each morning.
But it got better.
It gets better.
You’re going through the worst of it right now. It will get better. So don’t react to your mind right now. It’s freaking out. It’s PTSD. It’s trauma. It’s catastrophizing.
Mindfulness is a great tactic to overcoming this stuff. But it’s also human to be afraid. You don’t have to fix yourself overtime. Have self-compassion.
You’re not alone, and things are never hopeless. You hit rock bottom with your recent suicide attempt. You’ve been given a second chance at life.
We are here for you, but it’s up to you if you’ll let the light in.
It’s up to you to find what makes you smile or laugh.
It’s up to you to take deep breaths while going through panic attacks.
It’s up to you to listen to your inner voice not your inner critic.
It’s up to you to take this advice and follow any resources given.
It’s up to you have faith.
That’s what it comes down to.
Faith in yourself and whatever you believe in.
You have a purpose. Your purpose might show itself through your pain.
I was grieving someone and I turned my grief into a story line of my young adult fiction novel that I’m writing. I also turned it into an article that I’m still writing. In my sadness, lines just came to me that captured my emotions and gave me wisdom and meaning.
Your intuition tells you a lot. I think you are doing better than you think.
Stop reacting to your thoughts. Just observe them. Let them pass. You need to separate yourself from your mind with mindfulness. Nothing you do will work until you do.