My First Taste: The Day I Met Mania

There I was. Looking up at the pale blue sky in the middle of September riding the shuttle from one campus to the next to attend my morning classes at Arizona State University. Head phones on and a warm cup of coffee in my hand, I was ready to take on the day. I noticed to myself that I hadn’t had slept the entire night before, or the entire week for the matter. I felt okay though. I did not feel tired, I felt almost at peace, calm and content in the early morning commute I took three times a week to Mesa Arizona where one of many of Arizona State Universities’ campuses are located.

Looking at the blue sky listening to my music, I noticed that the clouds up in the sky were changing shapes. It was as if they were making pictures in the sky just for me to see. I thought it was beautiful. I can remember saying out loud, “How beautiful that is”. A girl next to me kind of gave me a look like shut up, it is too early for talking right now. I then felt as if I could touch the clouds. Grab ahold of them and put them in a jar where I could watch them change shapes forever. Never once did this thought process seem absurd or insane as some would say.

I remember closing my eyes, and going into a dream, when I opened my eyes I was not real. The world was not real. My hands were made up, my voice in my head was not real, my body was a figure of imagination. I began to panic. I felt that I was stuck in a dream and I needed to wake up. The people on the shuttle around me were not real. The clouds were fake, the sky was something that I made up in my head. I was stuck in a place that was not real. I had to wake up. I just had to. I was scared.

I wanted desperately to get off the shuttle I felt claustrophobic and beyond uncomfortable. I couldn’t hear, and my sight was beginning to go fuzzy and a tunnel vision feeling was starting to unfold. Everything was moving slow. I had to be dreaming. I believed full heartedly that I was dreaming.

The truth was I was not dreaming. I was alive, everything was real, I was scared of the dissociation from reality that I was having. The psychosis that I was experiencing was maddening and frightening and I wanted to wake up and to feel real. I was having a panic attack so severe I couldn’t hear or feel my chest going in and out as my lungs filled and emptied themselves with air. I was slipping, losing it. Falling into an unknown realm of reality that I could not grasp.

The minute I stepped off of the shuttle I went straight to the hospital. My roommate at the time came quickly. I told her I needed help. To be taken somewhere where they could help me. Where they could, “fix me”. Make me wake up. She told me I sounded insane. Was I insane? Was I making all of this up. What in the world was happening to me. How did this even begin? Would it ever end. My mind playing itself on repeat of on a continuous loop of questions and yelling. The voice in my head was so loud telling me to run, hide, find a way to wake up. I was crying, begging for my mind to let go, give me back peace and calm, and quiet.

The doctors in the Emergency Room at St. Luke’s Hospital told me I was having a panic attack. Midterms were coming up, I was stressed and overwhelmed, just like every other student was at the time. A little piece of paper handed to me for a prescription of Xanax and Prozac to calm my nerves and to help take the stress off a little. An antidepressant and borderline sleeping pill was all that I was given. No mental health counseling. I believed that I was stressed. I had not been sleeping. I was overwhelmed, and school was just hard. Little did I know, all the years of being told I was “depressed” had “social anxiety” there was something so much more causing me mood swings and irrational behavior. I was suffering from long time neglect on my mental state. I was facing something more complex and life threatening.

Two years later I am sitting in my Psychiatrists office and she asks me to describe a moment where I felt manic or was experiencing psychosis. I described this moment, her face went from concern to relief. She knew, and I knew to. I was not just depressed or had social anxiety, I was experiencing something entirely new and it would shift my life around completely. They say bipolar can skip a generation, but it is hereditary, and you can learn to cope. That is what I am doing every single day.

This was the day I met mania, and I met myself for the first time again. Recovery is possible, coping is essential, support is out there. No one is ever alone in this journey.

#mentalhealth #bipolardisorderawareness #mentalhealthawareness

Advertisements

Food for Thought

I believe that we can be builders. Sledge and hammer, we can fix this mess that has appeared before us. Brick by brick, rebuilding towers and mending all the broken souls. Patching the cracks, starting anew. Who wants to start building?

– construction IMG_9467.JPG

For Lovers

Can you taste it? Does it sit on your tongue making love to your taste buds? Is there a moment where your heart pounds to the rhythm of his hands. He is making music with the curves of your body. How beautiful that tune is. Are you drunk off of his voice so close to your skin? Intoxicated from the look in his eyes as he desires you, yet more. He leaves the softest marks on your body. Tracing your skin up and down. How he breathes in your beauty, your glow, and exhales his love. Exhaling love to every part of your being. Reminding you how beautiful you are. You welcome him into the space where your temple lies. Tracing your face with his hands, you close your eyes accepting this pleasure. You are a goddess as he breathes into your hair. Closing your eyes you begin to mirror the beat he plays. Together you create the most beautiful music.

– music

1291389-7

 

 

 

A Poem about Escape

I love living in the city, but there are the moments where I just simply want to be away from people. Today I was stuck in traffic for over an hour going a span of 3 miles. I wanted to pull my hair out, or simply keep driving to a place where city lights are myth. I sometimes want to get lost in a cabin way up in the mountains somewhere, where the weather is cooler, and it is silent for once. So here is a poem about one of the most peaceful places on the planet.

The Mountains 

Gazing into the never end streaks of a mountain sunset

Where the air is thick with a taste of heavy pine

A place above land, a sacred home in the clouds

It is here where my ears are silent, no longer searching for noise

It is here where I welcome a kiss from the wind

I welcome the unfamiliar sounds

A break away from being overworked by the city below

The sun is high here, and as it falls into the night, it leaves a path of vibrant life

A place where I welcome the night, as if I was welcoming a lost lover

The mountains like jagged points into the sky, give a sense of belonging and peace

While my hands are cold from the higher air, I am comforted by the blanket of trees

I do not fear what lurks within these trees

They know that I am here, as I know that they are there

We share the night air, brought together as one by the song that the mountains play

Calling upon those who seek escape and silence

Detoxifying and purging of city toxins

Lungs breathing in clean air, washing out worries from the blood stream

Begging those to witness a sunset laid out by the God’s

Do not be afraid

Welcome the silence

Allow the wind to kiss your cheeks

Feel the warmth from the trees

Follow the song to a sacred place high above the city lights

Go to the mountains my dear

Sarina Justine Brown 

Reality Sucks Sometimes

Here, I have written a poem about the moments where we need to break away from society and our realities all together and stand calm somewhere beautiful. The ocean is a magical place, your soul can get lost in it. Enjoy!

Ocean’s End

Waves, high tides and low tides

Never ending tides of a forever blue

Where does this blue come from I whisper into the air

Where do these waves birth from I ask quietly

For the ocean is magic

I am amidst the creation of sheer beauty

Blue waves, oh how they crash

Spraying a cold faint mist onto my bare knees

Ringing in my ears, filling my head with a sweet wonder

A melody that flows through my body

I walk

Further into depths of this beauty

Letting it soak to my ankles, then soak up to my knees

Cold, yet warm

Comfort

How the presence of this chill warms me

I let my feet become one with the waves

They crash and roll over in front of me, then escaping to fade in front of me

I see nothing but shades of a forever blue

Here with my toes submerged into the waves

It is just me

My body

I am here in the now

Letting my mind ease its way into a slow dance

Like high tides, and low tides

Here I ask myself

When did life become a hectic reality

Chaos chasing me around every corner

Suffocated by the stress of perfection

Crippled under the watchful eye of society

Tormented with the fear of failure

I cannot let my mind go there now

Seeking out the point where the ocean seems to end

In the waves there is just me

Wondering, breathing, being

Swaying a slow dance, to high tides and low tides

Sarina Justine Brown 

A Poem for you Momma

Moon sisters we are mother. Best friends. You are the greatest role model I have ever had. You are the most beautiful woman to walk this Earth. You are my soul, and the light that guides me. I love you endlessly.

Roots

Strong

Never weeping

This is how a tree stands

Rooted firmly into the coldest and deepest parts of the Earth

Roots

Roots finding themselves nestled deeper and deeper with each passing day

My mother

She reminds me of the most elegant tree

Hair soft as dewy leaves in the fall

Yet, coarse at the same time with wisdom and experience

Hands tender and delicate

Yet, cracked from the work she has done to raise me

Unmarked by fear

Marked only by her feats

A true warrior

Raising me to be a strong women

A woman who does not weep, yet bends and accepts the rain, to then bloom in the sun

Has instilled within me a soul of fire

Unbreakable

A tree raises its branches towards the sun

I must reach for the sun

As my mother has reached before me

I must love with soft yet, cracked hands

For I was raised by a Goddess

Strong as a tree, hair graced with grey and beauty from a life of selflessness

Goddess reach the sun

With a soul of fire

She shines, so one day I can shine on my own

But for now, this very second

I begin to plant my roots

With soft hands

Unmarked by fear

For soon, one day my branches will reach towards the sun

Sarina Justine Brown

 

 

A Truthful Moment With Myself

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

I never actually thought that it would be easy. The thought of being so vulnerable, and open scared the living hell out of me. Admitting not only to myself, but to others that I was generally unhappy with my life and the way things were going, seemed like such a dramatic thing for me to do. How do you express to your closest friends that you are just simply unhappy? And how do you even begin to open your ears for their feedback, which can go either way. They can tell you to suck it up its life, get your shit together you are an adult. Or, became really scared and paranoid that you might find the nearest bridge to jump off of.

Why is it that when someone says that they are unhappy, automatically the other person jumps to the craziest conclusion that you are going to find a drastic way to end your life. Can it just be okay to not actually be okay? What is so wrong with that? What is so wrong with admitting to others that you kind of have this whole inside of you or this thirst in your mouth and no matter how much you eat, or how much water you drink, you are never satisfied? I want this to be an okay thing for us to realize as humans. I want there to not be so much judgment for someone to admit that they are unhappy, and possibly need help or direction to find things to bring happiness back to their lives. I just really want this dark cloud over the idea of not being okay to go away forever, and for us as decent human beings to acknowledge that this is a real thing and it happens a lot more than we think. I also want this crazy idea to go away that when someone says they are not okay, that conclusions don’t automatically go to “she or he is depressed”. There is a big difference in the two.

I am talking about a world that obviously will not exist in my life time. Because society has been programmed us to judge, discriminate, hate, and disagree for hundreds of years, and it will take more than a Buddhist cult to change this. It will take hundreds of years going backwards. I sometimes sit and wonder if during the era of the Vikings, if women judged each other based on what fur their coats were made out of. How ridiculous does that sound? Honestly, from history and reading old literature everyone was having sex with everyone, and I am pretty sure people were worried about whose head was going to be chopped off next. Happiness was food on the table, a warm house, and having as many children as you could. So, what the fuck happened?

I am twenty-two years old. I live in the most beautiful state of California, have the most loving and supporting family. My friends are unbelievable. Literally, my friends are unbelievable. I have one friend who is so emotionally unstable sometimes, that we cry naked together in a bath tub late at night, drunk off of cheap wine. I have another best friend who offered to get me a sex toy for Christmas, and her words as I quote, “I will get you the most precious blue vibrator I can find”. That is true love my friends. Have I even mentioned my sister? I could write a novel on that chick. She is a slob, messy haired. ADD crazed out pot smoking twenty-year-old who literally makes sandwiches for a living. She embodies a work ethic that I admire to the fullest, and has a true heart of gold. She is smart, yet says the dumbest things at the same time. She is my other half, a true soulmate. I love her more than I love life itself. I do not know if that is a big sister problem, or the fact that when she smiles I feel euphoric and worthy all at the same time. She is grace and an angel. She also has been arrested for stealing socks before. Not just arrested, sit your pretty self-down in a jail cell for a night. No, it was strip yourself down, let me check your vagina for drugs, cough, do not make friends in this women’s jail hut for forty-eight hours kind of deal. She said she lost about ten pounds, so honestly, I am considering stealing socks in Flagstaff, Arizona and then putting it all over Pinterest on how I magically dropped ten pounds in two days. I think it will be a huge hit.

So, she went to jail, we moved in together, and now we take turns on who can fall apart for the week. We both promised each other we cannot fall apart in a rage of panic or “I don’t know what the fuck I am doing” at the same time. Or literally, it would be like World War 3, with absolutely no back up. This week was my turn to fall apart. And when I say, I “fell apart”, just picture Brittany Spears shaving her damn head. I was that close to an actual mental break down. It was in this moment that I had a razor to my head about to shave off all of my hair in panic, that I looked into the mirror and said to myself, “Sarina just stop”.

Okay so I really did not have a razor to my head, but I did have a bottle of NyQuil ready to poor shots to just put me to sleep so I could forget how upset I was for about twelve hours.

I said stop. I looked at myself in my bathroom mirror and said fucking stop. Stop crying. Stop being a little baby. Stop falling apart for just one minute. Stop thinking that you are crazy or dumb for not being okay. Just admit that you are not okay right now in your life. And also admit, that you do not have to be perfect. You do not have to be anything, but you. Stop thinking that you have people to prove and please. Like you do not need a career right now in your life. Let go of the stress that no one is putting on you, but yourself. And just be, damn it.

NyQuil bottle was put down for the next time that I get strep throat, and I got into my car and just drove. Where I was driving to? No clue. But I did not want to be stuck in traffic, around people, or have my view blocked by a sketchy Shell station. I also wanted to be nowhere near my apartment, because the ghetto, is not a place to be in when you are feeling a revelation coming on, and dealing with homeless crack heads is just another level of irritation.

So, I headed towards home. Highway 16. Took my one-way ticket to the Boonies. Red Hot Chili Peppers blasting through my speakers, windows rolled down, not a care in the world.

Exactly the opposite of what you are picturing. I was mascara running down my face, eyes puffy from crying. My cheeks were blotchy, forgot my fucking sun glasses, wasn’t wearing shoes, and I had Adele whispering sweet words into my broken speakers that couldn’t handle the sound of the bass hitting for shit. I also had an empty gas tank and about four dollars in checking account. Still, I drove.

I had to be somewhat reasonable about this adventure and not get too far because my gas light came on, and I obviously had to get back to my apartment at some point. So, I drove about ten miles out of the city limits of Sacramento, and turned off on some little road off the main highway. There I pulled over and got out of my car and walked into the dry field of I don’t even know maybe grass? Weeds? But it was so movie like walking through this field with the grass weeds up to my knees, and the sun setting into the West. I should let you also know that it was dead grass weeds because it is the middle of November, and just to let you all know Northern California gets cold. Not Chicago style burry your car out from the Earth below from snow cold, but a chill that makes you realize you are uncomfortable and want to go home. My point being, the field was dead grass weeds, but if there was a photographer behind me, he would catch an amazing shot of a girl simply walking into the sunset.

I did something I have never done before. I laid down on my back in a random field, in the middle of I do not know where, completely unsafe, and actually freezing. I left my phone in my car. Mind you, I also have no shoes on. You can literally tell I was on the verge of a breakdown when this happened. Leaving my phone in my car is a crazy thing to think about because I am the generation that has a palm where my phone fits perfectly into it because our hands and fingers have morphed to our devices. “We are one with our phones”. I seriously left it in my car. Walked about hundred yards and just laid down on my back. The only noise I heard were cars passing by on the main highway every once in a while. Other than that, silent. So, silent, I forgot that the world can actually be silent.

It was just me. Laying down in dead field in the middle of November. This is when I said aloud. “I am not okay”. My own voice scared me. It sounded foreign and old. I did not sound like a girl, but I sounded like a woman. A woman in the need of help. A back that has been breaking for some time, and needs a shoulder to lean on. I sounded brave, yet scared at the same time. I just kept saying it over and over again. Until it became my nightly mantra for the evening. What I felt, was relief. I felt weights taken off my shoulders. I felt high with honesty, and trust that I was being so real with myself in that very moment. I then felt sad and lonely. I believe this always happens to a person when they speak the truth about themselves. They feel so good, then it turns to a sadness. Not a sadness that makes you wish the world would end, but a sadness of why has no one asked me if I am okay? Why has no one seen my struggling and reached out a hand. Why has society told me that a cry for help is not weak, yet poisons me with the pressure to be perfect. Why? Just why? Why is it that when I say to people that I am not okay, a prescription is written with my full name on it? Or, I get referrals to therapists who can never take my crazy insurance coverage plan, and I am left broke from an eighty dollar copay.

I am twenty-two years old. A college graduate, not having to scrap around for change to pay rent, and I am still not okay? What is missing in my life right now? There are so many people around the world who have it so much harder than I do, and I still do not feel satisfied or happy. I am unemployed, with a mountain of student debt sitting six months away awaiting that first payment. Is it my long-lost daddy issues? Is it the fact that I am single and everyone is getting married or having children? Or maybe it’s the fact that I am an English major and I do not want to teach, so I have to come up with an idea of what I want to spend the rest of my life doing. There is something missing inside of me though. A craving I cannot fulfill.

It was in this moment lying down in this open field, looking up at the fading day lit sky, that I said the hardest thing I have ever had to say to myself. “Sarina, you do not love yourself”. In that moment, I realized it. I don’t love myself, and this is why I am not okay. It is not easy actually admitting this to yourself. I sabotage my own happiness on a daily basis, because I feel that I am not worthy of happiness. I look in the mirror every single day and I see a beautiful girl, but I sabotage her. I destroy her happiness, by not committing to anything. By letting myself down. By breaking promises I intended so hard to keep. By comparing myself to others, who I do not even know.

It is not the daddy-issues. It is not having a man lying next to me telling me I am beautiful. It is not losing ten pounds on a craze jail diet, that is the problem. It is love. I am missing love, and that is why I am not okay. I forgot on this roller coaster ride what it is like to love myself so unconditionally, that it seems somewhat weird and borderline inappropriate.

I meditate, and practice yoga. I eat well and I try my hardest not to body shame every flaw that I currently have. I advocate self for love, and praise the goddesses above for making me a woman. I do not shave when I don’t want to, because a women’s body is her own temple. I let my hair be a curly red frizzy mess because what the fuck ever it is my hair. What I don’t do, is trust myself, or feel worthy. I am like a fake feminist. I am like a pretend lover of one’s self, because while I practice all of these magical things, I still do not love myself. I still doubt myself. When something beautiful comes along in my life, I do not allow for it to make me happy. Why do I not let myself just be happy?

It has not been easy. Telling my friends, and my mother that I need help in trying to retrain myself to love myself for what I am again. I have never been this vulnerable before in my life or confused. I am a wound that is so open to infection, but I leave myself uncovered so I can breathe.

I drove back home, gas light on the entire way. I actually felt so good from my moment of truth that if my car broke down, I would gladly walk the rest of the way home. By then I am sure a search party would be out trying to find me, and I would be this shoeless mess trying to explain to my non religious family that I felt like a Christian finding Jesus or some shit like that.

It is going to be hard you know, trying to learn to love myself all over again. I have a lot of baggage with myself, and a lot of hurt that I need to try and heal. My anxiety is the worst it has ever been in my life before. My sister knows that I am the one who is going to be falling apart a lot more, as I try to focus on me. My feelings and emotions I am trying to accept. I want to actually practice what I preach. I preach self-love, but now I need to actually practice it daily, every minute. My new mantra. I need to accept that I am worthy of so much happiness, and stop sabotaging myself and making it so I cannot do anything. I have a beautiful soul, I am aware of this, but it needs some healing and detoxifying. I if I gain ten pounds or lose it in this process I don’t really care. I just want to be happy, as the rest of man-kind does.

I hope that the next time you are unhappy, or not feeling okay, you look at yourself in the mirror and realize that it is okay. It is simply okay. There is no need to fix it right away. There is no need to jump to crazy conclusions. It is okay to be lost. Tell those who are putting unwanted pressure on you to fuck off. It is your happiness and your mental health not theirs. Never forget, to take risks, that could make you happy. Jump on train to somewhere new, if that is what your soul is craving. Book a flight to a random location, if you need to get away. Make sure you bank account approves that one though. Stop letting men sleep in your bed, because you are lonely. You are not lonely. You are lonely for yourself. You heart misses you.

Admit that you are not okay. Embrace the new journey. In the end, we are just human beings. Please yourself, not others

Sarina Justine Brown