BROOKE JOHNSON – MISS ALASKA USA 2018
Brenda Sarai Zuniga saved my life. She came to me at a pivotal time in my life.
I had gone through a very rough few months that included a stint in an Intensive Outpatient Program because of a complete mental breakdown. Even being a National Ambassador for NAMI, (The National Alliance on Mental Illness), I’m not immune to my own mental health setbacks. As a recent transplant to LA, I had very few people to lean on during periods of my episodes of depression and anxiety, but friends and family always helped over the phone. This time was different. I needed help and after the system failing me over and over for weeks I almost gave up.
I had been working with Brenda with NAMI for a while but we reconnected at a holiday gathering for the organization. She later invited me to spend Christmas with her and we chatted about her story, why she became a Mindfulness Coach, and what it actually means. I told her that I’ve always rolled my eyes at meditation because I felt I wasn’t “Zen” enough to sit quiet for 20 minutes not thinking. I wanted to try but I didn’t know if it would work for me… Quickly, she explained what she actually did, and a week or so later she gave me a Gratitude Journal to start my journey with baby steps.
And then… after months of contemplating living or not, I chose to live. I know I didn’t WANT to go, but I felt I was really at the end, and I had no reason to choose to live. She made me realize I was the reason to live, that we have the power within ourselves to not just “be so happy and positive” (because that always sounded so cheesy to me) but to LIVE.
Brenda Sarai Zuniga really did save my life. I tell her this all the time, but I believe she came into my life at that moment because something knew I needed help. She’s given me small exercises and homework at my speed and they’re so small they can be done in a matter of minutes. It will set you up for a great day, week, year, and maybe restart a day that started on the wrong side of bed.
I recommend Brenda and her programs to everyone, young or old, this is a true gift to give to yourself. The ability to CHOSE to love yourself and to live everyday. Now, there’s nothing stopping me from going no matter what the circumstances.
I’m so proud of myself and my psychiatrist is pretty proud of me too. 😉