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MEDITATE before you MEDICATE! – My story

My name is Serena and I started meditating because when it came to my anxiety and depression, nothing else worked.  Imagine dealing with debilitating depression since the day you were born, only to develop anxiety over it in your early 20’s.  Not exactly the most fun way to go through life.  Sure, there were plenty of medications -if I tried one, I tried them all – but that wasn’t it.  Maybe my mind was too strong; maybe I knew deep down that my depression was a demon that seemed to be immune to all of the drugs and “come on, just be happy” bullshit that was being fed to me.

As a musician, you’d think I could find solace in my instrument… but even that became weary.

My academic career has been… interesting to say the least.  I spent the first 18 years of my life being harassed, haunted, bullied, whatever you want to call it.  I suppose if you couldn’t relate even a little, you wouldn’t be reading this.  Most of us have gone through it, but I always knew there was nothing I could do to change it.  I tried changing my clothes, my style, my interests – nothing worked.  My desire to go away to college and dorm was far surpassed by any logic at that time in my life and I jumped at the first college that accepted me, unbeknownst to myself how the student loans would pile up.. and pile up.. and pile up.

And then they left me, like two birds taking off for the winter, but never to return.  My sophomore year, I turned on the news to see my grandparents had died tragically in a fiery car crash where they burned alive.  Having lost my siblings in my very early years and seemingly no family in sight, I had no one.  I had myself, my depression, my anxiety and my debt.  This began the tumultuous trip that would soon become my downfall.

I graduated with a degree in Communications, and since my first job after college was at a pizza shop, I went back to school and obtained yet another piece of paper in Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience.  I knew I wanted to help people.  I knew that I wanted to help other kids who were bullied, tormented, other kids who took blades to their wrists and skipped meals and genuinely didn’t want to be on this 561626_304054776362712_905019909_nbeautiful planet anymore.  It is my calling, it is my life’s work.

But how would I help people if I couldn’t even help myself?


After getting caught up in a multitude of abusive relationships, I tried to take my life.  Then I tried to take it again.  How sad am I, I thought, that I can’t even get this right? But it left me thinking about my calling again… if I leave here, who is going to help people?  Who is going to be the push that these kids need to be helped?  And how would I even help them?

I gathered my guitar and my piano.  I knew that these instruments would be the vehicles to my success, but I was missing one key factor.. meditation.

I took up jobs at various mental hospitals in my area.  I cleaned up my act and went to graduate school for Mental Health Counseling.  None of this sat well with me.  The kids absolutely loved me, because I was one of them.  We meditated; I taught them the power of looking within.  I taught them how to meditate when they felt the urge to cut themselves.  I played guitar, I played piano, I even played ukulele.  We talked, I snuck out my phone to play music for them.  And then I got written up for playing music.

Let me remind you, I was working in a mental hospital, where adolescents haven’t seen the light of day in months, let alone spoke to relatives, let alone listened to music that they liked!  What kind of system is this, that you can’t even play music in a supervised area?  That going outside is a privilege?  Their mattresses were being kicked in the morning to wake them up.  They were denied cups of water.  What the hell kind of death camp is this?

It had to end.  Despite the amazing therapeutic relationships that I made and the lives that I saved, I had to leave the industry.

tumblr_mz41obSXtE1qgu3aqo1_500It all came to me in a deep, deep meditation: doctors are not the answer.  Hospitals are not the answer.  We must focus on our health, our nutrition, our energy, ourselves – learning to heal from within.

I’m 26 years old, and I am now currently in school for holistic nutrition – Ayurvedic medicine to be specific.  I am a meditation teacher, a guitar instructor for children, and pursing my certifications in Reiki healing and Integrated Energy Therapy (which you will see more of on this website as I garner my education and certifications).  I believe the key is to stay out of hospitals as much as possible, and do whatever we can to keep our minds and bodies healthy outside of any institutions.

I have but meditation to thank for healing me.  A daily practice of 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes after work, for a solid month or two, and you will see the amazing changes that I saw.  I was at the bottom of the bottom – self harming until there was nowhere left, negative thoughts permeating my mind, and wanting to escape from this planet.  It’s not so much that I wanted to die, I simply did not want to feel that way anymore.


Meditation fixed me.  Medications are bandages.  They cover up the wound, it scabs a little, but the scar is still there – and if you take the bandaid off, you risk infection again.  Meditation is different because it HEALS the wound.  It alters your way of thinking.  It changes your brain with neuroplasticity.  People who meditate have very different brain structures than those who don’t.

It saved me, and it can save you too.  It’s never too late.

Namaste, my friends. :) <3


About Serena Cecere (1 Articles)
As President of Layers of Harmony, Serena teaches meditation, alternative healing, and provides certifications for Reiki. She is a Reiki Master, Level 2 Integrated Energy Therapy, enrolled at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to receive a certification as a Health Coach for Ayurvedic nutrition, and a certified meditation teacher from McLean Meditation in Sedona, AZ. Her story is long and sad, but it led her to where she is today. She went from attempting suicide, to finding a spiritual balance, becoming a spiritual teacher, quitting her job and dropping out of grad school to move across the country from NY to NM. All because her employment was in the mental health field and the way patients were treated was absolutely abysmal, and she intends to change that.
Contact: Website

3 Comments on MEDITATE before you MEDICATE! – My story

  1.' phurdup lepcha // February 14, 2015 at 7:43 am // Reply

    waw…what a inspiring story thanks….

  2. This post is wonderful!!! I really want to get into meditation, and this post has really inspired my. I believe that with inner peace,we can achieve outer peace and that for the benefit of our mental health. Thank you for this!!
    Also, feel free to check out my blog

  3. Enjoyed every bit of your forum topic.Much thanks again. Really Cool. Branchaud

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