Our Evolution: J2SYL.org is becoming a J2App.

Our ONLINE Crowdfunding Campaign BEGINS July 14th 2016.

Sign up for updates at the bottom of this page by signing our PLEDGE.

Our online crowdfunding campaign begins

JULY 14th 2016.

Sign UP for J2App Campaign UPDATES at the bottom of this page by signing our PLEDGE.

2016 donors will make mental health history.

Thank you.


The Beginning.

Original 2012 Fundraising Video! We raised $17,000 for the J2SYL.org PILOT Program.


The 2017 J2App WILL SERVE a

GENDER DIVERSE Membership aged 13 - 30+!


In 2012 & 2014, 212+ Donors Made Journal To Save Your Life online - REAL.


Now be a 2016 Donor and TRANSFORM the 52 week online program, www.J2SYL.org, into a forever-free J2App.


If our fundraising for the J2App is successful, we'll APPLY to launch at SXSW Interactive 2017 - to an international audience!


Let's play! Click here to see our BEAUTIFUL CAMPAIGN!



  • Latest from the blog

    Is this Child's Behavior ADHD or Trauma Related?

    Many of you appreciated that I shared this article with you, yesterday: ADHD versus Trauma. I'm glad to connect to the sensitivity in you that can see the importance of this distinction. In my previous practice as a psychiatric nurse at an inpatient facility in Austin, Texas, this distinction between ADHD and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was as clear as a bell. The former can benefit from medications ("Start low, go slow" is the prescriptive maxim, however). The later, especially severe post traumatic stress disorder, can look EXACTLY like ADHD - poor attention span, distractibility, labile emotions, disassociation from whomever is speaking to them at times, little resilience, and poor goal-directed behavior skills. All of these symptoms make sense if the world is as dangerous as you know it to be. If you have been physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or spiritually abused - by a loved one especially - your mind map of the world is so fraught with danger that you do one of two things: Shut Down, or Turn Up. Shutting down is disassociation, falling into the well of one's mind to avoid reality. Turning Up is becoming more hyper vigilant, more easily stressed by small triggers or sounds that remind you of a lack of safety. Rage is your best friend if you are Turned Up - in many ways, anger can keep someone safe (at least in the short term). Connecting with traumatized children is my passion. Rey, my RN mentor during my RN Residency in Austin, mirrors the kind of calm demeanor - and infinite listening capacity - I have for these children, too. His phenomenal skill set with abused and neglected children have made him into one of the most profound mentors to hundreds of nursing students. No matter how egregious a child's abuse story, their voice is important to listen to - even if they did just spit at me. Children and teenagers have often been misdiagnosed with the label of "ADHD" without proper testing (The Vanderbilt Survey tool need to be completed by THREE sources - not one) -- or a proper trauma assessment being performed. How to do a Sensitive Trauma Assessment: Children sense when an adult is uncomfortable - and if you never want a child to tell you the truth, be uncomfortable. Discomfort with a possible trauma story - even in subtle body language cues - tells a child that their Secret is so large that even an adult can't handle it. They will keep hold of their Secret - perhaps to protect you, but also to protect themselves from certain disaster if they happen to upset another adult. Children's incredibly perceptive nature demand that we, as adults, show up as solid, present, capable listeners. How to Help a Child Tell You They Have Been Traumatized: Witness. Normalize the idea of trauma existing (especially since 1 in 3 of us experience severe trauma in our lives - so it a regular occurrence!). Speak to the fact that EVERYONE has a chance of healing - no matter how deep the wound. Emphasize that you are with them, and that they will not get in trouble. Disregard arbitrary, non-vital job functions until you are truly able to make this child feel as worthy, safe, and deserving of help as they truly are. Reassure them that they will live through this - and even become more amazing because of how they decide to heal. Talk about celebrities, authors, friends that have pulled through hard times and still lead wonderful lives. Note: Whatever you tell a traumatized child at the point of their disclosure will color the rest of their life. If you act as though they will become triumphant after their trauma, they have a better shot at doing so. If you look down at them as poor, "sad little victims" of a crime that must be ever so debilitating...they will take on this belief pattern. Be careful. My nonprofit, Journal To Save Your Life, is trauma-informed. All of our 52 weeks of mental health curriculum assists people to come to terms with their trauma in an empowering fashion, no matter how deep the wound. Please donate to Journal To Save Your Life, here, so that we can continue to grow and do the work that we do: https://igg.me/at/v7s6G8-sulg. Looking forward to your support - and please leave comments! Thank you, ~Holly Claire Werstein, MBA, RN, FMHPNPFounder & CEO, Journal To Save Your Life 501(c)3  
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    Remorse, a Gut Wrenching Affliction

    Remorse is a plague of the heart and mind that is one of the most gut-wrenching afflictions. I think remorse can come in innumerable forms and sometimes sneak up on us unknowingly from a dormant slumber.  I have felt remorse over relationships, my own unhealthy habits, the things I never said and wish I had, or even the way I may have glanced at a person. Remorse is a second guess of actions, feeling sorrow that we may have been wrong. Turned inward, remorse eats us away until we are walking carrion, zombies frozen in time. Lived with too long, this walk of regret becomes unproductive, a cycle of self-hatred, self-medicating, and numbing out. As I get older, I am realizing that holding onto remorse serves little purpose other than to keep us paralyzed and tunneling through the past. There is something to be said for having a conscience, feeling a pang of doubt when we make a morally questionable decision, but when your entire being is dripping in regret, you must accept that no one can save you but yourself. Only forgiveness and understanding heal regret and sadness--easier said than done. Time apparently heals, but if you live with fear, regret, and doubt, time only prolongs and exacerbates self-inflicted pain.  The cycle must end at some point. Some may choose suicide, but I choose contemplation and introspection. This takes work, but it is worthwhile work, and you are not alone in your fears.​ Once I realized that I no longer want to blame myself for the trauma I have experienced, or blame myself for the trauma I inflicted on others, I can be free to create something new and different. This is what I hope for you as well. If I lock myself in anger and doubt, I will become nothing more than anger and doubt.  I've found that the most difficult regret to contend with is the sadness that has festered within me for years as I internalized and despised all of the mental health treatment I was receiving.  I’m not sure if this was due to the specific treatment I was receiving, or due to my own misunderstanding, fear, and anger that I needed medication and therapy in order to be “well”.  I always thought that everyone around me needed help—not me. But in truth, I have needed a lot of help and still do. If I despise myself and my actions, then I will despise others and their actions.  So, back to remorse, I’ve learned the only way to deal with my past is to forgive myself and to forgive others.  I don’t think this concept is new in any way, but the depth that I need it now is new for me. I have lived for a long time in a shell that generally saw the world as a bleak and depressing place. My own traumas and difficulties colored my view, and I also learned that I had a condition which made me experience periods of extreme depression, isolation, and chaos and confusion. Understanding my limitations, and also recognizing the limitations of others and of systems, have helped me to accept “that which cannot be changed.” Another thing: Remorse and anger are not always negative emotions. There are times when contemplating actions and questioning one’s own validity in being upset is useful. For example, “Was I to blame for my employer firing me, or were there reasons beyond my control, and do I need to go back and revisit their accusations and my actions?”  When regret can be looked at not as fuel for self-hatred and criticism, but as a tool for growth, then I can move forward from the disappointment and “remorse” that I have experienced in scenarios like these. Life is not perfect and mistakes are inevitable. This is an open discussion. Not a final word.  Heal yourself to heal others. Heal others to heal yourself.    <3 Becca S.
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