Category Archives: Uncategorized

Rage & EXPRESSION

I am writing 60 blog entries over the course of my fundraising campaign which officially ends in 55 days. In this way I am chronicling my process as a female entrepreneur aspiring to launch a completely online solution to our current mental health crisis. I’ve decided to express in the achingly raw way I do in my Hummingbird Series. Honesty and expression through writing save my life, every day. But, I will say, I feel beholden to a certain “appropriate” air since I am coming at this as a professional. So fill in between the lines as you see fit.

Be careful of triggering language, and of course, feel free to comment. Or not.

See my Campaign here! www.indiegogo.com/JournalToSaveYourLife2

* * *

Entry: 4 of 60

It’s been a few days since my last entry because my best friend, Bonnie, came to visit me and my family in Colorado. I. Love. Her. She really is a best friend. I had a moment (that she doesn’t know about…) where I finally relaxed and felt safe with her ~ completely, profoundly, utterly safe ~ for the first time with a ladyfriend since I was a little girl and was first bullied at a birthday party. We’ve known each other since 2008.  Painful stings of life can stay with you for a long freaking time. PTSD is real.

Today I posted a very different Journal To Save Your Life fundraising campaign. I know I can be academic (my MBA and current graduate degree program are in support of this), I know I can be professional (and I like being professional), but it’s just seemed SO WRONG to be expressing Journal To Save Your Life in this way. I need fire, I need self, I need energy to be real on something as faceless as IndieGoGo.com…so I’m glad I “came out” today, even if it might be “too much” for some people.

Rage is a very real component of growth and determining the truth of one’s life. If I scream in a mosh pit, I am so much closer to understanding who I am than if I were to express at a tea party. It’s just who I am.

Ha! Who I am. What a funny costruct. I’ve been unable to know myself for decades. Good to be here. It’s all about writing, creating, and ART. And social skills. And cognitive behavioral worksheets that you can create right in your own home. Reframe the situation and become empowered. Rage and decide what is important to you.

I hope my campaign goes well. I hope we can support girls with Journal To Save Your Life, the program that has utterly become MY CALLING. I won’t stop until this is complete.

Love,

~Jasper
Founder
Journal To Save Your Life!
http://www.indiegogo.com/JournalToSaveYourLife2

Something Wicked This Way Comes

I am writing 60 blog entries over the course of my fundraising campaign which officially ends in 55 days. In this way I am chronicling my process as a female entrepreneur aspiring to launch a completely online solution to our current mental health crisis. I’ve decided to express in the achingly raw way I do in my Hummingbird Series. Honesty and expression through writing save my life, every day. But, I will say, I feel beholden to a certain “appropriate” air since I am coming at this as a professional. So fill in between the lines as you see fit.

Be careful of triggering language, and of course, feel free to comment. Or not.

See my Campaign here! www.indiegogo.com/JournalToSaveYourLife2

* * *

Entry: 3 of 60

Something Wicked This Way Comes

hmm.

Something that infinitely fascinates me about mental health is the discussion of etiology or where something comes from. There’s this war between the “wickedness/insanity/posession” and the “complex neurobiological disruption” perspectives that may or may not need to be at war. I’ve been very spiritual all my life (and yes, I own and claim “spiritual” as a label and don’t consider it a “cop out” like some do!), and when I first went into psychiatry I was very much wanting to understand this distinction more.

I’ve also been deeply curious about what makes a person mentally “distrubed” versus “just kinda kooky” (or whatever).

My sister is a bright woman. Even though I wrestled with the second of the two questions above for years (ha!), when I presented the issue to her, she unequivocally nailed the difference. Those who are mentally “ill” and those who are “within normal range” differ in how much they are connected to a reality that the majority attests to as being “actual”. Those within normal range may have fluctuating moods (I’m guilty…), have self-destructive thoughts throughout their life (guilty again), etc. but they by and large connect with those on “this” side of the veil. Those with mental illness connect with and think, hear, smell things that  the majority of us do not.

If this is taken as true, it makes sense from a biological perspective that we would want to “fix” the mentally ill by somehow eradicating the thing that seperates them, almost like ministers might do in the name of ridding a person of “Sin” – something that disconnects them from God, in that case. Seperation can mean certain death in the wild.

Wild….

When I’m at work at the psychiatric hospital, I often don’t think we need to “fix” anybody. But this is not a favored perspective, and I’ve learned to not speak about this. It’s a tricky space. Maybe I’m too into people’s quirks and idiosnyncracies. The one acception to this is when a person is suffering. I never want that.

What do you think makes a person mentally ill or healthy?

Depression and anxiety are the main afflictions that Journal To Save Your Life addresses with girls and ultimately boys, too. These two conditions affect the vast majority of those who have experienced sexual violence (guilty), addiction (guilty), bullying (see post 2 of 60), and parental abuse. The therapies we have translated into our online medium are supported time and time again in the research to help REDUCE depression and anxiety up to 80%. Why wouldn’t we want to provide such a resource for our children? Everyone on our team is volunteering. You helping us build our program’s website will be incredibly well received.

Please make Journal To Save Your Life come to life by giving up your pennies or hundred dollar bills to our cause. Every thought, every moment, every bit of financial support will help us get off the ground and fly.

Then we might really see some change in our mental health industry. Wouldn’t this be refreshing?

Thanks for reading.

Life, science, and spirituality,

~Jasper Faolan
Founder
Journal To Save Your Life!
http://www.indiegogo.com/JournalToSaveYourLife2

Dear Self, I Love You.

jazz iI am writing 60 blog entries over the course of my fundraising campaign which officially ends in 57 days. In this way I am chronicling my process as a female entrepreneur aspiring to launch a completely online solution to our current mental health crisis. I’ve decided to express in the achingly raw way I do in my Hummingbird Series. Honesty and expression through writing save my life, every day. But, I will say, I feel beholden to a certain “appropriate” air since I am coming at this as a professional. So fill in between the lines as you see fit.

Be careful of triggering language, and of course, feel free to comment. Or not.

Campaign: www.indiegogo.com/JournalToSaveYourLife2

* * *

Entry: 1 of 60

It’s pretty hard to write, “Dear Self, I Love You.” There’s so much to not love.

“That’s so harsh!” You might say. Or maybe you heard yourself think, “Yeah, I know what you mean.”

I’ve struggled with self love and identity ever since I was a little girl…even though I have a good family. I’m going to use this blog to sort through some of this sludge.

I told a dear friend recently that his compliments run off my back like water on feathers. Sorry, I don’t believe you. Wretched feathers. They used to be protective and self serving when people were horrible, but now they serve little purpose. But now, it seems, I have to become a member of another species. But I like my feathers.

I realized yesterday that part of the reason why I push-push-push for things to happen in my life is I am desperately trying to find value in my life, value in me. I also do things for others because I think others are far more valuable than me.

This all sounds so hollow and weird – but it still rings true.

I think I am most uncomfortable because I am now only surrounded by those who support me. Blessing of a transformed delinquent, perhaps. But it’s uncomfortable because it does not make sense; what I feel internally does not match up with your words.

*

I think my propensity to fall into isolation and weirdness has been magnified by my OBSESSION (ha) with our campaign to raise the funds to build our J2SYL Program website. We can’t move forward without these funds. Scary time. When everything rides on a particular event or thing like a campaign, it’s easy to get obsessed — but if I don’t use the coping skills we go over and over in our J2SYL program, then how on earth can I expect for the girls to do it?

So I sat down with my trusty journal last night, and I wrote. Then I felt guilty for focusing on me and not doing something “tangible” in the world. Then I forced myself to write again. Like we teach the girls, I spent time reconceptualizing how I was thinking about myself. Writing through all the rage and passion and focus made me feel like everything will be ok and ultimately relationships with people are what matters. Ok.

Then I was feeling anxious about being social with anyone…but I’ll write about social anxiety tomorrow. Social anxiety is a big part of my personal experience, and I want to write out how a girl might deal with a similar issue with our program.

Do you love yourself? Or are you fit with feathers?

Love,

~Jasper

Journal To Save Your Life
Mental Health is the Center of all Experience
Campaign: www.indiegogo.com/JournalToSaveYourLife2

~How CBT is being funded and administered in J2SYL~

In response to a great question posted on our J2SYL IndieGoGo fundraising campaign comment page, this is my reply.

Firstly: It has come to my attention that while there are “open-source” cognitive behavioral therapy/CBT materials we are utilizing in J2SYL, we should not state that we are administering CBT as our program is self-run, without a therapist on a day to day basis. Due to this distinction, we’ll now be sharing how we are using CBT exercises developed for adolescents, but we are not formally administering CBT.

Brandon: Jasper, your program looks inspired and well-thought out. Bravo. I am curious to know more: How will the CBT be administered and funded? Thanks.

@Brandon: I love your question, and it speaks to your knowledge of CBT which is great.  Please see above, and now I’m going to reply from a scholarly perspective on how we are doing things, but if you need me to come at this from a different angle, please let me know! You’re only able to post a message of 500 characters or less in our comment boxes, so I’ve posted my reply here.

Funding CBT

As far as how our CBT is being funded for our pilot program: On IndieGoGo.com! Then after we formally evaluated the efficacy of J2SYL’s pilot program, we’ll be able to start writing grant proposals to flesh out the potential of J2SYL even further.

Administering CBT

As you no doubt know, CBT is typically administered by a licensed therapist who then works with a teenager (or adult) one on one or in group therapy. CBT has been shown to be very successful in these arenas, accounting for up to 70% of improvements in a teenager’s mood, depression, and anxiety ratings.  70% is huge.  You can read about CBT and its positive effects on alleviating adolescent mental health disorders in, “Treating and Preventing Adolescent Mental Health Disorders, What We Know and What We Don’t Know, A RESEARCH AGENDA FOR IMPROVING THE MENTAL HEALTH OF OUR YOUTH” (http://amhi-treatingpreventing.oup.com/anbrg/public/index.html).

So why CBT online? At first I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to incorporate CBT into J2SYL (so many acronyms!) since it did seem like CBT worked best with a therapist on hand. But I kept researching to see if it is possible—because if we can set up a successful mental health PROGRAM rather than simply “informational website for teens”, we may be able to help meet our $12 billion dollar annual need for mental health services currently not met by our system.

To my delight, internet based CBT programs for adults have been trialed and seen to be successful in Europe and Australia. For example, this thesis is the first of its kind (in 2007) compare internet based to face to face interventions:

“The internet-based cognitive behaviour therapy intervention was developed by the Trimbos institute, the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction. It is a self-help intervention consisting of eight modules including text, exercises, videos, and figures. The internet-based intervention covers the same subjects as the group course, since it was based on the Coping with Depression Course. It was studied purely as a self-help intervention, and no professional support was offered alongside the intervention. This is the first study in which a face-to-face treatment for depressive symptoms is compared to internet-based treatment for depressive symptoms. As stated above, the content of both treatments is the same; however, presentation of the content is very different. Therefore, this provides an excellent opportunity to investigate the importance of the presentation of cognitive behaviour therapy (p. 15-16).”  Article link: http://arno.uvt.nl/show.cgi?fid=75354#page=21

HOWEVER—as noted, this internet based CBT therapy was studied in people OVER 50 years old.

Youth are far more “wired” and internet savvy than those 50+ (unless those 50+ are inherently in love with tech!). So Journal To Save Your Life wishes to explore the efficacy of disseminating a three part therapeutic program online. If successful, we’ll really have a very valuable program to offer. So this is step one of seeing if this can work.

Much of our inspiration for our CBT modules comes from the depression prevention program cited in the June 2009 article by Garber et al. in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Here’s the link to their open source program packets for adolescents and therapists: http://www.kpchr.org/research/public/acwd/acwd.html.

More information on the research that went into our decision to do an online intervention program can be found here: J2SYL Formal Narrative Description of Activities.

Again, excellent question! I’m happy to do a phone conversation too if you wish. 🙂

Thank you, I hope you’ll support us, and speak soon!!

~Jasper