Yesterday Never Sleeps

How Integrating Life's Current and Past Connections Improves Our Well-Being

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Published by: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Release Date: August 1, 2023
Pages: 288
ISBN13: 979-8886450569


Amazon Best Seller in Jewish Biographies & Memoirs; Psychiatry; Survival Biographies & Memoirs; Holocaust Biographies; Medical Professional Biographies; and Emigrants & Immigrants Biographies

#1 New Release in Jewish Biographies & Memoirs; Holocaust Biographies; Psychiatry



Because relationships dominate our inner world, knowing what we feel, and what we think about how we feel, cultivates self-awareness and acceptance. We learn to respect that others have their minds; we stop blaming and seeking scapegoats. Self-reflection, a learnable skill, links raw emotion–the kind we feel in our hearts and guts–to past events and behavior patterns. Knowing the story behind our painful feelings soothes and regulates our emotions so we can think before we act. Creating and updating a lifelong self-narrative—including the good, the bad, and the ugly—are the cornerstones for gaining wisdom and loving-kindness, qualities that interrupt cycles of trauma. The brain creates new neural connections during these processes, improving emotional health and cognition.

Jacqueline Heller, MS, MD, is board certified in psychiatry and neurology and is a psychoanalyst.

In Yesterday Never Sleeps, she draws upon decades of clinical experience to weave together a powerful narrative that contains neuroscience, memoir of her life as a child of holocaust survivors, and patient histories involving a range of psychological ills and trauma.

Dr. Heller offers a uniquely holistic approach demonstrating how the therapeutic process and self-analysis help us make sense of our history and forge a better future.


My parents came from tiny villages a few miles apart on the Russian border that Ukrainians, Poles, and Jews populated.

My mother, Fanya, enjoyed a stable, traditional Jewish home life. She was intelligent and bookish. During the Holocaust, Sidor, a kind farmer, and a Ukrainian militiaman, Jan, who fell in love with Fanya, conspired to save the family from certain death by hiding them for several years. Fanya’s father, faced with this choice-less choice, told his daughter to be friendly and comply with Jan's wishes.

My father suffered serial childhood calamities. In effect, he was doubly orphaned by age six. Chance, grit, and the kindness of strangers enabled him to survive childhood. Then, during the war, he was on the run—like a feral hunted animal.

My parents met after the war, married, and had two children while living in Germany and ended up in New York, ushering in a new era. The first US-born American citizen in the family, my personhood became an emblem of hope, recovery, opportunity, and freedom. Read more


“A compelling, profound, and deeply personal exploration of our past’s unending impact on our present, Yesterday Never Sleeps provides invaluable insights and answers for the victims of PTSD and other childhood traumas. Therapists, physicians, educators, and religious leaders will benefit immensely from this book, as will parents and other caring family members. Dr. Jacqueline Heller has written a compassionate primer on better understanding and more effectively addressing the long-term effects of trauma.”
—Michael B. Oren, PHD, Former Israeli ambassador to the US, New York Times bestselling author of Ally and Six Days of War

“Dr. Heller has achieved something extraordinary: a scientifically grounded, immensely readable summary of the workings of memory. Through vivid case studies, practical exercises, and a disarmingly candid excursion into her history as the daughter of Holocaust survivors, Dr. Heller demystifies and renders manageable the mechanisms of the emotional self. What emerges is an exciting, dynamic portrait of what we humans can become—a portrait that rises above both dry, clinical observation and romanticized notions of trauma. Here, in crisp, vivid language is the kind of insight usually attained only by years of contemplative practice and therapy. A revelation and highly recommended.”
—Joshua M. Greene, 2022 Laurel Vlock fellow, Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University; New York Times bestselling author of Unstoppable

“Dr. Jacqueline Heller is a compassionate, erudite, and experienced psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. In this elegant volume, she offers rich and nuanced clinical encounters, playfully innovative treatments, and contemporary psychodynamic theory conveyed in plain English accompanied by do-it yourself exercises. Through these windows, Dr. Heller highlights ways to identify and address one’s emotional triggers, gain increased self-awareness and self-control, and foster mature relationships. This valuable book should appeal to wide audiences of seekers, sufferers, and those who care for them.”
—Joel Yager, MD, Professor emeritus, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine; professor emeritus, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA; professor emeritus, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of New Mexico School of Medicine

“Dr. Jackie Heller’s book provides a remarkably accessible summary of the core principles of psychoanalytic/psychodynamic therapy and demonstrates convincingly why these principles are crucial for profound personal growth. She then uses these principles to provide an incredibly deep and revealing look at her personal history and that of her family, showing over and over how the effects of psychological trauma play out both within individuals and across generations. Dr. Heller’s personal and family history of Holocaust survivors is astonishing, absorbing, moving, uplifting, and heartbreaking all at once. This book provides a great education and fascinating reading, a rare combination! I highly recommend it.”
—Michael J. Gitlin, MD, Distinguished professor of clinical psychiatry, director of the Division of Adult Psychiatry and the Mood Disorders Clinic, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA

“Virgil was Dante’s guide through the rungs of Hell, passing under a gate on which was inscribed, ‘Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.’ As a Jewish woman like Heller, that inferno inhabits my personal history as well. It is, as Jackie Heller so beautifully tells us, ‘a fact of life and requires inner resources and self-awareness to break the cycles that echo across generations and dynasties.’ Heller takes us back into her own family’s history with the Holocaust and—like a modern-day Virgil—brings us to her story’s denouement: ‘My mom, the model survivor par excellence, terrified of death no longer, sanguinely informed me she was soon leaving this world.’ Heller does not simply tell us how to navigate the seemingly unnavigable, she does not simply show us how to recognize and manage our own demons, Heller travels the path with us. Yesterday Never Sleeps offers hope to those for whom hope seems only a passing shade on their journey through the underworld. What an extraordinary gift Jackie Heller has given us!”
—Elyn R. Saks, JD, PSYD, Orrin B. Evans distinguished professor of law; professor of psychology, psychiatry, and the behavioral sciences, USC Gould School of Law; director of the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics; adjunct professor of psychiatry, UC San Diego School of Medicine; faculty at the New Center for Psychoanalysis; author of The Center Cannot Hold

“In many ways, Yesterday Never Sleeps answers what life is like for children of Holocaust survivors such as Fanya Heller and myself, as I am both a survivor and a child of survivors. Heller did not live her parents’ persecution but witnessed and lived with the aftermath of the ruined and dehumanized lives of people filled with shock and terror and groping to create a new life that feels human. Heller is her mother’s daughter; I had the good fortune to know and befriend Fanya Heller for many years. Heller explains that self-awareness is a requisite to control our emotions and connections to others and illustrates how knowing our deepest selves is an essential antidote to hatred. Heller takes us on a poignant journey into her life as a daughter of Holocaust survivors.”
—Abraham Foxman, Holocaust survivor, former national director of the Anti-Defamation League

“Why are we who we are? How can we understand ourselves better? What can we do to stop negative patterns from eating away at the fabric of our lives? How can we deal with stress and trauma, including intergenerational trauma? In her fascinating and immensely readable book, Dr. Jackie Heller addresses these questions and more, drawing upon her professional experience as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and her own experiences as a child of two Holocaust survivors who overcame tremendous odds to build a satisfying and successful life and family together. This book is powerful, well-written, and just WOW! This is a book you can’t put down, with essential insights and suggestions about improving our lives on every page.”
—Judy Tydor Baumel-Schwartz, Director of the Arnold and Leona Finkler Institute of Holocaust Research, Abraham and Edita Spiegel Family Professor in Holocaust Research, and Rabbi Pynchas Brener Professor in Research on the Holocaust of European Jewry, Israel and Golda Koschitzky Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry at Bar-Ilan University

“Dr. Heller examines the profound impact traumatic experiences have on survivors and their children. Offering compelling advice and providing keen insight, Yesterday Never Sleeps encourages the reader to venture into territory that often remains tightly guarded by parents and grandparents and that insists on revealing the truth of past traumas. Why? Heller explains, ‘. . . we become more empathetic and compassionate when we look inward and examine ourselves.’ The connection between communities and individuals resulting from self-inquiry leads to mutual understanding. Yesterday Never Sleeps shows the value of unlocking and sharing personal histories, persuasively arguing that such revelations are the best path forward.”
—Claudia Gould, Director, Helen Goldsmith Menschel, the Jewish Museum

Yesterday Never Sleeps by Dr. Jacqueline Heller examines how events from our past affect how we relate to others and the importance of creating a strong life narrative. Both scientific and personal, this book invites readers to reflect on their experiences using specific frameworks for support. The examples Dr. Heller provides from her own family history are compelling and highlight the value of self-reflection for all survivors of trauma, direct or inherited. Through this and her many other good works, Dr. Jacqueline Heller honors her mother’s legacy of educating the public about the Holocaust.”
—Jack Kliger, President and CEO, and Elizabeth Edelstein, Vice President of Education, Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

“Transgenerational trauma is a well-known concept that has received considerable interest, particularly in connection to Holocaust survivors and its impact on the second generation. Dr. Heller’s fascinating book explores this phenomenon in a psychiatrically rigorous and yet passionate and extraordinarily practical way. She provides her readers with the means to uncover their inner minds and a personal example of such a self-discovery process. Challenging but rewarding, this process is crucial in overcoming childhood traumas. Its healing power can be seen in the book through many examples and case studies, which resemble a journey out of the darkness. In this journey, children of Holocaust survivors continue to bear witness, in all different ways, to the murder of millions. They fight for their dignity and memory, and by recovering from inherited trauma, they pay the most beautiful tribute to those who perished. This is what Dr. Heller magnificently succeeds in demonstrating through her exceptional book.”
—Father Patrick Desbois, President of Yahad-In Unum

Yesterday Never Sleeps is an outstanding book written by an exceptional psychoanalyst, one with a human and personal face and a refreshing voice. She is a special person and comes from a unique background that she details in her book. It provides profound wisdom and deep insight into how the mind works and how people relate to each other from pluralistic perspectives, including the centrality of what we have learned from attachment theory. The reader will learn much about how they became who they are. It is a book for young and old.”
—Arnold Richards, MD, Psychoanalyst, editor of the International Journal of Controversial Discussions

“Your book is making a contribution to our understanding of the human experience and is particularly relevant for the field of Holocaust studies. Thank you for all you do.”
—Elizabeth Edelstein, Vice President for Education, Museum of Jewish Heritage A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

Yesterday Never Sleeps is that rare book that stays with you long after you’ve read the last page. The kind that makes you think about your place in this world in a completely new way and poses questions you can’t stop thinking about. It’s hard to put a label on this beautifully-written, riveting book. Yesterday Never Sleeps explores the profound impact of not only our own past experiences, but those of our parents as well, on our family dynamics, capacity for emotional regulation, and ability to form and sustain healthy relationships. Dr. Heller illuminates the stories behind the pain with compassion and insight. The result is stunning.”
—Lori Kaufmann, author of Rebel Daughter, Goodreads reader


“...a welcome elixir to the stagnation that comes with suppression.a welcome elixir to the stagnation that comes with suppression...”
Colin Jordan, Medium, read the full review

“I can’t recommend enough the book because of that authenticity, which I am sure will speak to a number of people because of Heller’s generous, compassionate disposition as a storyteller.”
—Garth Thomas, The Hollywood Digest, read the full review



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