By David Joel Miller
What is ahead for you in 2015?
The New Year is upon us. For some this has come too soon, you were not ready to let 2014 go. For others 2015 could not have waited one more moment, you were ready for a new beginning. Either way here is wishing you the best year possible.
Some of you are nursing hangovers today, the physical alcohol-induced kind. Others find that their hangover is more emotional, an excess of negative feelings left over from the past year. Others of you are living with a hangover sufferer of the physical or the emotional variety.
Counselorssoapbox wants to be helpful no matter what difficulties you have carried forward from the last year. The official purpose of this blog is to be helpful in your creating the best life possible. I think of that as planning to be happy.
This year the plan is to continue to present posts on the topics of mental health and substance abuse, especially to mention the times that these two problems happen together. Those time when someone has both a mental illness and a substance use disorder is referred to as a co-occurring disorder or sometimes as dual-diagnosis.
But that will not be all we do.
Part of our discussion this year will be the continuing topic of mental illness, what it is and how it can and should be treated. I have some concerns that a whole lot of normal problems of living have gotten converted into mental illnesses and the system is spending too much time managing people with mental illnesses and not enough time helping them recover. More on this to come.
There should be no doubt at this point that I believe in wellness and recovery. People with severe mental illness and substance use disorders do recover and are able to create great lives. Recovery in my view does not mean cured. So having recovered your life, there is a need for tools to keep you headed in the right direction.
People do not have one and only one problem in their life. Some people do not have a diagnosable mental illness or a substance use disorder and still, they have problems. I hesitate to call these folk “normal” because the line between normal and not-normal is getting increasingly blurry.
These problems of day-to-day life include things like jobs, getting and keeping them, children and parents, love and relationships and a host of other issues. Counselorssoapbox will include some discussion of these activities of life that can cause you problems regardless of your mental or emotional state.
There are also topics that are not directly connected to problems, things like self-improvement and growth. We will talk about becoming the best, healthiest person you can be whether or not you have some other issue.
I do recognize that having one problem may put you at risk for others. Would someone who is unemployed and homeless have emotional difficulties? Probably. Now, what if they go through a divorce or breakup? These problems, sometimes called “life skills issues,” for want of a better term, will be the topic of some blog posts this coming year also.
Some technical, diagnoses and treatment questions come up from time to time. Questions about the process of therapy, starting, stopping and what does and does not stay confidential also come up. Some of you leave those questions in the comments or use the contact me form. Students in my classes and those I supervise also bring up those kinds of questions. Counselorssoapbox (Me) will try to answer those questions as much as possible. Keep those questions coming.
Some cautions here. This is a good place to remind you that nothing you read on the internet or in self-help books, (even my books when they get published) is a substitute for seeing a professional. It is not possible for me to do therapy via email or blog. If you need help please consider this and other blogs as information only and seek help from a local therapist or counselor. In an emergency call your local crisis number.
Thanks for reading this post or any others. If there is something you would like to ask send the question on. Looking forward to making this the best year possible.
P.S. For those of you who were looking for a hangover cure for an alcoholic hangover? The only really effective one is time. Eventually, if you take care of yourself and do not drink more alcohol the hangover will pass. The secret cure for hangovers is prevention, not treatment. Next time drink less or possibly do not drink at all. Hope the hangover goes away soon.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books