Arthur Mitchell Mystery Planned Accidents is available today

Arthur Mitchell Mystery Planned Accidents is available today.

Arthur Mitchell and his dog Plutus are enjoying their peaceful life when Arthur’s friends begin to die in mysterious accidents. Who is behind these accidents and will Arthur be the next to die? What is the meaning of the clues Plutus discovers?

Planned Accidents is the second Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

Wanted to let you know that my fourth book is available today in both Kindle and paperback editions from Amazon. Keep an eye out, several of my books will be going on sale shortly.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Four David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

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The pain of revision.

By David Joel Miller, Writer.

Man writing

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

After the writing comes the revision.

Cover for planned accidents book

Planned Accidents cover

As some of you are aware, I spent the month of November participating in the NaNoWriMo (the National Novel Writing Month) contest. This event is the fourth time I have attempted this and the third time I have succeeded in completing a first draft of a novel in one month.

Participating in the contest has taught me a great deal about writing a novel. What I’m struggling with now, even more than writing a novel, is the process of revision, trying to turn that first rough draft into something worth publishing. I would like to share with you some of the challenges I’m experiencing in revision, but first a little background.

Casino Robbery started the Arthur Mitchell mysteries series.

Planned Accidents is the second in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series. Arthur’s adventures began in the book Casino Robbery. After the financial crisis in 2008 Arthur Mitchell, accountant, gave up working at Fantastic Finance to take what he thought would be a safe and stable job working as an accountant for a Las Vegas casino. Arthur was trying to avoid anything risky. What Arthur hadn’t expected was to be in the middle of taking his fiancée to lunch when the casino was robbed. During the robbery, the criminals shot Arthur and killed his fiancée.

Because of the robbery, Arthur developed a severe case of PTSD. Unable to return to work Arthur opened a small thrift and collectible store on a rural Highway between Las Vegas and Utah. Unfortunately for Arthur, it turned out that as being shot wasn’t accidental, someone had wanted him dead, and he was pulled into investigating the robbery. Arthur became both an amateur and an accidental sleuth.

Planning Accidents turned into Planned Accidents.

Arthur has settled into running his thrift store, thinking the danger is behind him, when someone begins contacting the former employees at Fantastic Finance demanding money. First one and then another of Arthur’s former colleagues dies in mysterious accidents. At least that’s what the police think they are. Arthur’s not so sure any of this is accidental.

I started this novel with the working title Planning Accidents. What I found, as I wrote was that talking too much about planning the accidents took the focus off my hero Arthur and started me writing more about the people who could be planning these accidents. To shift the focus back on to Arthur and how he is drawn into investigating these supposed accidents, I’ve decided to change the title to Planned Accidents.

My first draft ended up with a lot of loose threads.

As I began my revision in January, I discovered I had included a lot of events that had nothing to do with Planned Accidents. Several times in the first draft I had Arthur buy some limited-edition lithographs. When Arthur inspects the lithographs, he discovers he has two copies of the same piece of art both with the same serial number. Somebody has been counterfeiting works of art and selling them directly to collectors. Once Arthur purchases the art from those collectors, the fraud becomes apparent.

Of course, the counterfeiters don’t want to be caught, and they make life extremely dangerous for Arthur Mitchell, as in they try to kill him. Once I realized this whole subplot had nothing to do with the Planned Accidents I pulled out the discovery of the duplicate lithographs and left that for Arthur to encounter in mystery number three or maybe even number four.

What do I do with the letters from the dead person?

One of the lots Arthur buys at an estate sale includes a bunch of letters an elderly lady had written to a police detective which were returned to her unopened. The author of the letters wrote to the detective describing a murder she had witnessed. Again, I discovered I had another crime for Arthur to investigate but trying to send him in that direction while he is trying to avoid being killed by someone who is planning his accidental death just mucked up the plot a little much. I pulled out all the material about the discovery of the letters from the witness, and I’ll save that for another Arthur Mitchell mystery. Once I get Planned Accidents finished, I think I want to start on this mystery, currently with the working title of “Letters from the Dead.” I think once we start opening the letters we will find the elderly lady witnessed more than one shocking crime.

Does this book need another page of description?

In the revision process, I struggle to decide whether I have written too much description or when there are insufficient details. I read a lot of other fiction, particularly in the amateur sleuth category. Occasionally I’m impressed by some extraordinarily brilliant description which produces a vivid image in my brain. More often though, when I reach long passages of description, I find myself speeding up, skimming over the description.

I am starting to feel like description, at least in an amateur sleuth mystery, is like spices in a stew. A little bit of spice, especially chili powder, can enhance the dish. But I don’t want my novel to resemble my stew, the time I accidentally dumped in a whole jar of chili powder.

I have an idea. If any of you readers would like to read draft two of “Planned Accidents” sign up for my mailing list or use the contact form and when it’s ready, I’ll send you an advanced reviewer copy of “Planned Accidents” and you can tell me if I’ve included too much or too little description. Of course, other feedback would be helpful also.

Does that dog ever do anything?

Something else I have been fixing as I’m working on draft number two is sorting out the role of Arthur’s dog Plutus. Plutus was important in the Casino Robbery book because he had belonged to Arthur’s fiancé’s Janet. In this mystery number two, Plutus kept turning up in various chapters but not doing much. As I revised, it became plain that Plutus unquestionably has a part to play in this story. Since Plutus helped Arthur solve the first mystery, I think I should put him to work helping to solve mystery number two and beyond.

There are some early thoughts about my revision project. I’ll share more with you in the future.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Self-publishing requires many hats.

Self-publishing requires many hats.

Man writing

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller.

Self-publishers must fill many roles.

Bumps on the Road of Life.

Bumps on the Road of Life.
By David Joel Miller

Self-published authors need many hats. Even if you pay someone to do some of these functions; you still need to spend time on that role. I continue to feel like I’m just at the beginning of my self-publishing career, but when I look back over my shoulder and see how far I have come, it’s incredible.

My first blog post was in May 2011. I continue to learn about blogging. The transition from blogger to published author has been a steep uphill climb. My first book, Bumps on the Road of Life, a nonfiction book about recovery when life knocks you down, was published in late October 2017. Bumps was followed a week later by my first novel Casino Robbery. My second novel, Sasquatch Attacks, was released in September 2018.

Through this process have learned a great many things but I have many things yet to learn. To be successful as an indie author, however you define success, requires learning and practicing a great many skills. Here are some of the skills I’ve been working on developing.

Self-published, indie authors, must become researchers.

Photo of Casino Robbery book

Casino Robbery.

Writing a nonfiction book requires a lot of research. I thought there would be less research needed when I started writing fiction. I have learned that if I didn’t do the research before I began to write, I was likely to have to stop in the middle of writing and do that research.

Whatever you put in your book you need to describe accurately. I have had to research locations for my settings, weather patterns, clothing, and a great many other details. I’m tempted to write a fantasy novel set somewhere in my imagination. But a preliminary outline for my fantasy already tells me I will need to spend a lot of time creating this world in minute detail, so I don’t have my characters doing things that aren’t consistent with that setting.

I continue to learn about how to research effectively and plan to write another blog post about the lessons I’ve learned about how to be an effective researcher.

Self-publishers need to be creative authors.

Sasquatch Attacks - cover On Amazon

Sasquatch Attacks – cover
On Amazon

You would think making things up, that would be easy. Lots of people lie every day. Creating fictional characters doing fictional actions turns out to be harder than I had imagined. My creative process continues to change. I started primarily by imagining my protagonists, putting them in a setting and then creating obstacles for them to overcome.

For me, this process of “writing into the dark” involved a lot of stopping and starting. I get my character to a setting, and then I must describe the location. Next, I set my protagonist to interact with other people. But who are these people?

Over the last year, I’ve written several additional novels which I hope to get published in 2019. I found that the most creative part for me now is writing the outline. For each chapter I plan to write, I think about where the action will take place, who will be there, and what the action will be. As I work my way through the outline ideas for other possibilities pop into my head. This requires going back and inserting the helper who will come to the protagonist aid in chapter 12 into earlier sections, so the reader won’t be surprised when this character appears.

Independent authors need to be extreme editor’s.

Sasquatch - cover On other platforms

Sasquatch – cover
On other platforms

I continue to learn about the process of editing. Editing is a lot more than running the manuscript through spellcheck and Grammarly, as valuable as those tools are. Editing also involves looking for the things that been left out and cutting out the unnecessary, boring parts. One challenge I encounter, when editing, is balancing the need for correct grammar with establishing authentic voices for my characters and the narrator.

You may decide that you need to hire an editor. I read a lot of self-published books, and some of them are so full of typos and errors that it makes them hard to read. Paying an editor to weed out all those typos can be expensive. Whether you elect to pay an editor or do the editing yourself the more errors you find and correct the better the final product will be.

Indie authors are also their own publisher.

The publishing function includes several tasks starting with formatting the manuscript for submission. The requirements for an e-book are enormously different from those from a paperback. E-books can contain links while the paperback edition requires complete information, including the URL.

In publishing your book, you need to decide whether to go exclusively with Amazon or “publish wide” so that your books will be available on other platforms such as Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Apple iBooks, and so on. If you “publish wide” you will need multiple formatted manuscripts. You can’t include links to your books on one platform in a manuscript published on another platform.

My nonfiction book is currently available exclusively on Amazon. The two novels I published wide. One of those novels has sold predominantly on Amazon, while the other novel has sold almost entirely on the other platforms. I learned a lot of lessons by attempting to publish wide. The decision to publish exclusively on Amazon, or to go wide on other platforms is a complicated one. That decision requires a full blog post all on its own.

Self-published authors need covers for their books.

Many indie authors pay someone to design their covers. A good cover can help sell your book. I feel like I’m just in the “kindergarten” of learning book cover design. I have used Amazon’s cover creator and found it very helpful. I’ve also tried designing my own covers. Creating a good cover is a lot harder than it looks. I continue to learn about creating covers.

Indie authors need to be their own Promotions and Publicist person.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful once having written your book and uploaded it to a platform, if that book suddenly started selling? With so many books on the market, the challenge is to make your book discoverable. Promoting sales of your book is an ongoing challenge.

There’s a short description of some of the various skills I’ve been learning in my process of writing and publishing my own books. I’m sure I have a great deal more to learn. If you have questions for me about my writing and publishing journey feel free to ask.

Part of the promotion process is getting reviews for your book. Securing more reviews for the books I have published is one of the things on my “to do” list. Honest reviews help other people decide whether to purchase a book. If you have read one of my books and have not yet left a review, I would appreciate one.

You’ll find more posts on this topic under – Writing.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Sasquatch Attacks.

Sasquatch has discovered a hole in time and is preying on humans. Can two people lost in the desert survive?

The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch wants to kill them.

Want the latest news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time. The newsletter started out to talk about mental health issues. I recently added some other categories. In addition to mental health, you can also sign up for newsletter updates about writing and my novels. You can sign up for any one of these lists or all 3.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Lessons from NaNoWriMo.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Writer.

Man writing

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You can learn a lot from making the effort.

This is the third year in a row that I’ve written a novel during November. Before that, I had tried to write several books, but they never reached “the end.” Each of these attempts has taught me valuable lessons about writing a novel and about myself. One of the things I learned is how much more I have to learn. Writing, like every other skill, needs both knowledge and practice.

Last week I shared a post about how as I get closer to the end of a writing project the more resistance gets in my way and the harder it is to finish that project. This week I wanted to share with you some of the other lessons I’ve learned because of participating in the NaNoWriMo contest.

Having a deadline keeps you moving forward.

In the past, I’ve started lots of projects which are still residing somewhere in electronic storage. One by one each of these ideas languished as the next shiny idea distracted me. Almost every time I have set a deadline to finish a project, the result has been a completed project.

The exception to meeting my deadlines? Those times I set unrealistically high goals. On an extremely productive writing day I may be able to write 3000 to 4000 words, once I even wrote 8000 words, but planning to write a 50,000-word novel in 10 days by writing 5000 words per day is both unrealistic and undoable for me.

During NaNoWriMo, I stuck to the goal of writing on average 1667 words per day. That occasional high-number-of-words day made up for those days when I simply couldn’t find the time or inspiration to write more than 200 to 300 words. Setting an unrealistic goal for me is a way of sabotaging the project. Setting a doable goal kept me moving forward.

Repeated small efforts add up.

During November, I had several days off from my other work activities. I had counted on writing a large number of words each of those days. That didn’t always happen. Driven by the pressure of a deadline I tried to write something, anything, each day. There were even days when I wrote less than 100 words.

Writing something every day was like drops going into a bucket. While several days output may have been less than I wanted, doing something each day kept my bucket filling and my goal in sight.

Having a story blueprint kept my process moving.

I’ve tried both outlining and going by the seat of my pants. Neither of these approaches was the full answer for me. What has worked best for me is to think through the story and create a list of the scenes that will make up the story. I started this book with an outline at the scene level but for many scenes nothing beyond the basic idea for that section.

For some of these scenes, I had several paragraphs of ideas. For others, I had a single sentence. Each day I sat down and wrote at least one scene. Some of the scenes were well thought out in advance while others I had to “right into the dark.”

After each scene, I looked back at my scene list to see what was coming up next. Almost every time, what I had written in one scene resulted in my revising my “outline.”

There’s a lot more to do after you type “the end.”

Trying to write a perfect first draft resulted in a lot of opening chapters that went nowhere. For me, there’s no such thing as writing a great first draft. In the first draft, I get the story down. But after that first draft, there’s going to be a lot of editing and polishing before I can publish this book. I’ve learned to accept that writing a publishable book takes me a lot of hours.

In writing from start to finish something suffered. Having written the first draft in one month, I discovered certain things were left out. While I think I have the framework of the story, the finishing touches are missing.

I’ve already gone through the manuscript briefly correcting a lot of typing, spelling, and grammar errors. But I discovered that what I had left out were descriptions. In places, I just say my protagonist walked up to the house. What I haven’t said is very much about the house they are approaching.

Another thing that happens when I write the way I would tell a story verbally is that I have certain words I use repeatedly. Polishing the language is something best left for subsequent drafts.

Before this book gets published, I will need to do not only editing but all the tasks of publishing. There’s a cover to create. A manuscript to format. Blurbs to write. And a great many other tasks associated with publishing and marketing the book.

Having too many priorities means nothing gets done.

Looking back over this last year, I’ve been working on a lot of projects. The consequence of having many “priorities” was that I completed very few of these projects. Every time I have picked one major priority and put a large share of my efforts into that project, I have been able to complete it.

A prime example of selecting one project and focusing on it is the three books listed below. Each of these books was started a long time ago, and each was finished when I finally decided to make them my top priority and set a final date for completion.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

The closer you get to the finish line the harder it gets.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Writer.

Man writing

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Resistance takes its toll on writing.

Every project starts out with high hopes and expectations. It seems to be some perverse law of nature that the longer you work on something, the harder it gets. A lot of people start their project, begin their novel, plan their business venture, maybe they make a start on the project, but it just never gets finished.

It feels as if the burden you carry gets heavier the more work you’ve done on the project. Some of you know I been participating in the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) contest again this year. This year is the fourth time I tried to write a novel of 50,000 words or more during November. As the month progresses I find it harder and harder to write. Some of you may have noticed that I missed last Wednesday’s blog post on my writing adventures. I’ll try to make that up to you regular readers during December and throughout the new year.

Since I began writing counselorssoapbox.com blog on a regular basis, I’ve completed almost 1500 blog posts. I have also written probably ten novels or more, but just couldn’t get them completed and published. The first time I tried to write a novel in November, I couldn’t finish the book.

My NaNoWriMo experience.

Finally, in late 2017 my first two books, Bumps on the Road of Life a nonfiction book about recovering from life’s setbacks and Casino Robbery my first novel in the Arthur Mitchell Mystery series was published. Casino Robbery was written for the 2016 NaNoWriMo contest.

My 2017 NaNoWriMo effort, a book titled Family Secrets is in the editing stage, and I hope to publish it shortly.

This year’s effort a book titled “Planned Accidents” is in its final pages. I put that working title quotations. When I first started the title was “Planning Accidents.” I’ve learned over the years of writing novels that the title which sounded perfect when I started doesn’t fit the book when I finish it. The book published under the title Casino Robbery started out with a working title “Thrift Store.”

Am I going to finish another novel this year?

One reason I’m telling you all about this is that with only a couple of days to go I’m finding it harder and harder to finish the book. At the beginning of November, I was having some 2000 to 4000-word days. In the start, even my slow days were 700 or 800 words. As we approach the final deadline, I’ve had three days of writing 300 words day or less.

One reason I’m throwing this out there to all of you at this point is that by confessing this publicly, it’s going to force me to finish this book before the end of November. If I don’t, I will have to spend the next year listening to people asked me why I didn’t finish my 2018 NaNoWriMo novel.

Resistance tries to prevent you from succeeding.

Resistance takes many forms. Life gets busy, and there are things I absolutely, positively must do. Or at least I tell myself I need to do them. Things I neglected doing all year, suddenly take on new necessity just as I’m getting close to finishing my novel.

Another way resistance manifests itself as the next shiny idea. While I’m writing the second Arthur Mitchell Mystery ideas for the third and fourth in the series have appeared. Not only is my Muse tempting me with two other Arthur Mitchell Mysteries that need writing, but she’s also yelling loudly in my ear that both of these ideas will make better books than the one I’m working on now.

I think Resistance and my Muse are in league. When the Muse first started telling me about the ideas for two more Arthur Mitchell Mysteries I hurriedly scribbled them down and went back to work on this year’s novel, “Planned Accidents.”

As if Resistance hadn’t come up with enough ways to stop the progress of “Planned Accidents” the Muse has begun to torment me the last few days with a fabulous idea for an entirely new series. I won’t tell you the new series idea now as I don’t want to get committed to having to write that series, at least not yet anyway. What I will say is that the Muse tells me I need to abandon my current project and immediately began researching the idea for my next fabulous series.

Despite Resistance’s efforts to prevent my completed this novel I continue to plod forward even though the pace has slowed, and the writing has become more difficult.

Stay tuned. Sometime between Friday, 3 November and next Wednesday, December 5, there will be another blog post, and I’ll let you know my final word count and whether the novel made it across the 50,000-word finish line and is now a candidate for revision and editing.

Whatever you’re working on for 2018, don’t let Resistance stop you from reaching your goal. Are there some projects you should finish in 2018 to clear the slate for your new adventures in 2019?

You’ll find more posts on this topic under – Writing.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time. The newsletter started out to talk about mental health issues. I recently added some other categories. In addition to mental health, you can also sign up for newsletter updates about writing and my novels. You can sign up for any one of these lists or all 3.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Which pill should you take for that?

By David Joel Miller MS Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Pill for that?

Pill for that?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Trying to solve life’s problems with a pill comes at a cost.

Modern medical science has been a great boon to people. Medications can treat diseases and have extended the human lifespan. Unfortunately, many people in our society have come to expect that taking a chemical will solve all their problems. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if no matter what your challenge there was a pill for that?

Regrettably, many of the problems people face today can’t be solved with medication. Freud, Jung, and a great many others discovered that the “talking cure” was more effective for treating emotional problems and relationship problems than meditation.

Martin Seligman, Ph.D., in his book, What You Can Change … and What You Can’t, reports that as of 2007 no medication had been found which cured any mental illness but that several varieties of talk therapy have been effective in curing certain mental and emotional disorders. While medication can help you manage some of the symptoms of your illness, symptoms can return as soon as you stop taking that medication.

A word of caution here, if you’re currently taking a prescribed medication don’t suddenly stop taking it without a discussion with your physician. Abruptly discontinuing medication can cause some severe medical issues. The symptoms people experience from stopping antidepressant medication can be so intense, that there is a recognized mental illness in the DSM-5 called “antidepressant discontinuation syndrome.”

The medicalization of life’s problems.

Many of the problems of living have increasingly been construed as medical problems. A significant number of people who completed suicide have been to see their medical doctor in the month before their attempt, only to be told that there was nothing medically wrong with them.

Taking medication for depression can be helpful, but it typically takes a long time, a month or more before you begin to feel the effects. If you don’t face your problems, learn to change what you can and to accept the things you can’t change. No medication will make your life happier all by itself.

Don’t confuse physical and emotional pains.

The belief that when you feel bad, there must be a medication that will stop the pain has led a lot of people to seek a chemical solution to the problems of living. If you’re sad because of a loss in your life, medication can temporarily numb that pain, but when the medication wears off, you still must face life’s problems.

Some problems respond better to life skills than to medication.

There’s an immense connection between sleep and physical and emotional health. Some sleep issues are medical, sleep apnea for example. Temporarily you can increase the amount of sleep by taking sleeping pills, but once you become dependent on the sleeping pills, you won’t be able to sleep without them. Rebound insomnia can happen when you discontinue the sleeping pills and results in nights where you don’t sleep at all.

Using alcohol to help you sleep is even worse. Alcohol is a depressant drug, drink enough, and you will pass out, unconscious. Being unconscious is not the same thing as sleeping.

Far more effective than using chemicals to increase sleep are things called “sleep hygiene.” Decrease or eliminate caffeine use during the eight hours or so before bedtime. Avoid blue light from TVs and computer screens during the last hour before bedtime. If anxiety and worries are keeping you awake at night try journaling about them, make up lists of things to do the next day, and seek long-term solutions to those problems. If you feel stuck in this area, consider going for counseling.

Don’t fall for the myth of “happy pills.”

I’m inclined to think that our societies belief that there must be a pill to cure everything that ails you has been fueling the drug overdose crisis. For someone with chronic physical pain medications can help them have a better life. But many people miss the connection between emotional pain and physical pain. Your emotions are regulated in your nervous system, and your nervous system connects to every other part of your body. Being under stress or experiencing mental and emotional problems leads to chemical changes in the body. Untreated emotional issues can result in genuine physical pain.

Taking medication does not solve the nonmedical problems of living and “numbing out” with drugs whether they are prescribed, or street drugs, allow your problems to grow worse and gives you the additional problem of addiction to deal with.

Don’t use drugs as a shortcut to things you can do without them.

I’ve noticed recently students who don’t put in the time to study for class but instead take “smart drugs” or load up on stimulants and try to learn everything the night before the final they should’ve been learning all semester.

Stimulant ADHD medication can be helpful to someone with severe attention deficit disorder. But taking these medications won’t make up for learning good study habits and putting in the time on your homework. ADHD is an excellent example of “concept creep” in which the number of people with a diagnosis continues to expand as milder and milder cases get the diagnosis. Learning to focus your attention is a skill that can be developed.

Mental and emotional problems respond to physical exercise.

Walking can be as useful for treating depression as medication. There is no known medication to treat the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, but a recent study reported that aerobic exercise reduces those negative symptoms. I’m currently reviewing the research reports on exercise to treat mental illness. I found thousands of studies on this subject. As I have the time to read the studies, I plan to write another blog post on what conditions exercise has been proven to help.

It’s hard to admit the doctor’s prescription pad won’t solve all your problems.

Recently something happened that drove home how ingrained our society’s belief is that medical doctors have all the answers to life’s problems. Google is now moving post written by medical doctors or approved by them to the top of the search results while writers from nonmedical fields find their posts dropping down the search results.

I get why Google may have had to do this. I’ve seen some articles and blog posts with information I considered totally erroneous. You should be careful to separate the views of someone with knowledge in the field from those who may be handing out inaccurate information. I hope that society won’t ignore information about study habits from educators in favor of posts encouraging you to take the newest smart drug or preference for information about diet drugs and surgery while disregarding sound information about exercise and physical fitness from specialists in that area who don’t necessarily have a prescription pad.

If you read this far thanks for considering my suggestions for solving life’s problems without reaching for a drug that could make your problems worse.

David Joel Miller, MS, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program. He also writes both articles and books about overcoming life’s challenges.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Sasquatch, my third book is about to be published.

By David Joel Miller Writer, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

David Joel Miller Books

David Joel Miller Books

Wanted to share this with you. I’m a little excited about this. My third book, my second

Novel - Sasquach

Sasquatch
3rd David Joel Miller Book

novel, Sasquatch, will be available starting this week.

This book is an idea been working on for about five years. The underlying theme is how you or I would cope if we were suddenly thrown into a situation without all our modern technology.

Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

I took a different approach with this book. My first two books were available exclusively on Amazon. If you been reading my Wednesday writing posts, I talked mostly about the lessons I learned from blogging. Stay tuned. Eventually, I would like to tell you the story of my journey from ideas to finished books. I’m still learning as I take that journey.

I decided to take my third book “wide,” which means it will be available in a number of e-book stores rather than being exclusive on Amazon. It’s not that I wasn’t happy with Amazon. I’ve been delighted with my experience in publishing my first two books on Amazon. I just decided this was an opportunity for me to grow and learn more about publishing on other platforms.

One of the reasons I decided to go wide was how many people outside the United States have been regular readers of counselorssoapbox.com. The last time I counted counselorssoapbox.com posts had been read it over 130 countries. In some of those countries, they often use booksellers other than Amazon. I wanted to make sure that wherever you are my books were available to you.

As of today, Sasquatch, as well as my first novel Casino Robbery, will be available on

Amazon,

Kobo,

iBooks,

Barnes & Noble,

My books will also be available shortly on Tolino, Scribd, 24symbols, Playster, Overdrive, ODILO, and several other sites. I will update these links as they become available.

The book covers may be slightly different depending on the site from which you purchased the book. The content of each title is the same, regardless of the cover.

Tomorrow we will get back to the regular Mental Heath – Happy-Life post.

The reminders.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.