Is your life a mess?

By David Joel Miller.

Have you ever felt like you just can’t get it together?

Life can be hard sometimes. Things are going along for you then out of the blue

Bumps on the Road of Life.

Bumps on the Road of Life.
By David Joel Miller

disaster strikes. Lots of things in life can get you off track, knock you down, make you feel like giving up.

Your problem might be a mental or emotional illness, anxiety, or depression were even PTSD. Or you might be struggling with alcoholism, addiction, or behavioral addiction like gambling or compulsive shopping.

For some people, the problem that has knocked them down is one of those challenges of living. You may have lost a job and can’t find another. You started a relationship with high hopes, and now that relationship is over. Maybe it’s a divorce or a breakup. Maybe you’ve lost someone close to you.

Those of you who have this blog in the past, know I believe in recovery. No matter what got you down, knocked in the ditch, it is possible to get back up, and start moving forward.

Some of these life problems happen at predictable points in your life. Others of these challenges in living come about unexpectedly. My goal in writing the counselorssoapbox.com blog is to talk about mental illness, substance use problems and the challenges of living. Learning to have a happy, productive life, requires both skills and knowledge.

In addition to this blog, I’ve been working on some books to provide a fuller picture of the things that can go wrong life and how to recover. The first of those books are available today.

Bumps on the Road of Life is now available in Kindle format. It was released today 11/13/17. The paperback version is also available. Look at the description below. Thank you, to those who have already ordered paperback copies and preordered the Kindle Edition.

Bumps on the Road of Life.

Your cruising along the road of life and then wham, something knocks you in the ditch.

Sometimes you get your life going again quickly. Other times you may stay off track and in the ditch for a considerable time. If you have gone through a divorce, break up or lost a job you may have found your life off track. Professionals call those problems caused by life-altering events “Adjustment Disorders.” Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of Adjustment Disorders, how they get people off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Bumps on the Road of Life

Please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Coming soon

Casino Robbery.

The robbers wanted more than money; they planned to kill Arthur’s fiancé and her boss.

Arthur Mitchell was trying to start his life over with a fiancé and a new job. That all ends

Photo of Casino Robbery book

Casino Robbery.

when the casino robbers shoot Arthur, kill his fiancée, and her boss. Arthur would like to forget that horrible day, but the traumatic nightmares and constant reminders won’t let him, and someone is still out to get him. When he tries to start over by running a rural thrift store, someone knocks him unconscious, vandalize the store, and finally tries to kill him. His only chance to find peace is to figure out what the killers want from him and why.

Casino Robbery is a novel that explores the world of a man with PTSD who has to cope with his symptoms to solve the mystery and create a new life.

Casino Robbery is available now in paperback. The Kindle Edition can be pre-ordered now and will be ready for distribution on 11/20/17.

Thanks.

David Joel Miller

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Parenting yourself.

By David Joel Miller.

Learning the lessons, you didn’t get in childhood.

Lessons of childhood

Child learning.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Many adults discover that there are things they should have learned in childhood, that they missed out on. Whether your parents didn’t know, weren’t any good at parenting, or just weren’t as available as you would have like them to be, you may need to go back and fill in those missing lessons. Even people who say they came from wonderful homes may find there are some lessons they should have learned in childhood that they still need to learn.

Below are some of the lessons of parenting you may need to work on to develop yourself. Studying the lessons of parenting helps many people in recovery to fill in the gaps and become the mature person they want to be. Here are some of the things adults should do and not do with children, and that you need to continue to do or not do for yourself in adulthood.

Don’t yell at yourself.

Yelling at children is likely to increase their anxiety. High anxiety can be protective if you live in an uncertain world. Too much anxiety is harmful. Yelling at yourself undermines your self-confidence and destroys your self-esteem. The things you tell yourself come true. Don’t call yourself names, put yourself down, or yell at yourself about the mistakes you have made. Learn to talk to yourself in a supportive, comforting way.

There is little evidence that you can make someone try harder by yelling or criticize them. There is lots of evidence that continued negativity will make people give up trying.

Communicate with yourself.

It’s important to pay attention to your wants and needs. Listen to your feelings and your thoughts. Many people find it helpful to keep a diary or journal. Writing down your thoughts can help to clarify them. If you are afraid of things, pay attention to those fears.

There are no right or wrong ways to feel. Your feelings are a valuable source of information.

Don’t dismiss your thoughts as unimportant. Your opinion on things matters. Especially pay attention to physical sensations. Learning to eat when you’re hungry, drink water when you are thirsty, and sleep when you are tired are important parts of self-care.

Practice patience’s with yourself.

Don’t expect that you should be able to master a new skill the first time you try. Don’t push yourself to do things before you’re ready. Be patient with yourself. Don’t confuse patience with not trying. Encourage yourself. Nurture yourself.

Allow yourself to relax.

Machines that are run too fast, too long, breakdown. You’re not a machine. You will need to give yourself enough relaxation and rest time. You do not need to spend your whole life driving yourself to do more. Giving yourself time to recharge your batteries. Life is a journey, enjoy the trip. There is a reason humans are called human beings. Don’t define yourself as a human doing.

Acknowledge your achievements.

Good bosses know that you can motivate employees by recognizing their efforts. Appreciation can be more motivating than money. Unfortunately, many parents forget to praise their children. People who are told their contributions are valuable are motivated to work harder. People who never receive any praise or acknowledgment eventually give up trying. Learn to accept compliments. Each day watch for the things you have done well and reward yourself for your achievements.

Remember to love yourself.

It’s hard to love other people when you don’t love yourself. Practice each day some self-compassion. Love should be unconditional not something that’s earned or bought. If you grew up in a home where love and affection conditional, based on what you did, work on loving yourself unconditionally.

Remember it’s never too late to learn the lessons of childhood that you will need to be a happy adult.

New Book Bumps on the Road of Life is now available in Kindle format for preorder.

It will be released on 11/13/17. The paperback version should be ready shortly.

Bumps on the Road of Life.

Your cruising along the road of life and then wham, something knocks you in the ditch. Sometimes you get your life going again quickly. Other time you may stay off track and in the ditch for a considerable time. If you have gone through a divorce, break up or lost a job you may have found your life off track. Professionals call those problems caused by life-altering events “Adjustment Disorders.” Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of Adjustment Disorders, how they get people off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Bumps on the Road of life

Amazon Author Page  – David Joel Miller

More to come as other books are completed.

Thanks to all my readers for all your support.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – 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 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

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother's Day

By David Joel Miller.

To all the mothers out there who have given their unconditional love regardless of what your children look like or do here is wishing you a happy mother’s day.

If you didn’t have a mother like that, then work on giving yourself that love on this day devoted to the way a caring mother can make us all happy.

Happy Mother’s Day!

The gift of Self-forgiveness.

By David Joel Miller

To be happy, you need to forgive yourself.

Forgiveness written in the sand.

Forgiveness.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

One of the hardest things to do sometimes is to forgive yourself.  For a lot of good reasons, your recovery needs, to begin with healing the wounds within and forgiving yourself.  Self-hatred and loathing stand in the way of many people’s recovery.  While you may never be able to forget some things, learning to forgive is an important step on your pathway to happiness.  Here are some reasons that you need to work on forgiving yourself and others.

What you hate you keep in you.

When you’re busy hating something, yourself or others, you can’t let it go.  To continue to hate, you must hold on to things.  The harder you hold onto them for more pain you inflict on yourself.  Healing often begins with letting go of the thing that is causing you the pain. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you may have made and move on.

Happiness requires forgetting and forgiving.

If you are holding onto the regrets of the past, you can’t enjoy the present nor can you move forward into the future. Having a life full of regrets crowds out the room needed for happiness to grow. Don’t fill up your present life with regrets about the past.

Letting it go is healing.

Letting things go does not mean that you need to let people who hurt you in the past back into your life. Holding onto resentments keeps you stuck in the suffering. Let go of the painful memories of the past, forgive yourself for your part in them. Learn from the past but live in the present.

Anger is the burden on your back.

Holding on to anger is tempting.  The longer you hold onto it, the more it will wear you out. Continuing to carry around past mistakes prevents you living in the present. The longer you carry anger, the heavier it gets, and the less energy you have for living life today.

You need to let the pain go before it destroys you.

If you’ve ever grab something that’s very hot, the longer you hold onto it, the more pain you’ll feel. We instinctively drop something that’s burning our hand. What we forget to do is to drop emotional pain. People think that by holding on to that pain, they are protecting themselves. What’s important to do is to learn the lesson you needed to learn from that experience and then let it go.

Self-forgiveness is empowering.

Learn to forgive you. Holding onto that burden keeps you from moving forward. Forgiving yourself and moving on creates a whole other source of personal power. All humans make mistakes. People who live full lives do more, and as a result, make more mistakes. Let the past go if you want to prepare for the future.

Forgiveness lets you grow.

Think about one of those lawns were people cut across repeatedly. Eventually, the grass stops growing. If you keep going back over the times where you wish you would have done better, you create a deep rut in your life. To grow as a person, you need to take a new path. You can’t embark on a new life direction if you keep looking over your shoulder at the past.

Staying angry is easy, letting it go is hard.

Most of us have encountered a person was constantly angry, angry about everything. It’s easy to live in the anger; its heat keeps you warm. Letting it go can be difficult. When you stay angry at yourself, you continue to inflict pain on you. Love yourself more and forgive yourself.

Forgiveness is letting go of the badge of pain.

Continuing to flaunt your pain make cause some people to feel sorry for you for a while. Eventually, people get tired of being around someone who uses their injury as an excuse for not trying again. Don’t hold on to the pain as an excuse for why you’re not moving forward. Heal yourself by shifting your focus from how you were injured, to the ways in which you can move forward.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – 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 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

Recovery, Resiliency and Healing from Pain.

By David Joel Miller.

How do you get through hard times?

Ball recovery

Recovery and Resiliency. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Some people just have the uncanny ability to come through the hardest of times and bounce back.  Other people come from apparently wonderful backgrounds and still, they struggle.  How do those resilient people do that?  Most of us can think of people who have come through really trying times and it’s easy to understand how they can struggle with their life.  It takes a lot of effort to think of someone who has come from those difficult situations and still has been able to accomplish wonderful things.

Risk factors are about causes of problems.

Stress is a major risk factor.  But not everyone who experiences stress ends up succumbing to problems.  Early life problems can put you at risk for adult difficulties.  Risk factors for mental health problems are just like risk factors for physical illness.  Just because and you have your risk factor for cancer does not mean that you will get it.  Having had a lot of risk factors in your past is not the whole story.

Strength or protective factors are about what causes things to go right.

Protective factors can be either internal or external.  Sometimes it’s about the strength that a person finds inside themselves.  Other times it is about the resources that are available to them in the environment.

One major protective factor is the presence of one caring adults in a child’s life.  But an equally important protective factor is your locus of control.  Are you mainly taking in the opinions of others?  Or do you have the personal strength to do what you believe you should do and want to do?  Highly resilient people believe that what they do matters.  They believe that their results are based on their own efforts.  They think of themselves as capable and not victims.

Resilient people have the belief that what they do affects the outcome.

There’s a thing called learned helplessness in which people have been told or felt that they couldn’t do things so many times they give up trying.  Resilient people develop the belief that what they do matters that if they try hard enough they can do things.

Resiliency like willpower is a finite resource.

Resiliency is not infinite.  It’s hard to measure just how many times someone can be knocked down and still be able to get back that.  People seem to be able to get back up from one severe problem, but if that same person is knocked down repeatedly it becomes more difficult each time to get back up.

Resiliency is not something you’re just born with.

Resiliency is a skill that develops over time.  Having small life problems and learning how to successfully get past them helps to build resilience.  Having good life skills makes you more resilient.

Some people become more resilient as they grow older.

People who had little resiliency when they were children often learn and become more resilient as they grow older.  Learn all you can about resiliency and make it a point to learn from each setback or failure you encounter.

Not every difficulty needs to be traumatic.

Not every physically strenuous activity results in injury.  Many emotional events can be growth opportunities rather than causes of traumatic conditions.  People with more resources, emotional skills, support systems or financial resources may be a better position to deal with life’s up’s and downs.

Not every bad event is caused by you. Attribution.

Resilient people do not attribute every difficulty in life to a personal failing.  Be careful of your attributions.  Not everything that happens is about you.  Sometimes you can be the best person on earth and still bad things can happen to you.

Rumination can reduce resiliency.

Rumination, that common human characteristic of turning life’s difficulties over and over in your mind, increases the risk that you will become anxious or depressed.  Having an emotional problem such as anxiety or depression lower your ability to cope with other difficulties.

Take another look at where you are in life.  Look for ways that you may be able to increase your resilience.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – 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 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

Could you have a Mental Illness?

By David Joel Miller.

You think you might have a mental illness, what should you do?

Could you be mentally ill?

What Causes Mental Illness?

Have you ever thought that you were someone close to you might have a mental illness?  Being faced with mental illness doesn’t mean you’re crazy or have lost your mind.  Many people go through episodes of depression, or you may have excess anxiety.  Sometimes the stress of life just is overwhelming.  Or you may be having conflicts with your family, your spouse, or your children.  If you are having difficulties with your thinking, feeling, or behavior you may be at risk for developing a mental illness.  If so what should you do in this situation?  Below are some do’s and do not’s for people who are at risk for emotional problems.

Don’t ignore it, get help.

Just like physical illnesses, mental, emotional, or behavioral problems don’t get better without attention.  Pretending you don’t have an illness doesn’t keep you healthy.  There’s no great virtue in toughing it out and suffering.  Seeking help when under stress can help prevent more serious emotional problems from developing.

Discuss your problem with someone who feels safe.

If you are thinking your problems have gotten out of control, now is the time to find someone safe you can talk to about it.  Sometimes that trusted person will be your friend or family member.

Talk about your symptoms with your medical doctor.

Whenever you’re feeling out of sorts, the first thing you need to do is talk to a medical doctor. Physical problems can often look like mental health symptoms.  It is important to make sure that your feelings of sadness or depression are not a physical illness.  Sometimes prescription medications can create symptoms that look like emotional disorders.

See a counselor or therapist.

Going to see a counselor or therapist does not mean that you have given in to a mental illness.  Professional athletes have coaches because they can help them improve their performance.  In the emotional area, it helps to see a counselor to work on your stress and issues before they turn into something more serious.  Counselors are specially trained to listen to what’s going on in your life, evaluate your symptoms, and decide whether what you’re experiencing is normal or qualifies for a mental illness diagnosis.

Reduce your stress.

A little bit of stress is good for you.  We exercise to keep our bodies in top condition.  But holding onto too much stress over too long a period of time can overwhelm our emotional system.  Often it is not a huge overwhelming stress the causes people difficulty, it’s the accumulations of lots of little stress day after day.  Work on ways to reduce those little stressors and learn to stop stressing over the things that don’t really matter.

Increase your self-care.

Failing to take care of yourself is not a value.  Learn to take good care of yourself physically and emotionally.  Get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat as healthy a diet as possible.

Work on solving those other life problems.

Often emotional crises are the result of failure to deal with other real life problems.  Work on career problems.  Get some help with financial issues.  Tackle those legal problems you’ve been putting off.

Consider taking medication for your problems.

Taking medication to help you live a healthy life is a reasonable thing to do.  It doesn’t matter whether those problems are physical or emotional, medications can sometimes help.  Have that talk with your doctor, and see if there’s some medication which might help you deal with your depression, anxiety or other emotional issues.

Taking inventory of where you are at.

After looking at all the possibilities listed above if you’re thinking that you might be experiencing a mental, emotional, or behavioral issues, something we might call a mental illness, now is the time to take action.  I hope some of the suggestions in this blog post are helpful.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – 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 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

Finding your direction.

Finding your direction.

Directions

Finding your direction.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“Study the past if you would define the future.”
― Confucius

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”

― Zig Ziglar

“It is a mistake to think that moving fast is the same as actually going somewhere.”

― Steve Goodier

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.