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Preventing, Predicting, & Dismantling Problems Ahead

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The worst thing in the world is having had the opportunity to fix or resolve a problem and sit on one’s hands or let the chance pass us by without taking action.


While some issues take us by surprise, e.g., breakthrough symptoms, new symptoms, or unexpected circumstances, other problems can be identified, marked, and resolved before it becomes a problem that overwhelms us and becomes too big to handle without help. We all need an early warning system. Systems that check weak points in our mental health need to be revised all the time. Review problem areas ahead. Be sure to reinforce deficits in your mental status now and practice! Your best bet to avoid free fall and collapse is practice.

Why do we need a system? Your early warning radar need to adapt to new conditions in your life. The point is to have a procedure you review and process daily. Problems can occur at any time. Skipping a day here or there to look over potential issues on your radar can make the difference between a perfect day and a living nightmare that you could have avoided if you kept to your plan.

How do you know how to identify a problem area? You don’t need to be a therapist to know your strengths and areas to improve further. While it is only a problem if it’s a problem for you, the only person who would say, “Yes, this is an issue for me,” is you. So don’t be shy or hesitant to Identity your problems. You can always change your mind at a later time and work on a more pressing issue. There is no issue so benign it cannot benefit from further improvement.

Remember, small problems can turn into cancers that will attack our innermost souls and unleash a world of demons in your life. There is no Pandora’s box when fine-tuning your early warning system. You cannot open the proverbial can of worms and unleash hell without intending to do so just because you went into the unknown and made a wrong turn. Instead, by confronting a situation head-on, you’re more likely to prevent a build-up of whatever social, economic, or psychological pathogen is waiting to attach you when you least suspect it. Does this seem like too big a feat to maintain daily?

Having an intelligent and creative early warning system is also knowing the weak points in your ability to predict specific problems. Asking yourself: “What issues seem to pop up consistently?” So, upon identifying the weak point in your early warning systemgo ahead and make accommodations!

Nobody is an expert in every area of their life. However, knowing which areas require additional attention or extra help is essential to creating an okay working and proficient early radar system.

What kind of accommodations will I need? 

Accommodations can be anything from asking a friend for help, going to a counselor regularly for guidance, or engaging in self-help and self-management techniques to fine-tune your existing skills. Anything you need, which you couldn’t have done without assistance, is something you will need to seek out regularly, often, and without pause to ensure you are managing the areas in your life which seem to spin out regularly.

About the Author

J. Peters

Max Guttman '08, MSW '12, is the owner of Recovery Now, a private mental health practice. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist and disability rights advocate, Max fights for those without a voice in various New York City care systems. He received a 2020 Bearcats of the Last Decade 10 Under 10 award from the Binghamton University Alumni Association.

Guttman treats clients with anxiety and depression, but specializes in issues related to psychosis or schizoaffective spectrum disorders. He frequently writes on his lived experiences with schizophrenia.

"I knew my illness was so complex that I’d need a professional understanding of its treatment to gain any real momentum in recovery," Guttman says. "After undergraduate school and the onset of my illness, I evaluated different graduate programs that could serve as a career and mechanism to guide and direct my self-care. After experiencing the helping hand of my social worker and therapist right after my 'break,' I chose social work education because of its robust skill set and foundation of knowledge I needed to heal and help others."

"In a world of increasing tragedy, we should help people learn from our lived experiences. My experience brings humility, authenticity and candidness to my practice. People genuinely appreciate candidness when it comes to their health and recovery. Humility provides space for mistakes and appraisal of progress. I thank my lived experience for contributing to a more egalitarian therapeutic experience for my clients."

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