On Being the Office Jerk

by Bill Brenner on October 21, 2014

Every office environment has its challenges. There are always colleagues who see the world differently from you. There are always situations that require extra work hours to address. Nothing is ever perfect. Knowing that, in recent years I’ve worked hard to be the cheerful guy in whatever office I work in, the one who always smiles, never talks badly about others and always keeps a can-do attitude. But when my OCD runs hot, I become…  [Read More]

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My friends, I’m not going to lie to you: Life seems mighty hard lately. It’s not an illusion: life is hard for all of us. But these last few weeks have been the most difficult I’ve experienced in ages, with one work crisis or health debacle after the next. Mood music: These moments used to give me cravings for dark, quiet rooms with a bed or couch, where I could binge eat, smoke, drink and…  [Read More]

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A Vulnerable Soul, a Big Mountain and a Bigger Lesson

by Bill Brenner October 15, 2014 Dealing with life

After weeks of feeling exhausted, depressed and out of control, I escaped to New Hampshire’s White Mountains with Erin for some rest, relaxation, romance, and hiking. We found all those things, but I also found myself humbled and shamed when hiking up the mountains. Mood music: After a back injury, job stresses and the breakdown of my food plan, I knew I was out of shape when we started up Mt. Willard in Crawford Notch….  [Read More]

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The Day the Devil Beat Me

by Bill Brenner October 14, 2014 Compulsive behaviors

I haven’t posted in a while for two reasons: One, I’ve been burned out. Two, I needed time to describe what it’s like to slide back into old habits. Mood music: It seems I’ve spent so much time writing about my recovery from binge eating and other addictive behaviors that I forgot what it was like to be back on the other side — where recovery gives way to failure and the fallen is left feeling…  [Read More]

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Forgiveness: Trash Removal for the Soul

by Bill Brenner September 24, 2014 Personal Growth

Seeking and giving forgiveness is essential if you want to become a better person. But it’s hard and often seen as a green light for more abuse. Mood music: For you to understand what I’m about to get into, let’s review the AA 12 Steps of Recovery, which has been an important guide on my own flight from madness: 1. We admitted we were powerless over [insert addiction] — that our lives had become unmanageable. 2. Came…  [Read More]

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It’s a Long Road Through Self-Hatred

by Bill Brenner September 23, 2014 The stormy past

Given the size of my ego and my normally upbeat persona, this might surprise you: Once upon a time, I hated myself. I hated a lot of people, but none more so than myself. The worst of that hatred came after I started facing my demons. Mood Music: I disliked myself before I started to tackle the demons with therapy. A couple years into that therapy, the self-loathing deepened. I had learned much about who I…  [Read More]

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When Anger Was All The Rage

by Bill Brenner September 22, 2014 Lessons from the past

I had a vicious temper when I was younger. To call it a byproduct of OCD, depression and addiction would be pushing it, because I think the temper would have been there even without the mental illness. Mood music: Examples of my temper include: Hurling a fork or steak knife at my brother in a restaurant on New Years Eve 1979 because he made a joke I didn’t like. The more dramatic among my family…  [Read More]

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A Sick Mind, A Tragic Situation

by Bill Brenner September 18, 2014 The stormy past

A few years ago I wrote about childhood friend Mark Hedgecock, who at the time was a thrice-convicted pedophile who was chatting up young girls on Facebook. He got kicked off Facebook shortly thereafter, and I lost track of him. Unfortunately, his name has surfaced again. Mood music: He’s been accused of soliciting and collecting child porn through his email account. According to Boston.com, the AG’s office was tipped off by the National Center for Missing…  [Read More]

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Pain Leaks from Mind to Body

by Bill Brenner September 17, 2014 Fear and anxiety

Mental illness can lead to physical sickness. It’s a simple fact that some people find hard to believe. Mood music: I often hear people arguing over whether this person’s or that person’s aches and pains are “all in their head.” You know the type: There’s never any real underlying disease, but they’re always calling out of work with a headache or some intestinal discomfort. It’s all in their head, you say? Well, yeah. It’s called psychosomatic…  [Read More]

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We Need More Roosevelts in Public Life

by Bill Brenner September 16, 2014 Inspiration

PBS launched a new Ken Burns series this week, this one on the Roosevelts. What I’ve seen so far reminds me of why I’ve always idolized this family. The documentary focuses on Teddy, Franklin and Eleanor — how they each overcame deep personal demons and rose to the top of American politics. In the process, they changed millions of lives for the better. I’ve written quite a bit about them over the years. The launch of Ken Burns’ latest…  [Read More]

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