The AP Stylebook, which I lived by as a journalist, recently added a new rule for reporters and editors dealing with the topic of suicide. It’s not a bad set of guidelines, but it’s inadequate. Mood music: The AP now advises the following: Generally, AP does not cover suicides or suicide attempts, unless the person involved is a well-known figure or the circumstances are particularly unusual or publicly disruptive. Suicide stories, when written, should not go…  [Read More]

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I recently got some comments about a post I wrote in November 2013 called “To the Asshole Who Wrote ‘5 Reasons to Date a Girl with an Eating Disorder.’” Some noted the article was satire and I missed the point. Others complained that by mentioning it I was spreading the vitriol. Mood music: Said one woman: It’s satire plain and simple. I’m a woman who has struggled many years with eating disorders and I can see the…  [Read More]

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Don’t Listen to the Critics: Keep Walking

by Bill Brenner March 25, 2015 Coping tools

Last week I was in Fort Lauderdale on business. Not a bad place to be after the winter we’ve had in Boston. My hotel was right on the beach, and I walked it every day. Before that, it had been a long time since I’d taken an hour-long power walk and at least a couple decades since I’d done so on a beach. Mood music: I made a point to get the walks in because…  [Read More]

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The Risks of Achieving Rock-Star Status

by Bill Brenner March 24, 2015 Dealing with life

In pretty much every industry of late, people of great talent, drive and achievement are being labeled rock stars. I certainly see it as I work in the information security industry. Those who get the label tend to deserve it. But there’s a dangerous side-effect: The term rock star can bloat the egos of those it’s bestowed upon. It leads to big heads and bad attitudes. I’ve watched many handle it with humble grace. And…  [Read More]

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What a Weird Dream Says About My Real Life

by Bill Brenner March 23, 2015 Mental health

I’m in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as I write this. I’m in a hotel by the beach and it’s pretty relaxed. I’m sleeping more deeply than I have in a while. I’m also having some fucked-up dreams. Since I rarely remember my dreams the next morning, I’ve decided to capture this one. Mood music: Sequence 1 I’m with my father, aunt and younger son in front of the old family business. Everyone’s gathered to go to…  [Read More]

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You Are Bigger Than Your Thoughts

by Bill Brenner March 2, 2015 OCD

A reader once sent me a question about destructive, overpowered thinking — a hallmark of all OCD cases. She described a recurring thought about jumping out a window. Mood music: “I tend to get pure OCD (thoughts),” she wrote. “At the moment it is about jumping out a high window. I try to sort out in my head mentally why I am having this thought. Is it my true desire? Can I stop it from…  [Read More]

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The Star Trek Lie

by Bill Brenner March 1, 2015 Lighthearted

Back when I was a binge-eating, 280-pound pile of waste, I’d hide in my room for hours, sometimes days, watching Star Trek. Since my life was such a mess, hiding in the world of science fiction was only natural. Now, when I’m in the same space as someone wearing the plastic pointy ears and Klingon forehead (go to the premier of any Star Trek movie and you’ll understand), I feel more like the punk on…  [Read More]

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Walk All Night Against Suicide

by Bill Brenner February 25, 2015 Suicide

Update: I’ve set up my donations page. To donate, click here. Though this blog is about dealing with the challenges we face, I started it to raise awareness and bust down stigmas around depression and suicide. It’s time for me to take that fight to the next level. Mood music: I’ve been inspired to do more by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which will hold an overnight walk in Boston June 27-28. My legs work almost as…  [Read More]

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My Biggest Critic Sounds Off: Two Angry Responses

by Bill Brenner February 24, 2015 Humor

I once wrote that writers like me need our critics to keep honest. This post is a tribute to my biggest critic: fellow infosec professional Dave Marcus. Mood music: A few things about Dave: Despite everything that follows, we’re good friends with similar musical tastes. He owns some of the coolest guitars on the market, but he doesn’t play. The guitars hang on a wall like Han Solo frozen in carbonite. He’s an avid weight lifter. His…  [Read More]

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A Generation of Do-Nothing Kids

by Bill Brenner February 20, 2015 Children's issues

An article in The Huffington Post asks an important question: Are we raising a generation of helpless kids? It would be wrong to paint every parent with one broad brushstroke, but we can’t deny there’s a problem. Mood music: The HuffPo article begins with the story of a college freshman who dissolves into a puddle of mush after getting a C- on her first exam: Sobbing, she texted her mother who called back, demanding to…  [Read More]

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