Saturday was one of those days where everything was getting to me: the myriad tasks that need doing on the family building we’re leasing out, the adjustments I need to make to my health regimen, and the general lack of downtime. As the day went on, though, I realized my inner turmoil was more about my career than my personal life. I’m suffering from a brutal bout of impostor syndrome. Mood music: I’ve been focusing…  [Read More]

After the December 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, when 20 children and several educators were murdered by 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza, a distressed mom wrote a blog post called “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother.” The mental distress Lanza reportedly lived with was something Liza Long saw in her own son, Eric Walton. Sunday morning I heard a report on NPR in which Long and Walton opened up about the turn their lives took after that blog post went viral. And it’s…  [Read More]

Last week, I vented frustration on Facebook after a particularly frustrating day. I was angrier than I had been in a long time. Mood music: By the next morning, the bad feelings had dulled and I had second thoughts about venting my anger the way I did. So I put this on my timeline: Yesterday I was having a bad-attitude kind of day and I let it bleed onto Facebook. I try to never do…  [Read More]

I Haven’t Begun to Grieve

by Bill Brenner April 20, 2016 Grief management

In recent months, I’ve had a sour attitude. My eating has been erratic, I’ve barely exercised or picked up the guitar, and I have far less patience for people than usual. I’ve come to realize the reason. I haven’t really been dealing with the emotional scar of losing my father last year. Mood music: I thought I was. I dove headfirst into the task of untangling his unfinished business interests, specifically managing the building that housed…  [Read More]

Joey Ramone Fought The OCD Stigma And More

by Bill Brenner April 15, 2016 Uncategorized

Joey Ramone, legendary vocalist for one of my favorite punk bands, died on this day in 2001, but he has remained an inspiration to me for many reasons. Mood music: For one thing, he suffered from OCD and was hospitalized for it on at least one occasion. Given the subject of this blog, that would seem reason enough to celebrate the man. But there was more to the man that I identified with. Besides, if…  [Read More]

Layne Staley, 14 Years Later

by Bill Brenner April 5, 2016 Addiction

“What’s my drug of choice? Well, what have you got?” —Layne Staley, Alice in Chains This week marks 14 years since Alice In Chains frontman Layne Staley was found dead. Mood music: Like Kurt Cobain, Staley had a big impact on me in the early 1990s. But while I identified with Cobain’s depression, I identified with Staley for his inability to keep his addictive demons at bay. I can’t tell you how many times I listened…  [Read More]

22 Years Ago: The Day Kurt Cobain Died

by Bill Brenner April 4, 2016 Addiction

I remember exactly where I was 22 years ago this week, when I saw the news flash about Kurt Cobain’s suicide. I was lying in bed, depressed and reclusive because of frequent fear. Mood music:  I was living in Lynnfield, Mass., at the time. I had a room in the basement, just like I had in Revere. But this space was much smaller — a jail cell with a nice blue carpet. But I did have…  [Read More]

Dealing With People: A Business Survival Guide

by Bill Brenner March 23, 2016 Communication skills for the crazy

From my perch in the information security industry, I’ve seen a lot of people come and go. The best rise to the top of their companies. The worst are crushed beneath the boots of others in what can be a high-stakes, high-pressure field. Many fall in the middle: They have had soaring success and painful setbacks. Those who manage to bounce back do so because they have learned a thing or two about dealing with…  [Read More]

When Listening Is Better Than Giving Advice

by Bill Brenner March 15, 2016 Communication skills for the crazy

Sometimes when I’m going through a rough patch or just having a ridiculously annoying day, I need to vent. To do so productively and thus feel better, I need a good listener around. Unfortunately, people these days don’t want to listen. They have a big megaphone that is the Internet, and they can’t bear not to use it. So they take to social media and give advice. Mood music: In saying that, I realize two…  [Read More]

Patience: A Virtue I Don’t Have (But Should)

by Bill Brenner March 12, 2016 OCD

I’ve done some soul searching this week and have realized something unpleasant about myself: I have absolutely no patience, and it makes me an asshole sometimes. Mood music: That lack of patience tends to present itself a few times each year. Usually, it’s because I’m waiting for an important event to happen — travel to a security conference, for example. Other times, it’s when a career opportunity presents itself and the waiting process feels like…  [Read More]