I was recently talking to a friend who has had a shitty couple of years, with illness and death in the family. He noted that he’s gotten a lot of support from friends, family and colleagues along the way and that he’s embarrassed about it. I get where he’s coming from. Mood music: Whenever I’ve experienced the things he is going through, I’ve felt a little embarrassed when people come to me with sympathy and…  [Read More]

Whenever we see terrible things like the ISIS attacks in Paris, something happens on Facebook: Many people become experts on religion and politics, and still more people get anal when people don’t observe a tragedy exactly as they would. Terror attacks bring out the best in some people. In others, it brings out self-righteous tomfoolery. Mood music: Whatever your political and religious beliefs, the attacks prove that your agenda is the correct one. One guy posted…  [Read More]

Several people have forwarded me news stories about Target getting flak over an “OCD Christmas” sweater on sale in its stores. The question: am I offended? No. I do, however, see it as another example of the very thin line between hurtful and humorous. Mood music: I don’t think the sweater is particularly clever. It’s just the latest in a long line of attempted OCD humor that falls flat. I love OCD jokes when they are…  [Read More]

A Tribute to “Silent Segal”

by Bill Brenner November 11, 2015 Lessons from the past

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my maternal grandfather, Louis Segal. This decorated veteran died 19 years ago, and I keep thinking of the things I wish we could talk about today. Mood music: Papa, as we called him, asked me to take him for a ride to the bank the evening before he died. He got into the car and declared that he felt like “the last rose of summer.” I think he…  [Read More]

Starbucks, Christmas and Misguided People

by Bill Brenner November 11, 2015 Communication skills for the crazy

This is from the “people need to get a life” file. It will be my only statement on this uproar over Starbucks’ red coffee cups. My faith is well documented in this blog. I go to church just about every Sunday, and my family is heavily involved in parish activities. To me, the “War on Christmas” rhetoric has always been a stupid distraction — just another thing for people to get whiny and self-righteous about. This…  [Read More]

How to Be Kind Without Being Pwned

by Bill Brenner November 9, 2015 Communication skills for the crazy

Someone once told me that being kind to others is a great weapon against depression. Be good to others and you’ll feel better yourself. There’s truth to that. But I’ve also discovered that kindness must be delivered in blunt and unpleasant forms sometimes. Mood music: My idea of kindness was always to be nice to people and do things to help them feel better. A lot of the time that was good enough. But there are always…  [Read More]

With Burnout Comes Wisdom (If You Survive)

by Bill Brenner November 5, 2015 Work-life balance

I’ve devoted several posts to combatting career burnout, particularly in the information security industry. But something recently occurred to me: Burnout can be a good thing, but only if you survive. Mood music: The thought came to me after talking to a fellow industry veteran and work colleague. We’ve seen friends younger than us either setting themselves up for the fall or crashing to Earth after burning to a crisp. My friend knows burnout. So do I. We’ve…  [Read More]

5 Realizations and Defenses from the Family Business

by Bill Brenner November 2, 2015 Dealing with life

Big pressures aside, I’ve learned much while cleaning up and selling off the old family business and managing trusts Dad left in my hands. Mood music: Until I took on this family business stuff, I’d never had to deal with lawyers or real estate people at this magnitude. I had certainly never managed this kind of money. Here are five realizations — and five defenses — that have saved me from implosion. 5 Realizations Lawyers are the best and worst of humanity….  [Read More]

When Your Kid Asks About Anti-Depressants

by Bill Brenner October 28, 2015 Children's issues

My 12-year-old has a few things in common with his dad. Both of us have mental disorders (his is ADHD, mine is OCD with wintertime undercurrents of ADHD). Both of us take medication to help manage our ills. But until last weekend, he had never asked the big question: “What do these pills do, anyway?” Mood music: To answer the question, I dusted off an analogy I had used some years ago to explain it…  [Read More]

Coming Soon: The OCD Diaries Book Series

by Bill Brenner October 14, 2015 Adventures in writing

For years, people have told me to write a book based on this blog. And for years I’ve resisted because life was busy enough between work, family and writing for three blogs. But after some brainstorming with Erin last weekend, the decision is made: I’m diving in. The time is right. Mood music: In 2016 I’ll still write fresh posts here, but my main focus as far as The OCD Diaries goes will be on book writing. Not…  [Read More]