January 2010

Selfish Bastard

by Bill Brenner January 30, 2010 Addiction

The author has found that service is an excellent tool for OCD management. Simply put, it forces him to stop being a selfish bastard. In OA, those of us in recovery from our compulsive eating disorders rely on a set of tools that go hand in hand with the 12 Steps. There’s the plan of eating, writing, sponsorship, the telephone and literature. There’s anonymity. And there’s service to others. The plan of eating is what’s…  [Read More]

Why So Serious? The Case for Self-Deprecation

by Bill Brenner January 29, 2010 Depression

The author on why self-deprecation is a handy tool for controlling demons. Mood music: [spotify:track:0g1HLSNG4KxjDXdeYMnLym] A few readers have told me I put myself down too much in these blog posts. Since I’m really not trying to put myself down — I do have a monster ego, after all — it’s time to say a bit about the power of self-deprecating humor. It’s true that I like to poke fun at myself. I do it…  [Read More]

How I’m Feeling

by Bill Brenner January 28, 2010 Addiction

As I mentioned in my posts Prozac Winter and The Mood Swing, I recently went up 20 milligrams on the Prozac because of the depression that tends to set in during the winter. [For more on the background, see The Bad Pill Kept Me From The Good Pill and An OCD Christmas] I’m three weeks into the higher dosage and it’s working — mostly. I woke up feeling blue this morning and still feel that…  [Read More]

The Liar’s Disease

by Bill Brenner January 27, 2010 Addiction

Truth: People who engage in addictive behavior lie all the time. Mood music: You might remember a few years back when the author James Frey wrote¬† A Million Little Pieces; his memoir on life as a 23-year-old alcoholic and drug abuser and his rehab in a Twelve-step program. The credibility of the book was eventually ripped apart after it came to light that a lot of the book was fiction. You might remember how Oprah…  [Read More]

Understanding Mental Disorders: The Brain as an Engine

by Bill Brenner January 26, 2010 Addiction

I’ve written a lot about my use of Prozac as just one of many tools to treat my OCD. [See The Bad Pill Kept Me From The Good Pill] Mood music: As a result I’ve gotten a fair amount of questions about the true value of anti-depressants. I’m not a doctor, so don’t take my perspective as Gospel. Also remember there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. What I write here is based on my own personal…  [Read More]

Regulating Addictive Food: A Lesson in Futility

by Bill Brenner January 25, 2010 Addiction

As an obsessive-compulsive binge eater, the author feels it’s only proper that he (cough) weigh in (cough) on the notion that regulating junk food might help. Here’s why the answer is probably not. Since I know what it’s like to be deep in the muck of a binge-eating addiction, my wife thought I might find interest in an article from The Environment Report suggesting that the regulation of foods that are bad for you —…  [Read More]

Rat in the Church Pew

by Bill Brenner January 24, 2010 Faith

The author has written much about his Faith as a key to overcoming mental illness. But as this post illustrates, he still has a long way to go in his spiritual development. The scene is the parking lot of All Saints Parish, just after today’s 9:30 Mass. Father Mike Harvey greets the Brenners and the conversation somehow turns to the kids listening to their mother and father. Father Harvey: Remember kids, if your mother asks…  [Read More]

Serious Films I Can’t Take Seriously

by Bill Brenner January 23, 2010 Lighthearted

Part 2 of the author’s list of serious songs/films that are meant to be serious but only succeed in making him laugh. Yesterday I went on for a bit about songs that were meant to be serious that instead tickle my dark sense of humor. Today, I share some films that have the same impact on me. What does all this have to do with managing my mental illness? As I’ve said, humor is an…  [Read More]

Serious Songs I Can’t Take Seriously

by Bill Brenner January 22, 2010 Lighthearted

For some reason, the author always seems to get the most comic relief from things that are supposed to be serious. I’ve spent a lot of time in this blog talking about music and humor as therapy. Today, I share some more favorites. The thing is, everything I’m about to share isn’t meant to be funny. But for someone with a dark sense of humor, these things offer true levity. Seriously. Poison: “Every Rose Has…  [Read More]

Lessons From Dad

by Bill Brenner January 21, 2010 Family

I wrote this in 2010, not long after starting this blog. Since then, Dad has had a series of strokes and has trouble walking, seeing and swallowing. His refusal to let it break his spirit reinforces my appreciation for him all the more. Thanks for the inspiration, Dad. The author has learned some surprising lessons from Dad on how to control one’s mental demons. My father is on my mind this morning. I’m meeting up…  [Read More]