January 2013

My Crohn’s Disease Is Doing Push-Ups

by Bill Brenner January 31, 2013 Crohn's Disease

Recovering addicts have a saying: “My disease is doing push-ups in the parking lot.” The meaning is that you can be years into sobriety, but you’re never cured. The disease is ready to beat you down as soon as your guard slips. I’ve learned that Crohn’s Disease does the same thing. Mood music: [spotify:track:6nDqFWB9MtQ9rTjmm3gDAD] As violent and damaging as my childhood Crohn’s Disease was, I haven’t had a full-blown attack since 1986. It would be…  [Read More]

My Score on the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale

by Bill Brenner January 30, 2013 OCD

The Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) is yet another of those quick self-tests to see if you have OCD. While I’m not medically trained, I do have OCD, so I see myself as a good subject for these types of tests. If the test matches my diagnosis, maybe it can shed some light on what’s going on in your head, too. Mood music: [spotify:track:4PSnQLK4uSmFfuZYEcXNUp] The scale rates the magnitude of symptoms in OCD patients based…  [Read More]

When We Can’t Hibernate, We Become Bears

by Bill Brenner January 29, 2013 Mental health

Erin recently noted that things tend to get ridiculously busy in January, during a period of winter when our bodies scream at us to slow down. On the work side we both have several big projects coming due. At school and in the Scouts, the kids’ schedules are crammed with one activity after the next. Mood music: [spotify:track:4n89Z82pA4kJYmctUeyCbt] In winter, we’re not all that different from animals that hibernate. It’s hard to get out of…  [Read More]

Cancer’s Silver Lining

by Bill Brenner January 28, 2013 Inspiration

These days it’s sobering for me to think of all the cancer patients I know personally. I’ve written about my aunt and one of my hometown friends. I’ve known others, as well. I’ve never had cancer, but it’s become a source of anxiety in my life.  Mood music: [spotify:track:2ql32BJPN3hnyboml4JfER] Along with knowing many who battle it, I’m at a higher risk of developing colon cancer one of these days, thanks to nearly a lifetime of…  [Read More]

Lessons From the Hemingway Curse

by Bill Brenner January 25, 2013 Depression

I’ve always been drawn to Ernest Hemingway and his family, not because of his writings or his antics, but because of the deep stain mental illness has left on the Hemingway legacy. Mood music: [spotify:track:3dqpehdO04w6T38WB97sOF] I remember an English teacher talking about Hemingway’s 1961 suicide. The teacher suggested Hemingway was an asshole, that he was too macho to accept that he was getting too old to seek out adventure and thus gave up. I accepted…  [Read More]

Bullet-proof Backpacks, Whiteboards: Logical Or Lunacy?

by Bill Brenner January 24, 2013 Fear and anxiety

After what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School, would you buy your child a bullet-proof backpack? If you’re a teacher, would you want to have a bullet-proof whiteboard? A couple companies think so. Mood music: [spotify:track:76dynyoXf52MiEsr3Pi06e] A friend who happens to be a teacher brought these to my attention yesterday, and my first reaction was to balk and say, “Here we go again with businesses trying to cash in on our fear.” After a few hours…  [Read More]

From Beyonce To The Tragic Manipulation Of Milli Vanilli

by Bill Brenner January 23, 2013 Mental health

Revelations that Beyonce Knowles lip-synched “The Star Spangled Banner” at the inauguration this week remind me of how shallow people can be. Shallow in their expectations of others. Shallow in their need to rip others apart instead of putting themselves back together. Mood music: [spotify:track:4xP6YtLiFJpRUrKwqDPXka] I’ve always found it silly how people explode when a performer is caught lip-synching. We have this idealistic picture of how musicians should carry on when they perform in front of…  [Read More]

The Snow Day Has Been Cancelled

by Bill Brenner January 22, 2013 Coping tools

Weather forecasters said we’d get a lot of snow, but only a dusting fell around here. School is on after all, and the kids will surely be disappointed. It goes to show that sometimes life doesn’t work out as planned. Mood music: [spotify:track:4wLjdZD9khhahbzhb3RxtJ] As a man with OCD, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. When you have a brain that never stops thinking, you tend to expect certain things out of your day. When…  [Read More]

Friends Of The Gifted Need To Learn Suicide Intervention Tactics

by Bill Brenner January 17, 2013 Depression

One thing I’ve learned over the years: Some super-smart, super-gifted, ahead-of-their-time people often battle with depression and eventually lose their war. So it was for my best friend who took his life 16 years ago. And for Aaron Swartz, the 26-year-old co-creator of RSS and Reddit, who ended his life last week. Mood music: Yesterday on Twitter, Amber Baldet, a friend from the infosec world who is also a crisis hotline counselor certified in suicide…  [Read More]

When Conspiracy Theorists Become Bullies

by Bill Brenner January 16, 2013 Political discourse

Conspiracy theorists usually don’t bother me. Hell, I even subscribe to the notion that Lee Harvey Oswald had help assassinating JFK. But a new breed of conspiracy theorist has emerged in recent years. They make threats and act like the schoolyard bully, and they make my skin crawl. Mood music: [spotify:track:0JhAglbb3Ca9Cp2OflPKPi] The clowns who argued that 9/11 was an inside job are one example, though to my knowledge they never actually threatened anyone. Now there’s…  [Read More]