August 2013

The Beauty of a Broken Body

by Bill Brenner August 30, 2013 Physical Health

At the breakfast table yesterday, Sean said, “Dad has many good qualities. None have anything to do with his body.” I had good laugh over that and was amused enough to share it on Twitter and Facebook. Which brought this thoughtful response from a friend: “Little does he know what you’ve been through with your body. When he realizes, he’ll know that that’s your best quality!” Mood music: Sean knows, of course. He’s seen for…  [Read More]

Adventures in Change

by Bill Brenner August 29, 2013 Uncategorized

Yesterday we dropped our kids off at a new school for the first time. In June, I left a job I was at for five years and started a new one. We didn’t begin 2013 with these changes planned, but here we are. Mood music: Going to Akamai was a pretty easy move for me. I joined a team in which I’ve known the boss and several staffers for years. It was also a move…  [Read More]

On My Sixth Birthday, the Ramones Changed Everything

by Bill Brenner August 27, 2013 Music therapy

I’m tickled to discover that my birthday is a special day to The Ramones, too. Turns out, yesterday was also the 37th anniversary of the band’s debut album. They were always an important band for me, especially after I learned that Joey Ramone was a fellow OCD sufferer. Mood music: I owned multiple Ramones albums on vinyl, and wore them out from playing them so much. A favorite was Halfway to Sanity. Back then I…  [Read More]

Wherein I Get Another Year Older

by Bill Brenner August 26, 2013 Gratitude

On this, my 43rd birthday, I can’t help but remember what Indiana Jones said in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Grousing about a body beat to hell from a life of adventure, he noted that it’s not the age but the mileage. Mood music: I have to admit, my mileage shows. My beard is getting grayer. My knees aren’t as durable as they used to be. I’ve got sleep apnea and bad vision. But then all…  [Read More]

Suicide in the Blood

by Bill Brenner August 23, 2013 Depression

A friend sent me a fascinating article yesterday about medical advancements in which a person’s severe depression and suicide could possibly be predetermined by biomarkers in their blood. Mood music: The article in Nature outlines how six biomarkers in blood can conceivably identify people at risk of suicide. Indiana University psychiatrist Alexander Niculescu and six of his colleagues published their findings in Molecular Psychiatry. They identified nine men with bipolar disorder who are part of a larger, separate study. Between testing visits, the men…  [Read More]

Years Wasted, by Things Large and Small

by Bill Brenner August 22, 2013 Depression

When writing about depression, it’s easy to go into so much depth about the myriad causes and effects that the bigger picture is lost on some people. Mood music: My last two posts about a sleep apnea diagnosis and the its probable effects on my depression over the years led one friend on Twitter to say this: I think there might be confusion about cause and effect here. Also, depression is not just a…  [Read More]

Depression Causes: Add Sleep to the List?

by Bill Brenner August 20, 2013 Physical Health

Yesterday’s post on my sleep apnea diagnosis got a lot of response. Two big lessons from all the feedback: Far more people have sleep apnea than I knew, and those who have since been treated recall the huge mental distress caused by inadequate sleep. Mood music: Said one friend: “BIll, I too have sleep apnea. It’s a vicious, horrible physical problem. You don’t even realize how badly the lack of REM and deep sleep is…  [Read More]

Pushing It to 11 with a Better Night’s Sleep

by Bill Brenner August 19, 2013 Physical Health

According to the results of my sleep study, I have something called sleep apnea. I stop breathing for a few seconds or a little over a minute and then snore ferociously as the breathing kicks back in. I’m told mine is moderate to severe. Scary, you say? Not really. Mood music: I know a few people with this condition, including my father. It afflicts people from all walks of life: the fat, the thin, the…  [Read More]

Learning to Live with Difficult Colleagues

by Bill Brenner August 15, 2013 Uncategorized

You see it in every office: People who become enemies because they can’t reconcile their conflicting agendas. I’ve allowed myself to get sucked into it more than once in the last two decades. But I eventually found another approach. Mood music: I used to let difficult colleagues get to me. If someone criticized my work or blocked my efforts, a spiral into long bouts of rage and depression came on, which usually gave way to…  [Read More]

Treat Red Bull Like Alcohol and Cigarettes

by Bill Brenner August 14, 2013 Addiction

I’m an avid consumer of sugar-free Red Bull and have been known to down more than one can a day. I see it as one of the only vices I have left after quitting booze, flour and sugar a few years back. So when I saw online protests about the government looking to regulate the sale of such energy drinks, I balked. Mood music: I was originally going to write a post blasting government for…  [Read More]