September 2013

Objects in the Media Are Often Smaller Than They Appear

by Bill Brenner September 25, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

After yesterday’s post on the Washington Navy Yard massacre fueling the stigma around mental illness, I got the usual assortment of feedback after that post published. If you’re for gun control, you told me I was minimizing the reality of gun violence by suggesting more gun control laws will accomplish nothing. Those of you who don’t see this as a gun control issue took me to task for picking on NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre for suggesting…  [Read More]

Navy Yard Shootings: The Stigmatizer’s Wet Dream

by Bill Brenner September 24, 2013 Mental disorders

With last week’s terrible Washington Navy Yard murders, politicians are preaching the importance of better mental health services. In the process, stigma building has reached disturbing heights. Mood music: This massacre, like Sandy Hook and Aurora, Colorado, before it, was perpetrated by a troubled soul with some degree of mental illness. Navy Yard killer Aaron Alexis had told authorities weeks before that he was hearing voices in his head. Aurora shooter James Holmes had colored his hair…  [Read More]

Jesus’s Drafty, Leaky House

by Bill Brenner September 23, 2013 Faith

During Mass yesterday, the priest repeatedly told us that “Jesus lives inside you.” I couldn’t help but think about what that must be like in my case. Mood music: If I were a house, I could imagine Him grappling with a constant flow of repair bills. There’s more square footage than the heating system can accommodate and the place is drafty as a result. The roof leaks constantly. The place is teeming with vermin. Yet…  [Read More]

When Teachers Get It

by Bill Brenner September 20, 2013 Children's issues

Last night I attended a parent information night at Sean and Duncan’s new school. It’s a great school, but the kids have been struggling to adjust, especially Duncan. That’s to be expected. But there is always that worry in the back of my brain that teachers will never truly understand Duncan, who has ADHD. We moved them to this new school because we felt Duncan in particular needed a more organized, regimented environment to thrive….  [Read More]

Dumb, Racist Reactions to Miss America 2014

by Bill Brenner September 18, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

I typically try to avoid passing judgement on people in this blog. I simply react to events from my own experiences and move on. I also always try to assume that the best of humanity will win out over the worst. I still believe that. Mood music: Sometimes, though, people do things that are so stupid and embarrassing for the rest of humanity that they simply must be called out on it. So it is…  [Read More]

Athletic Bulimia and Asshole Slogans

by Bill Brenner September 16, 2013 Compulsive behaviors

As someone who has struggled with both compulsive behavior and binge eating, a blog post from Pilates instructor, movement therapist and martial artist Kevin Moore called “The 6 Most Shockingly Irresponsible ‘Fitspiration’ Photos” strikes a big chord with me. Moore takes aim at the advertisers who put out photos of rail-thin men and women with six-pack abs with messages suggesting you’re inferior, even pathetic, unless you find a way to get ripped. Number three especially…  [Read More]

To Duncan on His 14th Birthday

by Bill Brenner September 14, 2013 Children's issues

Note: I’ve often written notes to my kids on their birthday. This was originally written when Duncan turned 1o. An open letter to my second child on his 10th birthday… Mood Music: At 2 a.m. on Sept. 15, 2003, I was jolted awake by your mom shoving me in the shoulder. I had just gone to bed 45 minutes earlier, and I had had a lot of wine the night before. You weren’t expected for…  [Read More]

It’s Never Too Late to Renegotiate Your Life

by Bill Brenner September 13, 2013 Crime and punishment

When you have legal problems, mountains of debt, bad relationships and a job that makes you unhappy, it’s easy to feel like there’s a point of no return, that this is how your life turned out and that’s that. I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit. Mood music: I can say that, because I’ve lived it. I’m thinking about this after talking to a friend who allowed an addiction to get out of hand to…  [Read More]

Adventures With The CPAP

by Bill Brenner September 12, 2013 Uncategorized

I’ve been using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine for about two weeks now as a remedy for sleep apnea and my initial review is mixed. Mood music: The good news: When I have the mask on, I don’t snore. As a result, I’ve slept in the bed for 14 days straight without getting kicked to the couch for making a racket. The bad news: Keeping the mask on properly for the entire night is proving…  [Read More]

Flying on September 11

by Bill Brenner September 10, 2013 Coping tools

One of my biggest moments of shame came a week after September 11, 2001, when I scrubbed a planned trip to Arizona for a relative’s wedding. I was terrified to get on an airplane, and fear won out. Not only did I miss an important day in a loved one’s life, I also deprived my wife of the same thing. I didn’t want her flying, either. Mood music: I’ve talked to many people over the…  [Read More]