November 2014

Why I Made That “Boycott United Airlines” Remark

by Bill Brenner November 30, 2014 Communication skills for the crazy

This morning I posted a comment from a friend suggesting people boycott United Airlines. A reader told me that if I’m going to suggest boycotting a business, I should provide all the details so they can make a more informed decision. It’s a fair request. Like the person whose post I shared, I’m angry because a friend we have in common was treated badly by United personnel.  Some drunk idiot harassed her in a United…  [Read More]

Laughing off the Emotionally Scarring Back Stories

by Bill Brenner November 25, 2014 Lighthearted

When I first opened up about events that scarred me for life, I worried about how it would be perceived. Would I be seen as a whiny, attention-seeking weakling? The reaction was almost entirely the opposite, which has helped me look at my own challenges with better humor. In all the conversations with people that followed the launch of The OCD Diaries, it’s become plain that most of us have an emotionally scarring back story….  [Read More]

Lessons Lou Reed Taught Me About Life and Death

by Bill Brenner November 22, 2014 Dealing with life

Life’s like Sanskrit read to a pony I see you in my mind’s eye strangling on your tongue What good is knowing such devotion I’ve been around, I know what makes things run What’s good? Life’s good But not fair at all –Lou Reed When my addictive impulses were at their worst and I felt like I’d never regain control, I found comfort in an unlikely album: The Velvet Underground & Nico. Songs like “Heroin” and…  [Read More]

The Lost Generation of Revere, Mass.

by Bill Brenner November 22, 2014 Addiction

An old friend from the Point of Pines, Revere, sent me a note some time ago. He came across my post on Zane Mead and another on the Bridge Rats gang. For him, they brought up more memories of kids from the neighborhood who died young. Mood music: I’ll keep his name and certain details out to protect his privacy, but here’s some of what he wrote to me: I came across your piece in…  [Read More]

5 Years Later: Magic and Loss

by Bill Brenner November 20, 2014 Grief management

This week marks a sad anniversary: the tragic death of a beautiful young woman named Penney Richards. Penney was killed in a motorcycle accident on a sunny day in 2009. Mood music: To be honest, I didn’t really know her. But I had once worked with her mother, who has the same name but spells it Penny. I usually slip into depression in November, but I sunk much deeper into it that year because I couldn’t…  [Read More]

Manson’s Getting Married

by Bill Brenner November 19, 2014 News

When traffic on older posts starts shooting through the roof, it’s usually a sign that something new is happening with the people and events I’ve written about. The latest example: Charles Manson. Mood music: It appears that Charlie has obtained a marriage license and plans to wed 26-year-old Afton Elaine Burton, who goes by the name Star. The young lady says she loves Manson because of his environmental activism. She’s apparently willing to look beyond the…  [Read More]

Depressed Minds, Not Beaten Souls

by Bill Brenner November 18, 2014 Suicide

In 2011, I was sobered by a report in USA Today that said 1 in 100 adults had planned their suicide in the year leading up to the article —  a statistic that didn’t surprise me, knowing what I do about depression. Mood music: I’ve suffered a lot of depression in my day. I’m experiencing it right now. While I’ve never seriously considered ending it, I can easily see how someone in that state of mind could head in…  [Read More]

18 Years After the Suicide

by Bill Brenner November 17, 2014 Depression

I’m doing the “Walk All Night Against Suicide Walk” in June to raise funds for suicide prevention programs. If you wish to donate, go here. Eighteen years ago my best friend killed himself. I knew he was badly depressed. I even had a feeling he harbored suicidal thoughts. I just never thought he’d do it. I was wrapped up in my own world as he deteriorated. I was binge eating and working 80 hours a week,…  [Read More]

Why Can’t They Just Snap Out Of It?

by Bill Brenner November 13, 2014 SAD

For those who don’t experience or understand depression, it can be hard to understand the duration of someone’s melancholy and why, after a while, they can’t just snap out of it. I’ve spent a lot of time learning to keep my moods out of the way, carrying on in public like all is normal. But when I’m home, it’s exceptionally difficult to keep up appearances. No matter how hard I try to “snap out of it,”…  [Read More]

40 Years Ago in Amityville

by Bill Brenner November 12, 2014 Addiction

Some of you have seen the “Amityville Horror” and instantly think of it as the story of a haunted house. I never believed it, but I’ve always been drawn to the murders that started the whole thing off. This week marks the 40th anniversary of the murders, in which Ronald “Butch” DeFeo was convicted of killing his parents, two brothers and two sisters. I’ve always had an interest in it because at its bare core, this…  [Read More]