July 2015

So You Think You Need a Psychotherapist

by Bill Brenner July 22, 2015 Mental health

People frequently ask  me about psychotherapists. They think they might need one and want to know if I see one. If so, am I getting results? Here’s my attempt at an answer. Mood music: I currently see a therapist. I like him and usually feel better after spending an hour spilling my guts in his office. He’s my sixth therapist in 10 years. My first therapist helped me unlock a lot of buried emotions that were…  [Read More]

A 6-Step Grief Survival Guide

by Bill Brenner July 21, 2015 Dealing with life

Having lost more friends and family than I care to count, I’ve tried writing posts over the years that make sense of grief. Or, at least, how I’ve worked through mine. Mood music: With the loss of my aunt and my father in the past month, I find myself thinking about those older writings. So I assembled this list. Its first purpose is to help me keep my perspective and regain my equilibrium. The second purpose,…  [Read More]

The Feel-Good Complex: A Chronicle of Bad Choices

by Bill Brenner July 20, 2015 Addiction

With all the death and drama in my life recently, I tell people that I regret quitting drinking a few years ago. Few things appeal to me more right now than the sweet buzz a bottle of wine would give me. I have no intention of falling off the wagon. I know where it would take me. But the fact is that I’m desperate to feel good lately. For now, I cling tightly to my vapor pipe….  [Read More]

An Open Letter to Berkeley Breathed

by Bill Brenner July 15, 2015 Lighthearted

Dear Mr. Breathed, I’m thrilled — thrilled! — that you’re bringing back “Bloom County.” I grew up reading your deliciously demented take on life in the 1980s. As a metalhead, my favorite story line was Billy and the Boingers. I loved that Steve Dallas casually decided that forming and managing a band with Opus and Bill the Cat would be more lucrative than defending serial killers. Mood music: When air traffic controllers went on strike and Ronald…  [Read More]

My Kill Switch

by Bill Brenner July 14, 2015 Mental health

For someone accustomed to rising at 4 a.m. on a typical day, getting up at 7 a.m. is a lot like sleeping in. Lately, though, I’ve outdone myself in spades. Some days, I can’t seem to get out of bed before 9 or 10.  I’ve been napping a lot, too. Not just cat naps, but three-hour stretches of being out cold. Mood music: This is what I call my kill switch. During tough times, my body…  [Read More]

It’s Not What You Do for a Living, It’s How You Carry It Forward

by Bill Brenner July 13, 2015 Social Networking

Every job, no matter how lowly it seems, is an opportunity to learn something that’ll come in handy later in life. The other day I was helping someone who wants to pursue a career in information security. He wasn’t sure if he should list some of his past jobs in his profiles because they don’t have anything to do with his preferred industry. I urged him to include everything. Mood music: He’s currently a barista at…  [Read More]

OCD: A Researcher’s Best Friend

by Bill Brenner July 8, 2015 Compulsive behaviors

For all its insidious characteristics, OCD has it’s pluses. For me, one advantage is that when I grow obsessed about something, I research it to the ends of the Earth. Mood music: There’s the musical obsession: I’m currently locked on to all things related to Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. An obsession with the likes of Van Halen, Ozzy, Led Zeppelin, The Doors and more led me to devour every book and album having…  [Read More]

Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys

by Bill Brenner July 7, 2015 Music therapy

Being a metalhead, one would expect me to hate a group like The Beach Boys, yet I’ve played them nonstop for a month now. Mood music: I started taking an interest after seeing a preview for the film Love and Mercy, in which actors Paul Dano and John Cusack play Brian Wilson during two stages of his life — the 1960s and the 1980s. I started playing the whole Beach Boys catalog, particularly the album Pet Sounds, widely…  [Read More]

Thank You All

by Bill Brenner July 1, 2015 Dealing with life

My family is overwhelmed and grateful for the massive outpouring of support and kind words in the wake of Dad’s death. I’ve heard from so many of you on my Facebook timeline, in private messages on Twitter and by phone. Mood music: I’ve written a lot about these final weeks with my father. I hope readers have taken it in the spirit I meant to get across — that while grief and loss is hard, there’s…  [Read More]