The OCD Diaries, Four Years Later

by Bill Brenner on December 5, 2013

This weekend marks four years since I woke up in a funk and started this blog on a whim, figuring I’d at least feel better if I spilled my guts. It did the trick. But in the years since that day, it has become something far bigger than I could have imagined at the time.

Mood music:

I didn’t expect so many people to connect with the writing. I figured it would be no big deal to people, because we all have our stories — filled with happiness, sadness, love, heartbreak and other forms of adversity. I would just be one in a chorus of online voices sharing my emotions and experiences.

But people did connect, especially work colleagues and others in my profession. I thought my soul venting might raise eyebrows at work, but I got nothing but support. The reaction from the information security crowd was particularly stunning to me. People who intimidated me with their outward toughness started sharing back. They became more than just people I did business with. The friendships I’ve gained through the sharing is a huge gift this blog has given me.

The reaction from family and friends was shock, because I had succeeded in carrying on with a stoic, easy-going exterior. I couldn’t believe people saw me as easygoing. Apparently I could have found success as an actor.

The sharing has allowed me to repair some relationships that were broken. In other cases, it made matters worse. But there was no turning back.

My wife was often bewildered by what I wrote, because I was sharing past experiences I hadn’t shared with her up to that point. That led to us doing a lot of work on our relationship, and that’s the absolute greatest gift this blog has given me. As part of that, the blog has become one of the things we do together as a couple: I do the writing, Erin does the editing and bullshit detecting. When something I write doesn’t ring true, she pushes me in the proper direction.

Admittedly, I’ve expanded the subject matter a lot in the last year and a half. I didn’t originally plan to opine about current events here, but I realized a couple things after a while:

  • If I were to write about nothing but my own flaws, I’d risk being defined by them and nothing else.
  • This blog should be about more than just my own personal growth. Part of one’s growth comes from their dealings with the people and events taking place around them. By that measurement, current events became fair game.

In finding the path through adversity, there are many lessons to be had by exploring how we all talk to each other.

I’ve also focused more on the lighter side of life, because few things get us through the fog like humor. That has made this experiment a lot more fun for me. I hope it has worked for all of you, too.

Here’s to many more years of┬ástaring adversity in the face and making it blink — becoming better on our own and together.

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