Compulsive behaviors

Using Mental Illness to Get Attention

by Bill Brenner January 19, 2016 Compulsive behaviors

I came across an interesting article on the AG News site listing 10 traits of someone who uses mental illness to get attention. A couple years ago it would have offended the hell out of me. But knowing myself as I do today, I see a lot of truth in there. Mood music: People with big egos often think of themselves as supremely awesome and interesting, even when they’re not. As I’ve said before, we OCD…  [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]

Of Fear and Duct Tape

by Bill Brenner May 14, 2015 Compulsive behaviors

I was anxious, jumpy, and panicky when I was younger, fear making me do the damnedest things. My sister loves to repeat the story of one of my more embarrassing freak-outs. It used to piss me off, but now I can sit back and laugh with everyone else. To that end, let’s review the morning a hurricane was coming and I completely lost it. Mood music: First, some history. Before I got my OCD under…  [Read More]

My Problem with “One Day at a Time”

by Bill Brenner January 13, 2015 Compulsive behaviors

“One day at a time? You wouldn’t believe the crap that swirls around my head one day at a time.”–Anonymous Recovering addicts have a saying burned into their brains: “one day at a time.” It’s important wisdom to live by. But when the recovering addict has OCD, there’s a big problem. Mood music: In the world of 12-step recovery programs, the idea of “one day at a time” is not to be overwhelmed. Instead of…  [Read More]

The Day the Devil Beat Me

by Bill Brenner October 14, 2014 Compulsive behaviors

I haven’t posted in a while for two reasons: One, I’ve been burned out. Two, I needed time to describe what it’s like to slide back into old habits. Mood music: It seems I’ve spent so much time writing about my recovery from binge eating and other addictive behaviors that I forgot what it was like to be back on the other side — where recovery gives way to failure and the fallen is left feeling…  [Read More]

Making Sense of a 9/11 Obsession

by Bill Brenner September 10, 2014 Compulsive behaviors

It happens every time the calendar rolls into September. I start watching documentaries about 9/11 and can’t stop. It’s as if an unseen force is controlling my actions. I go from one YouTube clip to the next. Many people do this in the days leading up to the anniversary, but for me there’s the OCD element, where after I watch something I can’t stop thinking about it. I’ll forget the rest of the world exists and…  [Read More]

A Hacker Walks Into a Vape Shop…

by Bill Brenner April 10, 2014 Compulsive behaviors

A while back, I wrote about my use of electronic cigarettes as a way to avoid tobacco products. Since then, the phenomenon known as “vaping” has taken off. It’s especially popular in the security industry I work in. There’s some symbolism in that, as I’ll explain shortly. But first, a self-assessment. Mood music: E-cigs have gotten me over smoking. True, vaping looks like smoking, and even feels like it to an extent. But I’m using…  [Read More]

Knowing You’re a Punk is the First Step in the Cure

by Bill Brenner April 3, 2014 Compulsive behaviors

I was an absolute punk this morning. I was incensed over tech problems, dropping F-bombs and punching the desk with my fist. Mood music: It’s a typical problem for someone with clinical OCD. You want to control everything, though you know it’s impossible. In mid-rage, I learned a friend had just lost a sibling. Rage turned to guilt. I’m no special case. We all lose our patience from time to time and act like spoiled brats. More…  [Read More]

To the Asshole Who Wrote “5 Reasons to Date a Girl with an Eating Disorder”

by Bill Brenner November 21, 2013 Compulsive behaviors

The Internet has made it possible for all sorts of assholes to have a forum. Although this is common knowledge, some people still manage to shock me. The latest example is an article someone calling himself Tuthmosis wrote called “5 Reasons to Date a Girl with an Eating Disorder.” Mood music: I always try to see the best in humanity. For all the bad seeds out there, I do believe we’ve come a long way…  [Read More]

Binging a Path from Hilltop Steakhouse to Augustine’s

by Bill Brenner October 15, 2013 Compulsive behaviors

Many of my friends and family are sad to hear about the planned closing of Hilltop Steakhouse on Route 1 in Saugus, Mass. I’m not gonna lie: I never understood the affection people had for the dining experience there. I always found the food mediocre at best, particularly in later years. But I did do my share of binging there because it was close by and affordable. And I can’t argue the place’s significance as…  [Read More]