Coping tools

Living in the Precious Present (If You Can Find It)

by Bill Brenner June 6, 2016 Communication skills for the crazy

One of the basic traits of someone with OCD is an inability to live in the moment. Learning to do so is one of my big projects at the moment.   I’m better at living in the precious present than I used to be. I can remember being a kid, always daydreaming about the future: what I’d look like and how cool my life would be if I were thinner, the clothes I would wear,…  [Read More]

The Dark Side of Mindfulness

by Bill Brenner January 25, 2016 Coping tools

Mindfulness has been important for my OCD and anxiety management. When used in the right amounts, the tools are immensely helpful. But mindfulness has a dark side, too. Mood music: Dawn Foster points out the dangers in a post she wrote for The Guardian that asks “is mindfulness making us ill?” In the article, we hear from a 37-year-old woman named Claire, who started suffering from panic attacks and depression when she started taking a mindfulness course. The mindfulness training dregded…  [Read More]

Dear Prudence, I’m Coming For You

by Bill Brenner January 4, 2016 Coping tools

By the end of 2015, I made a decision: I wasn’t going to let newfound pressures and responsibilities overtake the most important things in my life. Managing the loose ends of a family business — a task I inherited when my father died in June — had done just that. It was time to stop. I asked a friend for advice, and he told me to practice prudence. Prudence is about using reason to govern…  [Read More]

When Life Changes, So Do Your Coping Tools

by Bill Brenner October 7, 2015 Coping tools

I used to post in this blog at least once a day. Now I struggle to write a couple times a week. What’s going on? Mood music: When I started this blog, I was writing one or more posts a day, almost every day. Then it was four times a week. Then it was three. Lately, I have a hard time finding the motivation to write. It’s odd, because writing has long been my most…  [Read More]

Remembering Cliff Burton, Metallica’s Original Bassist

by Bill Brenner September 27, 2015 Coping tools

I couldn’t let the day go by without acknowledging a grim anniversary. Twenty-nine years ago today, Metallica bassist Cliff Burton was killed when the band’s tour bus flipped over on a lonely road in Sweden. Mood music:  The band’s first three albums had a huge impact on me. In fact, Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” album helped me get through my last major attack of Crohn’s Disease. It might seem bat-shit crazy of me to intertwine these…  [Read More]

The Most Important Skill to Deal with Life

by Bill Brenner August 31, 2015 Coping tools

I’m trying to teach my kids to be flexible. Like me, both are obsessive planners. Just yesterday, my older son was telling me he’d been planning out his entire school year right to the last day. My advice to him? Don’t get too locked into those plans. Mood music: I’m not trying to discourage careful planning. It’s good to plan; it keeps us organized. I find daily list making to be enormously helpful. I’m also…  [Read More]

The Sea Will Save You

by Bill Brenner August 11, 2015 Coping tools

During vacation last week, Erin and I visited Arrowhead, the home of author Herman Melville. I bought an illustrated copy of his most famous work, Moby-Dick and got a whole new appreciation for the opening paragraphs, which I hadn’t read since college. It’s where the character Ishmael says: Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin…  [Read More]

The “I’m Surviving” Checklist

by Bill Brenner June 9, 2015 Coping tools

I’ve learned that in times of disorganized thought, depression and anxiety, it’s good to make lists. Want to squeeze out all your negative thoughts about people? Make a resentment list. Need help getting your diet in order? Write a daily food list, also known as a food diary. Feeling overwhelmed by work and family responsibilities? Make daily to-do lists to stay on top of it all. Mood music: Life has been pretty chaotic lately, and…  [Read More]

Life Doesn’t Suck, We Just Need Our Life Jackets

by Bill Brenner May 27, 2015 Coping tools

Lately, I’ve been going through a tough period and been documenting it here because it’s another journey and I like to document all my journeys. One thing I’m re-learning on this trek is that it’s important to find life jackets that keep you from drowning when the floods come. Put on the life jacket for a couple hours or a couple of days pockets to keep your head above water. Mood music: Last weekend while the…  [Read More]

Through The Storm

by Bill Brenner May 18, 2015 Coping tools

Work is crazy busy. I’m visiting my father in hospice a lot. Helping Dad tie up some loose ends on his real-estate interests has become a full-time job in itself. It would be easy, in this crazy time of life, to skip doctor appointments, binge-eat or climb into a bottle. Mood music: Admittedly, my eating has been less than stellar. It’s the opposite of binging at this point; my appetite cuts out a lot and…  [Read More]