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]

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]

Was Robin Williams Suicide a Selfish Act?

by Bill Brenner August 13, 2014 Depression

The death of actor Robin Williams has left many in shock, myself included. I can’t imagine a world without his talents, and the nature of his death has brought all my old memories of depression and suicide back into focus. A couple friends have suggested that Williams committed a selfish act that will ravage his friends and family for years to come. I can see where that line of thinking comes from. After my best…  [Read More]

SecBurnout: Much Ado About Nothing?

by Bill Brenner April 11, 2014 Depression

At the SOURCE Boston security conference yesterday, I ran a session with former colleague and friend Josh Corman on the topic of security burnout. It’s an issue I’m increasingly dedicated to, given my own history with mental illness and high-profile deaths in the community. When I think of the suicide of Aaron Swartz and the accidental overdose of Barnaby Jack, something in me screams out to act. I’m also inspired by the efforts of people like…  [Read More]

Tapping into Infosec’s Human Side

by Bill Brenner March 27, 2014 Depression

In my day job, I host the Akamai Security Podcast, an audio program about all things information security. On occasion, the topics of my profession bleed into the focus of this blog. In the following podcast, I chat with colleague Christian Ternus, a member of Akamai Infosec’s Adversarial Resilience Team. He’s been the driving force behind Humanity in Security, an effort to address burnout, depression and stress in the security community. One of his main messages is…  [Read More]

Seven Insights into Dealing with Depression

by Bill Brenner March 26, 2014 Depression

I got this question from a reader over the weekend, after he read my “Suicide in the Blood” post: I was just curious after reading this article: As much as I think about suicide and sometimes homicide, am I capable of carrying this out? I’m bipolar and have very serious depression also. Bipolar personality disorder and ADHD make it very hard to keep my mood swings down and my mind focused. I really need some…  [Read More]

Death by Regimentation

by Bill Brenner January 30, 2014 Depression

I lead a pretty regimented life. I’ve gotten good at juggling multiple activities at once and sticking to carefully mapped out schedules. Regimens are good for me. I need specific plans for eating, exercise and career/family management. But I have to admit, all that regimentation is like a noose around my neck lately. Mood music: I recently reined in my eating plan and got back to exercising because my health was beginning to drift. I…  [Read More]

So Many Appointments, So Little Sanity

by Bill Brenner December 9, 2013 Depression

This year’s seasonal depression comes with a twist. It’s not necessarily something new, but it’s something I’m more aware of these days: The calendar is filled with too many appointments. Mood music: When you have kids and a busy job, a lot of running around is expected. Lately, though, it seems like running around is all I do. Last week was a pretty good example: A medical appointment for me, two for Duncan (his therapist…  [Read More]

Infosec’s Mental Health Role Models

by Bill Brenner December 2, 2013 Depression

This weekend some friends asked about the reaction this blog has had in my industry. Truth is, I was unprepared for what followed the blog’s launch four years ago. In hindsight it makes perfect sense. Mood music: Friends asked if my information security colleagues were weirded out by the blog and whether it had an adverse effect on my ability to interview people. In fact, the opposite happened. By the time I was done baring…  [Read More]

Find Yourself a Real Doctor

by Bill Brenner November 26, 2013 Addiction

Written in June, 2010. Here’s the thing: Asking me for medical advice is like asking Charles Manson how to be a pacifist. Mood music: [spotify:track:79DVDD46pdqwjYucn91fny] In the months since I started this blog, I’ve noticed something expected but weird nonetheless: People are coming to me for medical advice. Several people who saw my post on living with Crohn’s Disease sent me their phone numbers and asked me to call them. I always do, and the…  [Read More]