Fear and anxiety

Pain Leaks from Mind to Body

by Bill Brenner September 17, 2014 Fear and anxiety

Mental illness can lead to physical sickness. It’s a simple fact that some people find hard to believe. Mood music: I often hear people arguing over whether this person’s or that person’s aches and pains are “all in their head.” You know the type: There’s never any real underlying disease, but they’re always calling out of work with a headache or some intestinal discomfort. It’s all in their head, you say? Well, yeah. It’s called psychosomatic…  [Read More]

What I Learned About Myself at DEF CON

by Bill Brenner August 11, 2014 Fear and anxiety

I’m just back from Las Vegas, where I attended BSidesLV, Black Hat and DEF CON. I’m jet-lagged as hell and feel like toxic waste, but I’m also feeling pretty good about myself. Mood music: Here’s the thing about DEF CON: Attendance is huge, the lines are long and it’s easy to find yourself wedged between crowds of humanity moving in different directions. Like all of Vegas’ casinos, a thick cloud of cigarette smoke hangs in…  [Read More]

Happy in My Discomfort

by Bill Brenner July 28, 2014 Fear and anxiety

I’ve written about information security for more than a decade, but I’ve never pulled the levers, so to speak, until this past week. It’s both terrifying and awesome. Mood music: People in my industry assume I know how to conduct a penetration test, process software vulnerabilities and manage compliance operations. Truth is, I know how to write about this stuff, but I’ve never actually done these things. I never claimed that I had, but since…  [Read More]

When Cops Do Bad Things: The Eric Garner Incident

by Bill Brenner July 23, 2014 Fear and anxiety

This video of a man being choked to death by police is getting a lot of attention lately: Even The New York Times covered the incident. This sort of thing is normally New York Post territory. Of course, the video does come from the Post. You can hear people in the background talking about police bullying an innocent man whose only crime was trying to break up a fight. Police claim he was initially approached…  [Read More]

Confronting Your Biggest Fear on “America’s Got Talent”

by Bill Brenner June 19, 2014 Fear and anxiety

I don’t watch America’s Got Talent. I have nothing against the show; it’s just not my cup of tea. But something happened on the show that recently caught my attention: A young lady who suffers from terrible fear and anxiety went on the show and performed in front of a huge crowd and a panel of judges that include Howard Stern, Howie Mandel and Heidi Klum. You have some serious courage, Anna Clendening. I salute you.

An Anxiety Attack

by Bill Brenner February 11, 2014 Fear and anxiety

Friday afternoon I didn’t feel right. It was as if an anvil had been strapped to my chest. Breathing was labored. My face had that pins-and-needles sensation. I had to use the bathroom a couple times in short sequence. I’m pretty sure it was an anxiety attack. Mood music: I used to get them all the time, and overcoming them has been a central theme of this blog. I’ve largely controlled the attacks with Prozac…  [Read More]

Wherein I Run Afoul Of The U.S. Secret Service

by Bill Brenner January 24, 2014 Communication skills for the crazy

My resolve against the inner demons is tested regularly. Some are little tests, like being put in a room with all the food and alcohol I once binged on daily to see if I can resist the temptation. Some are bigger tests, like getting lost en route to Washington D.C a few years ago with my wife and kids in the car. Getting lost in a car used to be the stuff my anxiety attacks were made…  [Read More]

Fear of Déjà Vu

by Bill Brenner January 14, 2014 Fear and anxiety

Déjà vu, literally “already seen,” is the strong sensation that a current event has been experienced in the past, whether it has actually happened or not. When my OCD, anxiety and depression were at their worst, I used to constantly have bad thoughts. It usually involved people close to me dying. I forgot about it until it started happening again recently. Mood music: My mind used to spin so fast with worry that I would…  [Read More]

The Power of Admitting Ignorance

by Bill Brenner October 21, 2013 Fear and anxiety

I’ve often gone through my career feeling like an impostor. I work with some ridiculously smart people and know many more in my industry. They seem interested in my opinion on things, and I try to deliver. But many times I don’t know the answer. So I sit wondering how the hell I got here. I know people who can bullshit their way through the answer to a question, but I lack that special talent….  [Read More]

Hope and Happiness Amid a Government Shutdown

by Bill Brenner October 1, 2013 Fear and anxiety

Forget about the effect the government shutdown has on mental health services; government mental health services suck anyway. Instead, let’s focus on keeping ours head on straight when political horror stories send our fear and anxiety into orbit. Mood music: http://youtu.be/lpRzYEHwnUo I mentioned last week how I used to latch onto world events as if my life depended on it. TV media reports political squabbles as it would report about war: loud graphics, chilling music….  [Read More]