Depression and Anxiety in the Age of Trump

by Bill Brenner November 18, 2016 Political discourse

This post isn’t to endorse or condemn either of this year’s presidential candidates. It IS acknowledgement that people are shaken by the election of Donald Trump as president. For many, the uncertainty and fear translates into depression and anxiety. If Hillary Clinton had won, there’d be a lot of Trump supporters suffering in similar fashion. So I would have been writing this post anyway. The big question is how to move forward if the election has…  [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]

When Your Kid Asks About Anti-Depressants

by Bill Brenner October 28, 2015 Children's issues

My 12-year-old has a few things in common with his dad. Both of us have mental disorders (his is ADHD, mine is OCD with wintertime undercurrents of ADHD). Both of us take medication to help manage our ills. But until last weekend, he had never asked the big question: “What do these pills do, anyway?” Mood music: To answer the question, I dusted off an analogy I had used some years ago to explain it…  [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]

My Kill Switch

by Bill Brenner July 14, 2015 Mental health

For someone accustomed to rising at 4 a.m. on a typical day, getting up at 7 a.m. is a lot like sleeping in. Lately, though, I’ve outdone myself in spades. Some days, I can’t seem to get out of bed before 9 or 10.  I’ve been napping a lot, too. Not just cat naps, but three-hour stretches of being out cold. Mood music: This is what I call my kill switch. During tough times, my body…  [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]

Post #RSAC 2015: Coming Down the Mountain Syndrome

by Bill Brenner April 25, 2015 Depression

It’s the Saturday after RSA Conference 2015. I spent most of Friday sleeping and have been off balance today. I know from past experience that depression is next. Not clinical depression, mind you. It’s more like what seasoned conference travelers call “ConFlu.” Mood music: I actually call this Coming Down the Mountain Syndrome, and it arrives every year like clockwork. In my industry RSA is one of the biggest conferences of the year. Months of planning…  [Read More]

The Burden of Being Upright, Part 2

by Bill Brenner April 6, 2015 Mental health

I’ve written a lot about the frustrations that come with trying to be a good man when you carry so much baggage. The burden of being upright is something we all carry, but it’s really been weighing on me of late. Mood music: This isn’t a pity party. But I’ve learned over the years that listing my issues and what I’m doing about them can help put them into perspective for me and can encourage…  [Read More]

The AP’s Suicide Rule Is Inadequate

by Bill Brenner March 30, 2015 Suicide

The AP Stylebook, which I lived by as a journalist, recently added a new rule for reporters and editors dealing with the topic of suicide. It’s not a bad set of guidelines, but it’s inadequate. Mood music: The AP now advises the following: Generally, AP does not cover suicides or suicide attempts, unless the person involved is a well-known figure or the circumstances are particularly unusual or publicly disruptive. Suicide stories, when written, should not go…  [Read More]

Walk All Night Against Suicide

by Bill Brenner February 25, 2015 Suicide

Update: I’ve set up my donations page. To donate, click here. Though this blog is about dealing with the challenges we face, I started it to raise awareness and bust down stigmas around depression and suicide. It’s time for me to take that fight to the next level. Mood music: I’ve been inspired to do more by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which will hold an overnight walk in Boston June 27-28. My legs work almost as…  [Read More]