fear and anxiety

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]

Turning Mental Disorder into a Superpower

by Bill Brenner December 15, 2014 Coping tools

Instead of fighting some mental disorders, such as OCD or ADHD, picture yourself accepting and even embracing them. Then learn to use your disorder to your advantage. It’s kind of like Luke Skywalker learning to use and control the Force instead of it controlling him, or Superman learning to control his super-senses. Mood music: This won’t work for every disorder, of course. Some are more serious than others, like PTSD and schizophrenia. But Edward (Ned)…  [Read More]

It’s Not How Far You Have to Go, It’s How Far You’ve Come

by Bill Brenner May 28, 2014 Dealing with life

No matter how much we’ve grown, no matter how far we’ve come, we insist on beating ourselves over the strides we have yet to achieve. When it comes to self-loathing over one’s vulnerabilities, I’m about the best there is. But I’ve worked hard to break myself of that, because the truth is that I have come a long way since the days when I was owned by my OCD, anxiety, fears and dark impulses. Do…  [Read More]

Account Theft: The Worst That Could Happen Wasn’t Much

by Bill Brenner April 29, 2014 stress

Because I’m a security writer by profession, one of my biggest fears is that online thieves will suck my bank account dry. I’ve seen it happen to friends and family, and I know how violated they felt. I’ve written too many articles about people I don’t know being victimized. So when it finally happened to me, I was surprised by my muted, almost calm response. Mood music: When I signed in to the family account, I was…  [Read More]

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]

Downworthy: The Answer to All Those Stupid Headlines

by Bill Brenner January 27, 2014 Lighthearted

I loathe the link-bait bullshit that’s taken over my Facebook newsfeed. Upworthy. Opposing Views. Even The Huffington Post. They’re all guilty to varying degrees. Call me a snob, if you will. I was a journalist for 20 years, and I like my headlines straightforward and to the point. All I see these days is shit that goes something like, “Michael asked his mom for a Pepsi. What came next will blow your mind.” Mood music:…  [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]

Flying on September 11

by Bill Brenner September 10, 2013 Coping tools

One of my biggest moments of shame came a week after September 11, 2001, when I scrubbed a planned trip to Arizona for a relative’s wedding. I was terrified to get on an airplane, and fear won out. Not only did I miss an important day in a loved one’s life, I also deprived my wife of the same thing. I didn’t want her flying, either. Mood music: I’ve talked to many people over the…  [Read More]