4 Tips to Beat Fear and Anxiety at #RSAC2016

by Bill Brenner February 3, 2016 Infosec

The first time I attended RSA in 2005, fear and anxiety threatened to consume me. I feared the flights, the crowds and the prospect of failing professionally. Fast-forward to 2016: I’m a veteran infosec journalist who has been to too many conferences to count. I can’t say that I’m done with fear and anxiety, but I’ve brought it largely under control. I’ve met a lot of people who suffer the same debilitating anxiety I used to experience over…  [Read More]

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]

Cancer: Faces of Bravery, Faces of Fear

by Bill Brenner February 21, 2014 Courage

The photos tell the tale clearly. Beth Whaanga, mother of four, has been through hell. She has the scars to prove it. And when she decided to show the world, people on Facebook unfriended her. Mood music: Whaanga has been in a long and brutal battle against cancer. Multiple surgeries have left her body mangled, though when fully clothed, the scars are hidden. She chose to reveal those scars in a photo series called “Under the…  [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]

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]

Let’s Talk About Mental Illness

by Bill Brenner July 16, 2013 Mental disorders

An old friend and former workmate, Steve Repsys, has started a new community on Facebook called Let’s Talk About Mental Illness. If you have ever suffered from a mental disorder, I urge you to join and participate in the discussion. Mood music: I first met Steve nearly 16 years ago when I started my run as editor of the weekly newspaper The Billerica Minuteman. He had just started as a reporter. Neither of us knew at…  [Read More]

Perception or Reality?

by Bill Brenner July 10, 2013 Fear and anxiety

A couple friends who were at the 1992 Lollapalooza show I recently wrote about agreed with my general retelling of events but experienced something much different than I did. Said one: “I guess it’s true: Perception is reality.” Mood music: I couldn’t agree more. It reflects a point I’ve repeatedly tried to drive home: The events I describe in this blog are based on my own personal truths, the most accurate retellings I can offer….  [Read More]

Comparing Politicians to Hitler Is Stupid

by Bill Brenner January 10, 2013 Political discourse

The debate over firearms is bringing out extreme levels of stupidity in people. Right-wingers who think gun control means taking away everyone’s right to bear arms are comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler. Left-wingers did the same to President Bush over his war policies. It’s the lowest common denominator; the dumbest of the dumb. Mood music: [spotify:track:4AlIvHv7kHmhi8aDvn2ctK] On the Drudge Report, Obama’s picture was lumped in with images of Hitler and Soviet dictator Josef Stalin…  [Read More]