Mental illness education

After “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” Post, A Dramatic Turnaround

by Bill Brenner April 25, 2016 Children's issues

After the December 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, when 20 children and several educators were murdered by 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza, a distressed mom wrote a blog post called “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother.” The mental distress Lanza reportedly lived with was something Liza Long saw in her own son, Eric Walton. Sunday morning I heard a report on NPR in which Long and Walton opened up about the turn their lives took after that blog post went viral. And it’s…  [Read More]

For Parents With Kids Freaked About Winter Storms

by Bill Brenner January 25, 2015 Children's issues

With a blizzard in the New England forecast this week and next month’s 37th anniversary of the Blizzard of 1978, I thought this might be of use: Mood music: I got a message awhile back from a mom who reads this blog regularly. I’ll keep her anonymous but share some details of the note: “My son, only 7, has suffered from pretty severe anxieties about weather over the past 3 or so years. It took me…  [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]

Human Tourniquets And Freaks Who Love Them

by Bill Brenner March 29, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

I originally wrote this three years ago. Looking at it again, it’s an important post describing a time when not even best friends were safe from my insanity. I’ve updated it for the present.  Mood music: [spotify:track:2YGwSRjcY4Hjz6fktW9619] You know the type. They hang  out with people who act more like abusive spouses than friends. They are human tourniquets. They absorb the pain of their tormentor daily and without complaint. This is the story of the…  [Read More]

MomDay Monday – School Daze

by Bill Brenner April 22, 2010 Children's issues

Every school has its issues. Issues with teachers. Issues with other parents. Miscommunication. Problems with other students. Every school. There’s no getting around it. We’re all human. We all have failings. And a school is, after all, made up of us imperfect humans. But at what point does a school have so many issues it becomes dysfunctional? Is it when the faculty talks out of turn to your child about their parents’ divorce? Or perhaps…  [Read More]

Happy and Productive in the Debris Field

by Bill Brenner April 20, 2010 Children's issues

The author used to come unglued around chaos. Now it floats past him. Mood music for this post: “Sons and Daughters” by The Decemberists: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5H8DwJI0uA&hl=en_US&fs=1&] Looking at the week ahead, it’s amazing I’m not hiding in a foxhole right now. I’m working from home the first part of the week while the kids are on vacation. Call it half a vacation, though I’m tackling a full plate of work each day. Sean’s birthday is this…  [Read More]

Windmill Hands

by Bill Brenner April 18, 2010 Mental disorders

Ever wondered what that weird thing is the author does with his hands? Wonder no more. Those who know me well have seen it at one time or another, usually when I’m sitting at a desk engaged in a project. My face gets slightly contorted and I start shaking my hands around like they’re on fire. I call it my Windmill Hand Syndrome. When I’m doing it, I don’t realize it, though I just noticed…  [Read More]

Skeptic Slang and Charles Manson: Six Degrees of Separation

by Bill Brenner April 17, 2010 Communication skills for the crazy

Skeptic Slang and a glimpse at mental illness in the making. Mood music for this post: “My Monkey” by Marylin Manson: A note about the music: Marilyn Manson put this on his “Portrait of an American Family” album, which was recorded in the Sharon Tate murder house. The title and chorus were taken from a Charles Manson song called “Mechanical Man.” Bits of Manson interviews are sprinkled throughout. It just seemed appropriate for some reason……  [Read More]

Bad Behavior, Easily Defined

by Bill Brenner April 14, 2010 Addiction

The author turns to his musical hero for some easy-to-remember descriptions of depression and addictive behavior. Mood music for this post: “Pray for me” by Sixx A.M.: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFjz6O7ewwg&hl=en_US&fs=1&] Many times by now, I’ve mentioned that one of my inspirations for this blog is Nikki Sixx, bassist and lyricist for Motley Crue. That’s because he gave the world a naked view of his madness at the hands of addiction in his book, “The Heroin Diaries.” I’m…  [Read More]

Meet My Demon

by Bill Brenner April 13, 2010 Addiction

Why the author treats his demon like an imaginary friend, and how it helps. It won’t give up It wants me dead God damn that noise inside my head From today’s mood music, “The Becoming,” by Trent Reznor, Nine Inch Nails: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDfyR22u_gI&hl=en_US&fs=1&] At last night’s OA meeting, I saw quite a few people with heavy weights pressing on their minds. I won’t share details, because these meetings are all about anonymity. But it got me…  [Read More]