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 “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]

My Problem with “One Day at a Time”

by Bill Brenner January 13, 2015 Compulsive behaviors

“One day at a time? You wouldn’t believe the crap that swirls around my head one day at a time.”–Anonymous Recovering addicts have a saying burned into their brains: “one day at a time.” It’s important wisdom to live by. But when the recovering addict has OCD, there’s a big problem. Mood music: In the world of 12-step recovery programs, the idea of “one day at a time” is not to be overwhelmed. Instead of…  [Read More]

Woe-Is-Me Disease

by Bill Brenner December 18, 2014 Dealing with life

A funny thing about us OCD-addict types: When the going gets tough, we blame it on someone else. Call it the Woe-Is-Me Disease, where the sufferer is an eternal victim, forever screwed by everyone but themselves. Mood music: We all have people like that in our lives. They are clinically incapable of seeing their own role in the thing that goes wrong. It’s always someone else’s fault. They whine a lot, and when you suggest…  [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]

From Stress and Fear to Passion

by Bill Brenner March 12, 2014 Gratitude

A friend shared one of those inspirational memes with me yesterday, and it got me thinking about my approach to work — and how far I’ve come in general. Mood music: The meme says, simply: Man, is that ever true. I know, because I’ve been on both sides of the equation. Sometimes the job was intolerable. Mostly, my own demons were intolerable. During my days as a newspaper reporter and editor, all I knew was…  [Read More]

Lego Movie Revelation: I Was Evil Lord Business

by Bill Brenner March 10, 2014 OCD

We went as a family to see The Lego Movie a couple weeks ago and loved it. I was particularly fond of the goth-metal Batman. But I also saw a lot of my old self in Lord Business, the film’s evil villain. Mood music: Editor’s Note: If you don’t like spoilers, stop reading now. Lord Business wants to glue everything solid so no one can mess with his carefully constructed universe. To do this, he…  [Read More]

25 Things That Won’t Really Piss Off Friends With OCD

by Bill Brenner March 5, 2014 Lighthearted

The Dorm Stormer website has a photo spread of about 25 things it claims will piss off friends with OCD. As someone who does have OCD, let me offer my two cents. Mood music: Straightaway, the photo spread strikes me as dumb: I don’t feel irritated or insulted. It lacks cleverness and real humor. OCD humor done well is something I enjoy. If you can make me laugh about the condition I live with every…  [Read More]

How to Apply for Social Security Benefits for OCD Suffers

by Bill Brenner January 24, 2014 OCD

Guest blogger Ram Meyyappan explains how severe-OCD sufferers can receive financial help. If you suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits may be available to you. Before applying, you will want to learn more about the application, review, and qualification processes with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The following tips will help you better understand the programs available and the process of applying. Tip #1: Understand How to Medically Qualify for…  [Read More]

You Can’t Fight Depression with Unicorns and Rainbows

by Bill Brenner December 17, 2013 Adventures in writing

In recent days I’ve watched an interesting online discussion about depression and bipolar disorder. One one side is author and speaker Natasha Tracy, whose writing pulls no punches about the dark side of such maladies. On the other side is a blogger named Sarah Ryan. She believes the approach to addressing the subject should be uplifting and sunny. The truth is somewhere in between, in my opinion. But I must say that the sunshine part…  [Read More]