Learning to Deal with the Pressure

by Bill Brenner September 18, 2015 Dealing with life

Baseball has never been my thing, but I’m learning to deal with the big curve balls that keep coming my way. Mood music: Last year, before my father’s health went into its final descent, he asked me to help him with his unfinished business interests. Since his death, the task has been something close to a second full-time job. I’m now in charge of cleaning up and selling the building that housed the family business….  [Read More]

What a Weird Dream Says About My Real Life

by Bill Brenner March 23, 2015 Mental health

I’m in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as I write this. I’m in a hotel by the beach and it’s pretty relaxed. I’m sleeping more deeply than I have in a while. I’m also having some fucked-up dreams. Since I rarely remember my dreams the next morning, I’ve decided to capture this one. Mood music: Sequence 1 I’m with my father, aunt and younger son in front of the old family business. Everyone’s gathered to go to…  [Read More]

5 Things I’ve Done That Scare Me

by Bill Brenner September 3, 2014 Courage

A while back I wrote a post celebrating Eleanor Roosevelt’s call to “do something every day that scares you.” Rereading that post recently, I realized I forgot something important. Mood music: I forgot to mention how I’m living that advice and not simply parroting it to be cool. If this blog is to mean anything, I have to lead by example, though not in the ways you may be thinking of. I’m not about to skydive…  [Read More]

Knowing You’re a Punk is the First Step in the Cure

by Bill Brenner April 3, 2014 Compulsive behaviors

I was an absolute punk this morning. I was incensed over tech problems, dropping F-bombs and punching the desk with my fist. Mood music: It’s a typical problem for someone with clinical OCD. You want to control everything, though you know it’s impossible. In mid-rage, I learned a friend had just lost a sibling. Rage turned to guilt. I’m no special case. We all lose our patience from time to time and act like spoiled brats. More…  [Read More]

Tapping into Infosec’s Human Side

by Bill Brenner March 27, 2014 Depression

In my day job, I host the Akamai Security Podcast, an audio program about all things information security. On occasion, the topics of my profession bleed into the focus of this blog. In the following podcast, I chat with colleague Christian Ternus, a member of Akamai Infosec’s Adversarial Resilience Team. He’s been the driving force behind Humanity in Security, an effort to address burnout, depression and stress in the security community. One of his main messages is…  [Read More]

Basil Fawlty Can Suck It

by Bill Brenner March 17, 2014 OCD

I know many fans of the old BBC show Fawlty Towers. People love to laugh at lead character Basil Fawlty, who’s perpetually unhinged, rude and ridiculous. Viewers can laugh at Basil’s expense and even feel a little grateful for not being that guy. But I have to confess that I despise the show. Mood music: When I watch an episode, I actually get stressed out. My anxiety goes through the roof every time Basil puts…  [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]

Death by Regimentation

by Bill Brenner January 30, 2014 Depression

I lead a pretty regimented life. I’ve gotten good at juggling multiple activities at once and sticking to carefully mapped out schedules. Regimens are good for me. I need specific plans for eating, exercise and career/family management. But I have to admit, all that regimentation is like a noose around my neck lately. Mood music: I recently reined in my eating plan and got back to exercising because my health was beginning to drift. I…  [Read More]

So Many Appointments, So Little Sanity

by Bill Brenner December 9, 2013 Depression

This year’s seasonal depression comes with a twist. It’s not necessarily something new, but it’s something I’m more aware of these days: The calendar is filled with too many appointments. Mood music: When you have kids and a busy job, a lot of running around is expected. Lately, though, it seems like running around is all I do. Last week was a pretty good example: A medical appointment for me, two for Duncan (his therapist…  [Read More]

Why Do Americans Die Sooner?

by Bill Brenner January 11, 2013 Medicine

CNN reports that despite spending more per person on healthcare than any other country, Americans are getting sicker and dying younger than our international peers. Why is this? Because Americans are too high strung and overworked. You could say the stress is killing us. Mood music, ironically sung by a couple of Brits: [spotify:track:45Zo6ftGzq6wRckCUrMoBJ] Here’s the takeaway from CNN: Data from 2007 show Americans’ life expectancy is 3.7 years shorter for men and 5.2 years…  [Read More]