Kurt Cobain’s Suicide Note on a T-Shirt

by Bill Brenner January 22, 2015 Dealing with life

Online marketplace Etsy caused a kerfuffle recently by selling shirts emblazoned with the suicide note of the late Kurt Cobain. Etsy and other e-commerce sites have since pulled the shirts from their virtual shelves, but the big question remains: Who in their right mind would wear such a thing? Mood music: To be fair, some would wear it to make a statement about depression. But most kids just want to shock people. I know, because…  [Read More]

18 Years After the Suicide

by Bill Brenner November 17, 2014 Depression

I’m doing the “Walk All Night Against Suicide Walk” in June to raise funds for suicide prevention programs. If you wish to donate, go here. Eighteen years ago my best friend killed himself. I knew he was badly depressed. I even had a feeling he harbored suicidal thoughts. I just never thought he’d do it. I was wrapped up in my own world as he deteriorated. I was binge eating and working 80 hours a week,…  [Read More]

Suicide Is Not a Rational Act

by Bill Brenner August 15, 2014 Suicide

As this week has gone on, we’ve seen discussion continue about suicide and depression as more details about Robin Williams‘ death are made public. Two conversations in particular highlight an important fact. Mood music: The first is a comment someone made regarding my post on Shepard Smith calling Williams’ suicide a cowardly act. Bert Knabe wote: Looking at his words, I don’t think [Smith] was calling Williams a coward, he was saying one of those…  [Read More]

A (Small) Defense of Shepard Smith

by Bill Brenner August 14, 2014 News

A lot of people are incensed with Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, who suggested Robin Williams was a coward for killing himself this week. My first instinct was to call him out for being an idiot, an enabler of insensitive motormouths uninterested in learning about how depression really ticks. But I’m going to take the road less expected. I’m going to defend the guy a little bit. Mood music: First, let me clarify three things: I…  [Read More]

Was Robin Williams Suicide a Selfish Act?

by Bill Brenner August 13, 2014 Depression

The death of actor Robin Williams has left many in shock, myself included. I can’t imagine a world without his talents, and the nature of his death has brought all my old memories of depression and suicide back into focus. A couple friends have suggested that Williams committed a selfish act that will ravage his friends and family for years to come. I can see where that line of thinking comes from. After my best…  [Read More]

Binge Eating, Heroin Overdoses and Suicide

by Bill Brenner May 14, 2014 Uncategorized

My first full-time reporting gig was for The Stoneham Sun newspaper, part of what was then Community Newspaper Company. (It’s now Gatehouse Media.) It was a fun job, giving me a priceless education in local politics, public safety and criminal court proceedings. But in some ways, it was the darkest year of my 20s. Mood music: It was a year of vicious binge eating, 80-hour workweeks for little money, depression, anxiety and the suicide of my best…  [Read More]

The Semicolon As Anti-Suicide Symbol

by Bill Brenner April 1, 2014 Coping tools

I’ve never been a fan of the semicolon. I always identify it as punctuation used by people clinically incapable of writing the short, crisp sentences I prefer. Who knew it would become a symbol of hope — a battle cry to resist suicidal thoughts and get on with life. Mood music: That’s the mission of The Semicolon Project: to turn a piece of punctuation into something new and powerful. A Tumblr blog explains: The semicolon…  [Read More]

Seven Insights into Dealing with Depression

by Bill Brenner March 26, 2014 Depression

I got this question from a reader over the weekend, after he read my “Suicide in the Blood” post: I was just curious after reading this article: As much as I think about suicide and sometimes homicide, am I capable of carrying this out? I’m bipolar and have very serious depression also. Bipolar personality disorder and ADHD make it very hard to keep my mood swings down and my mind focused. I really need some…  [Read More]

Depression Takes Another Friend

by Bill Brenner October 17, 2013 Depression

Thomas John “TJ” Leduc was a constant companion during my childhood in Revere. I swam in his pool and slept over his house. The first time I was weirded out by the sight and sound of Boy George, it was during one of those sleepovers, when we were eating popcorn and watching Solid Gold, puzzling over the girl on the screen who sounded like a man. Mood music: TJ had a sunny personality that was…  [Read More]

Suicide in the Blood

by Bill Brenner August 23, 2013 Depression

A friend sent me a fascinating article yesterday about medical advancements in which a person’s severe depression and suicide could possibly be predetermined by biomarkers in their blood. Mood music: The article in Nature outlines how six biomarkers in blood can conceivably identify people at risk of suicide. Indiana University psychiatrist Alexander Niculescu and six of his colleagues published their findings in Molecular Psychiatry. They identified nine men with bipolar disorder who are part of a larger, separate study. Between testing visits, the men…  [Read More]