Breisch Blog

Chapter 5 – Others Before Self

A young woman, despite suffering from anxiety and clinical depression, found herself in a caring, loving relationship. She admitted she never thought she would find someone as loving and generous as her current partner. However, she was riddled with guilt about the difficulties he faced dealing with her frequent afflictions. “I am not good enough […]

Nudging the World

“I’m done. I can’t take it any longer.” she said. “I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety since I was a teen, and I simply cannot do it any longer.” This call arrived many years into my tenure on the suicide hotline, so I was not surprised by its beginning. It was how the call ended […]

PechaKucha Batavia – Questions That Matter

On May 25, I was one of the presenters at PechaKucha Batavia. PechaKucha is a format in which you present 20 slides for 20 seconds each. I shared “Questions That Matter.” Unfortunately, the accompanying slides are unavailable, but here are my questions:

A Perfect Ending

“Perfect is the enemy of good.”                             Voltaire Sometimes perfect finds us when we least expect it. In the Fall of 2021, I was asked to give a keynote at a meeting of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) for school districts across the state of Illinois. I could never have conceived how this invitation would help […]

Reality Forever Beyond My Grasp

I have come to realize—even though I may wish otherwise—I will never grasp more than a sliver of reality. In a recent post, I noted how our view of reality is fragmented and distorted because we only absorb a small fraction of the infinite sensory inputs we experience at any moment. As a result, everything […]

The Tapestry We Mistakenly Believe is Reality

One of the most profound lessons I have extracted from nearly 20 years answering calls (11,000 or more) on the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is that each of us constructs an image—a tapestry—we truly believe represents reality, but turns out to be ambiguous, misleading, and very often wrong. Despite its extraordinary abilities, our brains are easily […]

Every. Single. Day.

I recently discovered that, 117 years ago, the United States Supreme Court enforced a Cambridge Massachusetts health board’s smallpox vaccination order. The plaintiff—an anti-vaxxer—claimed their ‘individual liberty.’ That liberty, it was said, included, not only the right to afflict themselves, but also the right to cause others to be afflicted. When I learned of this […]

Contagious, Courageous Conversations

“When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” Billy Graham I am scheduled to present my book, Humanity’s Journey Home, to a group of lifelong learners. But I’m frightened. I’m glad I wrote the book…I really am. However, there are days I wish I hadn’t. It’s not a book […]

Guilt: The Hidden Mental Illness

He explained that he left work early after we connected on a suicide hotline. “I’m in my car on the way to the emergency room and just needed someone to talk to.” “I’m glad you called. What’s making life so difficult?” I asked. “I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and anxiety. I was at my […]

“Turning Periods into Question Marks”

Turning periods into question marks can be life-saving. Several months ago, I got a call from a dear friend, Tess, as she drove from her home outside of Chicago to a friend’s home in Michigan. She was frightened because this friend was seriously considering suicide and Tess felt unprepared to help. Since she knew of […]

Who Will Play Your Music?

Renowned improvisational pianist, Michael Jones, changed my life. For several years I listened to his extraordinary music as he played at numerous conferences. It took time and courage for me to ask if I might record and publish an interview with him. In early 1998, I journeyed to his home north of Toronto and we […]

A Perfect Ending

“Perfect is the enemy of good.” Voltaire Sometimes perfect finds us when we least expect it. Late last year, I was asked to keynote at a meeting of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) for school districts across the state of Illinois. I could never have conceived how this invitation would help save a life and change […]