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Podcast: How to Tell Friends and Love Interests About Mental Illness

This is an interesting article I found on:

See credits below.

A mental illness diagnosis doesn’t mean you can’t date or make new friends. It does mean – at some point — that you need to tell all the new people in your life that you’re living with depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, or whatever your mental health concerns are.

In this episode, our hosts discuss telling the new people in our lives about our health issues – including the people they’ve dated.


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“I had this plan that the third date was the right time to tell people about my mental illness.”
– Gabe Howard

Highlights From ‘Mental Illness, Friends, Love Interests’ Episode

[2:20] Being public and vocal about mental illness.

[3:30] What is the right (and wrong) way to tell people you have a mental illness?

[4:00] How soon is too soon? How late is too late?

[7:00] Michelle shares her story of telling romantic partners.

[11:30] We discuss when would we not share our diagnosis.

[15:30] Some people don’t believe we have mental illnesses.

[18:30] If we talk more about mental illness, people will understand it more.

[20:30] People should still respect your boundaries when it comes to mental illness.

[23:30] Michelle’s friends all knew she was schizophrenic before she was diagnosed.

Computer Generated Transcript for ‘How to Tell Friends and Love Interests About Mental Illness Show

Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript has been computer generated and therefore may contain inaccuracies and grammar errors. Thank you.

Narrator: [00:00:05] For reasons that utterly escapes Everyone involved. You’re listening to A Bipolar, A Schizophrenic and A Podcast. Here are your hosts, Gabe Howard and Michelle Hammer. Thank you for tuning into A Bipolar, A Schizophrenic and A Podcast.

Gabe: [00:00:22] My name is Gabe and I have bipolar disorder.

Michelle: [00:00:25] I’m Michelle and I’m schizophrenic.

Gabe: [00:00:27] Michelle you and I we just we just we just own it.

Michelle: [00:00:30] We own

Gabe: [00:00:31] I’m Gabe Howard bipolar.

Michelle: [00:00:32] Michelle Hammer schizophrenic.

Gabe: [00:00:34] And that’s it.

Michelle: [00:00:35] That’s it.

Gabe: [00:00:35] So I think we have completed the episode on how to tell people that you have a mental illness.

Michelle: [00:00:41] There you go. Just be like hi hello. This is me I have this hello how are you doing. Goodbye.

Gabe: [00:00:46] That’s it. So, if you had major depression it would be.

Michelle: [00:00:49] Hi I’m Michelle I have major depression.

Gabe: [00:00:51] And I’m Gabe but I have major depression.

Michelle: [00:00:53] I’m Michelle and I have ADD.

Gabe: [00:01:01] I love how you were thinking of all of the different mental disorders you like. Which one do I want to jokingly claim that I have?

Gabe: [00:01:08] I feel like maybe there was some stigma in there like some other ones popped in first and you were like oh hell no huh. No, I can see you having some OCD but like instead of wanting everything neat you want everything to be like completely deranged.

Michelle: [00:01:23] Well my room is a mess but I know where I keep my stuff. Usually it’s when other people clean up my stuff I don’t know I don’t know where anything is. It’s very frustrating. Don’t touch my stuff. I know where it is. It looks like a mess but there’s a method to my madness here I promise.

Gabe: [00:01:40] There’s no method you throw everything on the floor so you know that everything is on the floor.

Michelle: [00:01:45] But in the position of where it is.

Michelle: [00:01:47] I once had an issue with the pharmacy they were saying that I couldn’t get my medicine I got it three days after and I found the receipts on my floor. Good thing I didn’t throw those receipts out and I brought those receipts in and showed them their mistake and I yelled at them and reported them to the corporate office.

Gabe: [00:02:08] I completely agree that you have ADD because we’ve just been talking about your housekeeping skills for the last three and a half hours.

Gabe: [00:02:17] We’ll edit it down to like two minutes. Fine. Michelle a lot of people aren’t in our position. They’re not public or vocal about living with mental illness a lot of people they just they’re just live in regular lives. They want to be left alone. They don’t want to announce to the world that they have bipolar and schizophrenia. They don’t have podcasts they don’t give speeches. They don’t write. They’re just leading a quiet normal life and there’s nothing wrong with that because that’s what they want to do. But they still have cause to tell people they have mental illness not on the public scale that we do. But person to person you know they want their spouse to know or a potential date to know or they needed to tell their parents or their friends or maybe they need to disclose at work. And this creates this this problem.

Michelle: [00:03:01] Yes the problem of when to tell how to tell how what is the right way to tell.

Gabe: [00:03:08] And of course what is the wrong way to tell.

Michelle: [00:03:11] Yeah. What is the wrong way to tell?

Gabe: [00:03:13] I can honestly tell you that swinging from a chandelier screaming I’m mentally ill. That is the wrong way to tell people.

Michelle: [00:03:22] I would say also the wrong way to tell people would be like if you are on the way to the hospital to be sent to the psych ward you probably shouldn’t call up your partner and be like hey by the way I’m schizophrenic and I’m going to the psych ward right now because I tried to kill myself. OK see you later.

Gabe: [00:03:38] Well that’s an interesting point that you bring up because if you really are on your way to the psychiatric hospital if you really did just self-harm.

Gabe: [00:03:46] And you’ve never told your romantic partner your friend, etc., then unfortunately even though that’s the worst time to tell somebody it’s still better than not telling them at all. So, I really think that the message is the best time to tell people is when you’re doing well.

Michelle: [00:04:05] Absolutely. But how soon is too soon?

Gabe: [00:04:08] This is the million dollar question.

Michelle: [00:04:12] How late is too

Gabe: [00:04:14] I mean I think that question is worth at least a half a million dollars. As you know I’m married. I’m married to Kendall. She’s my third wife. My first wife I never told because I was an untreated bipolar and we never knew I had it. My second wife told me that I had bipolar disorder so that was convenient but my wife I knew that I had bipolar disorder.

Gabe: [00:04:33] I was living well and I was I was looking for a long term relationship I was looking to date and I dated a few people before I got married before you know the right one came along and I had this idea in my head that the third date was the right date to tell. I don’t know why I came up with that plan but it was always the third date, except for Kendall. I don’t know. I told Kendall via a text message before we ever met.

Michelle: [00:05:04] Well I guess it went well then.

Gabe: [00:05:06] I mean it worked out.

Michelle: [00:05:07] She didn’t ghost ya

Gabe: [00:05:07] Yeah.

Michelle: [00:05:09] She wasn’t like new

Gabe: [00:05:12] I often wonder though like I started off chatting with like one of her other friends and they were like oh hell no. uh uh Just change your name to Kendall and you can have this guy. Her name is actually Mary Beth

Michelle: [00:05:25] Just some bitty That’s in the living room with a different name. Lied to you the entire time. Yeah.

Gabe: [00:05:33] But the reason that I say this is because it just goes to show you the best laid plans.

Gabe: [00:05:37] Honestly the reason that I told her via text message is because I had just had yet another bad experience not really tied to living with bipolar disorder. Just you know I had a couple of bad dates with somebody and I was just like you know I don’t really want to date but I had been e-mailing back and forth and I believe in ghosting I think that’s wrong. So, I was just kind of trying to sabotage it. I thought if I sent a text message and said hey, I live with bipolar disorder that she would ghost me or you know we just kind of fizzle out from there but that didn’t happen.

Michelle: [00:06:12] I guess she liked you Gabe.

Gabe: [00:06:14] I she was willing to have a date with me.

Gabe: [00:06:16] I mean guess this did not deter her from having a first date.

Michelle: [00:06:22] And he was just so suave that suave bipolar guy. Oh that text message suave texting.

Gabe: [00:06:33] The thing is I don’t I’m ever gonna get the opportunity to try it again. I mean should I like for science purposes. Should I open up an account on like OK and just start sending hey I’m bipolar text messages?

Michelle: [00:06:43] You know the no longer lonely site.

Michelle: [00:06:47] Remember that.

Gabe: [00:06:48] I do remember that site.

Michelle: [00:06:50] Yes.

Gabe: [00:06:51] Are you no longer lonely Michelle.

Michelle: [00:06:54] Yes I’m no longer lonely.

Gabe: [00:06:56] Oh now how did you tell your significant other that you were a whack job. Sorry, Schizophrenic.

Michelle: [00:07:00] I my most recent relationship on one of the first dates I was shown that my partner had an eating disorder tattoo. So right out in the front I was told eating disorder. So on like the second date I was like Hey watch this video I was featured in and I showed the WebMD video where I was featured in and showed all about my schizophrenia and we watched that and then I was asked why did you show me that? I was like really OK because it’s not that big a I was say the relationship before that where I was like two years in and I’m like Hey I’m gonna start a company called Schizophrenic.NYC because I’m schizophrenic and he’s kind of like you’re not schizophrenic I go No I am umm no you’re not:

Gabe: [00:07:51] You dated someone for two years and didn’t tell them that you lived with severe and persistent mental illness.

Michelle: [00:07:57] Yeah.

Gabe: [00:07:59] I also want to say that for two years he didn’t notice he was not that into you.

Michelle: [00:08:05] I was not that into him either.

Gabe: [00:08:08] That’s awesome. That’s like that’s the greatest relationship. I like what you said there about because this is happening more and more.

Gabe: [00:08:14] The eating disorder tattoo. There’s lots of people that have all kinds of tattoos to symbolize living with mental illness. There’s obviously the most popular one which is the project tattoo just a little semicolon that people get tattooed all over the body that shows that they live with mental illness or that they support somebody who does. There’s obviously my bipolar symbol that a lot of people are getting tattooed on their bodies which I think is fantastic. It really makes me feel really good.

Gabe: [00:08:39] But there’s all kinds of other stuff that people get the green ribbon Sainz etcetera so people really are just kind of wearing it on their sleeve.

Michelle: [00:08:47] Yeah.

Gabe: [00:08:47] Or under it.

Michelle: [00:08:48] Or under their sleeve.

Michelle: [00:08:49] It’s becoming way more accepted.

Gabe: [00:08:52] And I think especially among the younger generation all of the people with these tattoos are closer to your age than they are mine

Michelle: [00:09:01] I suppose

Michelle: [00:09:02] Ann- Otis has a semi colon tattoo.

Gabe: [00:09:05] And it’s not just tattoos I mean a tattoo is you know like a lifelong art on your body but there’s clothing that signifies this you know for example I have the bipolar shirt you have schizophrenic which sells clothing. We have the define normal shirt which starts a conversation about mental health. So it’s it is becoming I mean I don’t know that 20 years ago somebody would have put on a shirt that said bipolar or Schizophrenic maybe the define normal one because that’s a little I don’t know it’s it’s easier to swallow maybe you know we also have you know the pins and the stickers and I know that we see it everywhere because of course we attend you know just a boatload of mental health conferences.

Michelle: [00:09:50] We really do. But I like that it’s getting out there more definitely. Michelle wants a new microphone so we got a sponsor. We’ll be right back.

Narrator: [00:10:00] This episode is sponsored by secure convenient and affordable online counselling. All counselors are licensed accredited professionals. Anything you share is confidential. Schedule secure video or phone sessions plus chat and text with your therapist whenever you feel it’s needed. A month of online therapy often costs less than a single traditional face to face session. Go to and experience seven days of free therapy to see if online counselling is right for you.

Gabe: [00:10:33] So Michelle let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment. that you are not the great Michelle you are not living with schizophrenia openly. You don’t have your own podcast. You don’t have an award-winning clothing line. You’ve never spoken to thousands of people before in your life. You’re just sitting at home living with schizophrenia. You meet a new friend. It’s not romantic in any way. You just meet a new friend a coworker at work and you’re just you’re just hanging out one day.

Gabe: [00:10:58] You’ve known it’s a she and you’ve known each other for like a month and you can tell that you’re all besties. You like the same types of ice creams the same types of movies and you both are annoyed by the same types of politics. So you probably want to share deeper parts of your life with this budding BFF.

Michelle: [00:11:19] That’s true but it’s a co-worker.

Gabe: [00:11:21] That’s an excellent point Michelle. I take that back by co-worker I’m a volunteer co-worker you’re hanging out beautifying the local temple.

Michelle: [00:11:30] You mean I can’t show the WebMD video.

Gabe: [00:11:32] Right because you don’t have any of this.

Michelle: [00:11:34] So if I want to just share just share that I have schizophrenia.

Gabe: [00:11:37] Yeah and remember you’re not you’re not Michelle in this you’re just you’re just a regular person you’ve lived your life you’ve got a great job a nice apartment and you’re volunteering on the weekends for your synagogue and that’s how you met your budding BFF.

Michelle: [00:11:50] I think I would just you know what. I don’t know if I would share it. I don’t really know I think I would wait a longer

Michelle: [00:12:01] Really depends how close we are. This is kind of a hard question to answer. Do I really want to share it. I’d be nervous that they would judge me differently or how just how close is our relationship. If we were super close and I knew there was going to be no judgment whatsoever, I would just share the information because the person knows me for me. If I felt a little uncomfortable, they felt like the person judged other people all the time then I wouldn’t share it at all. I would have to notice how that other person judges other people when they’re around they you know do they gossip a lot do they talk bad about people really have engaged the other person’s personality to really decide if I’m comfortable telling them.

Michelle: [00:12:40] And what if I tell them and then they go and tell tons of other people behind my back in a snarky mean way or are they going to keep my secret in a nice way or if they feel that I should tell more people.

Gabe: [00:12:53] You’ve raised so many excellent points and these are the problems that people in our community have because let’s say like you brought up the co-worker at work and you’re like look I don’t know if I want to risk because I don’t want people at work to find out because I could lose my job which would be my support my money my health insurance and that’s not necessarily worth the risk even for a friend. And many people in our community just feel that way. But let’s move off of that for a moment and touch on what you said about maybe I just wouldn’t tell them. Maybe that’s not something I want them to know.

Gabe: [00:13:24] Isn’t that a bummer. Because there is a part of you a big part of you that you’re afraid to share with somebody and that that’s that that’s got to suck. That I mean I don’t know why I said that’s got to suck. That does suck.

Gabe: [00:13:39] Just when you’re looking at somebody and saying you know I want to be your friend and I like you but I don’t know if I can trust you. But I still want to be your friend. How do you resolve that in your mind? I’m not sure that I can trust you with this thing that’s important to me but I still want to be your friend fully acknowledging that I don’t think I trust you because if I share this part of me you will be mean to me. But I want I still want to be friends with

Michelle: [00:14:02] It’s hard. It’s not it’s not an easy thing but I would have to say just from my experience of talking to people at my pop shop as soon as I say that I have schizophrenia they say to me either they have a mental illness. A friend has a mental illness, or a family member a mental illness.

Michelle: [00:14:22] So if I’d even do share that with this person this theoretical person it’s more likely that they’re going to actually connect with me in some way. I would think.

Gabe: [00:14:31] And that’s what I want to put out for people to understand there is a reason that you want to be friends with somebody and you have to trust that if you bring somebody into your home if you bring somebody into your life and you’re spending time with them and they make you feel good and you like this person you have to ask yourself why do you not want to share this let’s say that it goes well because I’d like to believe that we’re all being friends with people who are good people for us.

Gabe: [00:14:59] They are good friends for us. We made them a friend for a reason. I mean if you’re too afraid to tell them because you think that they’re snarky judgmental or mean or they’re going to tell everybody. You might just want to rethink the friendship.

Michelle: [00:15:09] Good point.

Gabe: [00:15:09] We should throw that right out.

Michelle: [00:15:11] Yeah. Yeah.

Michelle: [00:15:11] If you’re friends with the mean person then don’t be friends with that person.

Gabe: [00:15:14] Yeah. If the person is a dick move on. now. Yeah later.

Gabe: [00:15:19] So now you’ve told the person you’re going to connect on this meaningful level. You sit the person down. We’re gonna say over coffee.

Gabe: [00:15:27] I don’t know why it’s always over coffee it’s probably because you’re from New York so it was coffee or pizza I went for coffee and you say random friend that I met while helping out at the synagogue I live with schizophrenia and that person says to you the only thing that every single person ever says when you tell them that you have a mental illness is. That’s funny. No, you don’t.

Michelle: [00:15:49] Yeah.

Gabe: [00:15:49] Now what do you say.

Michelle: [00:15:51] I would say no I really do take seven medications a day. It’s how I live my life. I have it. You don’t have to believe me I have it.

Gabe: [00:15:59] So what I always say when people think that I’m being funny is I say I completely understand why you think I’m being funny because we have this idea in our head of what people with mental illness look like and I know that I don’t look like that but I really do have bipolar disorder and I’m living quite well. I’m living so well that nobody believes me which is a testament to how well I am doing. And there’s hundreds of thousands of games out there that are just living their life and nobody knows that they’re mentally ill because of course crisis is public and wellness is private.

Michelle: [00:16:30] Exactly. I’ve been with people where they’ve been like they’ve been like. So if you didn’t know that Michelle had schizophrenia would you have been able to guess? And they’d been like no but really what I think when they say no is that they just haven’t spent enough time with me.

Gabe: [00:16:47] I go back and forth on this one Michelle because on one hand you do have a couple of tells you do kind of mumble to yourself you kind of talk to yourself you do some stuff but

Gabe: [00:16:56] I don’t know I don’t know that I would think schizophrenia because again people think that people with schizophrenia are drooling and rocking back and forth they’ve got this very unfortunate stereotype and you are incredibly articulate and you are smart and you are accomplished and achieved so I might just think you were weird. I think I would.

Gabe: [00:17:17] Before I would guess mental illness I would probably just think wow that chick odd. I don’t know. And I’m certain you know unfortunately and this is nothing that our listeners don’t already know. People think that people with schizophrenia are like the most violent of the mentally ill and you have no violence in you. I mean none the most violent I’ve ever seen you is when you couldn’t get like a pack of pretzels open on an airplane. You fought valiantly to do it.

Michelle: [00:17:46] I don’t know why pretzels are so hard to open.

Gabe: [00:17:49] It’s because your hands are so small and you’re weak.

Michelle: [00:17:51] My hands are not even small I have gigantic hands.

Gabe: [00:17:55] That’s true. Man hands.

Michelle: [00:17:57] like man hands. Yes. Exactly.

Gabe: [00:18:00] That’s so mean. You know many people in our community they gripe you know they’re listening to this right now and they’re thinking wait a minute.

Gabe: [00:18:06] So on top of being sick I’m now the appointed spokesperson for whatever illness I have because I have to teach the people all around me about my own illness like they couldn’t just know why couldn’t I get the hiccups. People already the hiccups. I got to be like I have the hiccups. People again understand. But no, I’ve got to pick an illness that when I tell them that I have the illness they’re like what’s that and then I have to teach them that sucks.

Michelle: [00:18:28] Yeah.

Gabe: [00:18:29] But yeah it does suck but that’s where we are right now.

Michelle: [00:18:33] That’s why more and more people need to talk about it so everyone can understand what mental illness really is and what it entails.

Gabe: [00:18:40] That is very true. And if you think about it there’s a lot of illnesses that are this way. It’s not just mental illness.

Gabe: [00:18:48] There are no end to the number of diseases and illnesses and maladies that happen to people. And whenever something medical happens to somebody people have questions. You know my father had to have heart surgery a few years ago. I know what a heart is. And I know what heart surgery is. I had a ton of questions but it was like I have to have heart surgery wait why. What’s your blood pressure what do you do when are they going to use a pig valve. I actually think it turned out to be a cow valve.

Gabe: [00:19:12] Why are we putting cows in my father? And when it gets hot is it gonna smell like hamburger?

Michelle: [00:19:16] Does he milk now?

Gabe: [00:19:17] No.

Gabe: [00:19:22] That would be awesome dad milk but so we do tend to believe people in our community people living with mental illness that the reason that we’re being asked is because of the mental illness and because it’s so stigmatized and discriminated against. But the reality is I think people just have questions about illnesses that they don’t have because they don’t understand and asking these questions is proof that they want to get to know you. It’s proof they want to understand.

Michelle: [00:19:49] That’s true. And sometimes my friends will get annoyed when I go delusional and I look to the side and I start smiling and talking to myself and they go hey hey who are you talking to. Why are you smiling. I was just going on and I’m just like I’m like Oh nothing I don’t want I don’t want to talk about it it’s embarrassing I don’t want to say it like and they get mad because they’re like No. What was so funny what were you thinking about.

Michelle: [00:20:10] Tell me Tell me. But I I don’t want to say because it’s it’s embarrassing that I just got caught talking to myself and then I don’t want to talk about it.

Michelle: [00:20:19] But then people think that I am hiding something from them and they don’t like it.

Michelle: [00:20:24] So I’m kind of stuck in it and I don’t know what to do. Do I tell them the ridiculous thing I was thinking about which really isn’t all that interesting. It just took me out of reality or I mean do I not tell them or do I tell them I don’t even know what what’s is there a right answer there.

Gabe: [00:20:40] No! T actually yes! I stand corrected Michelle. You heard it here first. Gabe Howard was initially wrong. Yes, there is a right answer the right answer is whatever you want it to be because it’s your life and they need to respect your boundaries. I’m not saying be rude to your friends or call them names but you need to let them know you know look when stuff like this happens. This is how I want to handle it.

Gabe: [00:21:04] Still to this very day when I have a really bad panic attack I want to be alone. I don’t want my wife to sit with me and rub my back. I don’t want people to come in and give me a hug and tell me they love me when I have a really bad panic attack. I want to sit in a room and I want to be left alone. And when I’m well and I’m not having a panic attack I set that expectation among all of my family. Other people are different. I talk to other people. Like when I have a panic attack my wife brings me water and she hugged me and she loves me and I’m like Hey that’s fantastic.

Gabe: [00:21:32] That’s not what I want until of course it is because sometimes I do want that. So you know people are welcome to change their minds. You don’t have to share your delusions with your friends if you don’t want to but you do need to tell them what’s going on.

Gabe: [00:21:48] You can’t just shut them out or they’re not going to want to hang out with you because they’re going to be like we don’t know what’s going on with her.

Michelle: [00:21:54] I get that but that’s not really an instrument question.

Gabe: [00:21:56] There is no wrong way to eat a Reese’s and you should educate the people around you about what makes you happy and what you need.

Gabe: [00:22:05] But is there a right way or is there a wrong way?

Gabe: [00:22:08] The only right way is what works for you and what works for your group of friends. Because if they’re unwilling to do that maybe they’re not the right friend group. And I think that if we’re honest with our friends if we’re honest with our family and we explain why we need this and how this is beneficial and what’s going on and why it’s important I think that reasonable people will be supportive of what we need. I think that we have a tendency as as traumatized people living with a really shitty illness to kind of scream demands at people and nobody responds to that screaming leave me alone I’m depressed. That doesn’t make people want to leave you alone. That means people want to scream back.

Michelle: [00:22:48] That makes people want to help you because they think you’re going through a really rough time right.

Gabe: [00:22:53] They don’t know when they can trust you and when they can’t they don’t know when to step in or when to give you space. And that’s why communication is so important. And that’s how come when you want to be BFF’s with somebody should probably tell them about your illness or not.

Michelle: [00:23:07] I mean I had best friends that already knew I was schizophrenic before I found out I was schizophrenic.

Gabe: [00:23:12] I think everybody knew you were schizophrenic. I think like you’re on your birth certificate it’s schizophrenic Michelle Hamer.

Michelle: [00:23:19] I don’t think so.

Gabe: [00:23:20] in NYC that’s how you got the domain.

Michelle: [00:23:22] Know I seriously I told them and they were like. Yeah. That couldn’t have been more obvious. They seriously is that that to me. They’re like yeah yeah. Like there’s nothing more obvious you could have said to us right now. We thought that’s what you had the whole time. And then when my friends they’re like Yeah we even told you that I was like you did and they’d be like Do you remember us like yelling like Who are you talking to all the time.

Michelle: [00:23:45] And I was like Well sometimes I was on the phone. They’re like Well how many times were you not on the phone. I was like I was just working things out just just so just working situations out and then you know you were talking to somebody that wasn’t there and I was like well I guess that would have been a big red flag I guess.

Gabe: [00:24:05] Yeah maybe a giant red flag.

Michelle: [00:24:06] I guess that was a big red flag and I guess I should have known that sooner right. Yes. OK. Maybe it was more obvious than I thought it was.

Gabe: [00:24:16] Listen how defensive that you were. And this does make it harder to work with our friends and family because our friends and family have spotted that something’s going on and you’re like No it’s not. You’re being mean to me. You’re defending yourself you’ve got your back raised and you’re like ready to fight and all they’re trying to do is help you. And in many cases as we know this devolves into just hurt feelings arguments and nobody getting along. Now I know you know people are going to say hey listen really you want the sick person to be the reasonable one in the room.

Gabe: [00:24:46] Yeah it’s rough. It’s hard to advocate for yourself because you’re both sick the expert and you’ve got to like teach everybody and be an advocate it’s real big pain in the ass.

Gabe: [00:24:56] But this is what we’re left with. So you know tell your family hey you know I’m going through a lot.

Gabe: [00:25:02] Maybe you could chill maybe you could forgive me for the times that I was defensive and angry as you pointed out I was sick maybe cut me some slack.

Gabe: [00:25:10] And I think that sometimes this works. This is how I made up with my family. I was like Yeah I know a lot of shitty things got said but as you pointed out I was sick and they’re like that’s a good point. We did know you were sick and they were stressed out too come to think of it’s all their fault.

Gabe: [00:25:25] Yeah yeah yeah yeah. the takeaway.

Michelle: [00:25:28] Our family’s messed up. Yes yes.

Michelle: [00:25:30] Yes yes yes yes. Our families made us mentally ill.

Gabe: [00:25:34] No that is like one of those myths that just will not end.

Michelle: [00:25:38] Nature versus nurture.

Gabe: [00:25:42] Michelle it is always great hanging out with you. Listen if you’ve got somebody to tell rip the Band-Aid off that is the best advice that Gabe Howard has for you. I think that Michelle will agree.

Michelle: [00:25:51] I do agree. Just be confident in who you are and if you’re going to tell somebody be proud of yourself don’t put yourself down. And if you are the more confident you are the more the person will accept you.

Gabe: [00:26:05] That’s true and the more they’ll understand and remember if somebody asks a lot of questions or they’re scared it shows how much they care about you that often gets misread as anger distrust and it makes people defensive. Don’t. People should be curious about what’s going on because chances are they don’t understand. And if you’re honest with yourself when you were first diagnosed you had a lot of questions too and you didn’t understand either.

Gabe: [00:26:31] Thank you everybody for tuning into this episode of a bipolar, a schizophrenic and a podcast. Remember you can go to and grab the define normal shirt. It’s literally the best shirt that we sell. So please go ahead and grab it over it Go to stitcher, Google play, or Spotify. Leave us all a whole mess of stars and write a review it really helps. Finally share us on social media comment on Psych and make us famous.

Gabe: [00:27:00] We’ll see everybody next week.

Michelle: [00:27:02] Be Brave!

Narrator: [00:27:11] You’ve been listening to a bipolar a schizophrenic kind of podcast. If you love this episode don’t keep it to yourself head over to iTunes or your preferred podcast app to subscribe rate and review to work with Gabe go to To work with Michelle go to Schizophrenic.NYC. For free mental health resources and online support groups. Head over to Show’s official Web site you can e-mail us at [email protected]. Thank you for listening and share widely.

Meet Your Bipolar and Schizophrenic Hosts

GABE HOWARD was formally diagnosed with bipolar and anxiety disorders after being committed to a psychiatric hospital in 2003. Now in recovery, Gabe is a prominent mental health activist and host of the award-winning Psych Central Show podcast. He is also an award-winning writer and speaker, traveling nationally to share the humorous, yet educational, story of his bipolar life. To work with Gabe, visit HAMMER was officially diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 22, but incorrectly diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 18. Michelle is an award-winning mental health advocate who has been featured in press all over the world. In May 2015, Michelle founded the company Schizophrenic.NYC, a mental health clothing line, with the mission of reducing stigma by starting conversations about mental health. She is a firm believer that confidence can get you anywhere. To work with Michelle, visit Schizophrenic.NYC.Podcast: How to Tell Friends and Love Interests About Mental Illness

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Podcast: A Bipolar and a Schizophrenic Discuss Feelings of Loneliness

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While depression is a common mental health issue, it’s not even close to being the most common. Listen in to hear our hosts discuss how loneliness can make a person feel unwanted and uncared for – even if they are standing in a crowded room.


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“People think you can’t be lonely if you have people in your vicinity.”
– Gabe Howard

Highlights From ‘loneliness’ Episode

[0:30] Loneliness kills more people than depression.

[3:30] Michelle explains loneliness she has experienced.

[5:20] Gabe explains loneliness he has experienced.

[8:00] We always bring up our moms – so why stop now?

[16:30] What can help people feel less lonely?

Computer Generated Transcript for ‘A Bipolar and a Schizophrenic Discuss Feelings of Loneliness’ Show

Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript has been computer generated and therefore may contain inaccuracies and grammar errors. Thank you.

Narrator: [00:00:05] For reasons that utterly escapes Everyone involved. You’re listening to A Bipolar, A Schizophrenic and A Podcast. Here are your hosts, Gabe Howard and Michelle Hammer. Thank you for tuning into A Bipolar, A Schizophrenic and A Podcast.

Gabe: [00:00:08] Hello everybody and welcome to a Bipolar, a Schizophrenic and a Podcast!

Gabe: [00:00:21] My name is Gabe and I live with bipolar disorder.

Michelle: [00:00:24] My name is Michelle. I live with schizophrenia.

Gabe: [00:00:27] And today we are going to talk about loneliness. It seems to be everywhere right now because there were some landmark study done that said that loneliness kills more people than depression and heart disease. And I’m brutalizing it you know. Please go look up the study it’s available to find but it turns out that loneliness is actually a health condition.

Michelle: [00:00:50] I don’t understand. Would you say that if you’re depressed your lonely or lonely, you’re depressed?

Gabe: [00:00:55] We’re not going to devolve into explaining the study the Psych Central Show podcast which I am the host already did that. So there’s no reason to kind of you know just repeat the episode we’ll put the link in the show notes for this podcast. But there’s all kinds of different types of loneliness. And one of the reasons that we wanted to talk about it is because people with mental illness often feel lonely and people fire back immediately. Well you’re not lonely your parents love you or you’re not lonely you have all these friends or you’re not lonely you have a rich life you go to Starbucks every day and get coffee and they always say hi. And there’s this idea that the only thing you need to combat loneliness is another breathing human being in the vicinity and nothing could be further from the truth.

Michelle: [00:01:42] To me loneliness is just really really frustrating. You want to like go somewhere if you want to go to the bar but you don’t have a friend to go with there you want to go to the museum but you don’t have anyone to go with you kind of just feel alone. You have no one to do any of your things with. That’s what loneliness kind of feels like to me, when you have no-one to share any of your joy with, you’re just alone.

Gabe: [00:02:07] And that is kind of a better way to define it. Once again somebody can say to you “Oh Michelle you’re not lonely Gabe’s your friend,” but the way you described it is that you want somebody to share your joy with. You know we’re business partners we share our podcast we discuss business things etc. But I’m not your romantic partner I’m not your BFF, and I’m never gonna go to a museum with you.

Gabe: [00:02:32] The only joy that you share with me is work related it’s business related. I’m not saying that I’m not happy when you have personal dreams come true. I’m not a jerk but that’s not what you mean by sharing. And that’s what people misunderstand. They think that anybody who has a job can’t be lonely because after all you have all your co-workers.

Michelle: [00:02:53] Yeah because co-workers are such great friends all the time right.

Gabe: [00:02:56] Well exactly. Exactly. Again people think that you can’t be lonely if there are other humans in your vicinity. So the only people that can be lonely are people that are in the middle of a field a thousand miles away from everything. So you know that character that Tom Hanks played in Castaway.

Michelle: [00:03:12] Yeah.

Gabe: [00:03:12] That guy’s allowed to be lonely.

Michelle: [00:03:13] That just makes no sense to me because you can be in a room full of people and still feel alone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a room of tons and tons of people. Yet I felt nobody understood me. Nobody here wants to talk to me. If I even try to go up to someone, they are just going to shut me out of the conversation. I was too nervous or anxious or I was just too in my head or I was just too paranoid. But I felt alone and it didn’t matter if anyone maybe even said “Hi.” I thought maybe they were just saying hi because they felt bad for me. So being with people that’s not really what loneliness could always look like or being completely like the dude in Castaway.

Michelle: [00:03:59] Even though he had a friend that was a volleyball.

Gabe: [00:04:01] Well and that’s why he created the friend that was a volleyball because he felt lonely and he wanted somebody to talk to and he created this this thing and that’s how he combated loneliness because he would tell Wilson everything. And as you saw as the movie went on him as a great movie. What 15 years ago were totally aging ourselves out but at one point I *spoiler alert* he gets off the island. But in the process of getting off the island he loses Wilson.

Michelle: [00:04:29] I know how i it’s devastating exactly.

Gabe: [00:04:32] Even though Wilson wasn’t real this meant something to him because it’s it was a representation of somebody else that he could share his life with.

Michelle: [00:04:40] Yeah basically Wilson dies.

Gabe: [00:04:43] Yeah. And that’s how he felt about it. He was screaming and yelling and his beardedness.

Michelle: [00:04:47] We’re getting really passionate about castaway right now.

Gabe: [00:04:49] I really miss Wilson.

Michelle: [00:04:50] I know Wilson should have come back. He should have been a new Wilson.

Gabe: [00:04:54] Everybody deserves a friend like Wilson. He just listens. He sits there he understands.

Gabe: [00:05:00] You know some people have said though that like Wilson jumped. Wilson’s like you know you never ask me about my day.

Gabe: [00:05:14] A long time ago when I first started writing my book that may or may not ever get done I wanted to call it alone in a crowded room and several of my friends and family members were like that is the dumbest fucking name we’ve ever heard. Because you can’t be alone in a crowded room.

Michelle: [00:05:27] They’re their wrong.

Gabe: [00:05:28] They’re completely wrong.

Michelle: [00:05:29] 100 percent wrong now and so wrong unbelievably wrong.

Gabe: [00:05:33] And I tried to explain to them Do you have any idea what it’s like to be the only person with mental illness in our family.

Gabe: [00:05:43] It’s devastatingly lonely.

Gabe: [00:05:46] It’s awful to this day to this day every Christmas or Thanksgiving whichever one is the turn with the spouse. I sit in a room of my entire family and I look out at all of them and I think I have something that none of you do and you know they’re good people.

Gabe: [00:06:06] I love my family. They’re not bad. They try to understand but they don’t. And I think people can maybe can understand it better this way. Imagine if my entire friend group were women who had children. And I’m a man that has no children. So I’d never been pregnant and I’d never been a parent. It’s not that they’re not good people.

Gabe: [00:06:28] It’s not that we don’t share things. It’s just that part of their bond is this pregnancy part of their bond is motherhood. And here I am childless and not pregnant. So I can never connect with them on that level. No people are like Well but that’s cool because you have things in your life that you know maybe they envy like you know not having periods or something I don’t know.

Gabe: [00:06:48] The analogy is falling apart relatively quickly.

Michelle: [00:06:51] Yea I know you just pee anywhere.

Gabe: [00:06:53] Yeah. I mean that’s that’s a real benefit to manhood. I completely agree.

Michelle: [00:06:58] Yeah. You don’t understand gave it really is I.

Gabe: [00:07:02] Listen I’m not debating.

Michelle: [00:07:03] You don’t understand. You don’t understand. You can pee anywhere you want to pee.

Gabe: [00:07:08] I I’m I’m on board. It’s wonderful it’s fantastic.

Gabe: [00:07:14] But what I’m saying is when I look out at my family they don’t know they they’ve never experienced major depression. They’ve never experience psychosis. They’ve never been in a psychiatric ward. They’ve never had their life reduced to an illness they’ve never seen it.

Michelle: [00:07:32] I don’t understand why you feel so different. Same thing happens to me like go to family things.

Gabe: [00:07:37] Exactly. And that’s why we’re friends and that’s why our friendship combats loneliness.

Michelle: [00:07:42] I don’t really think it’s that big a deal.

Gabe: [00:07:45] Let’s touch on that for a moment because you’ve said to me numerous times and on this podcast as longtime listeners know that your mother doesn’t understand you well why not. I’m serious. Why not. She has known you your entire life. She gave birth to you. She is also a middle-class Jewish woman just as you are. So why do you think she doesn’t understand you.

Michelle: [00:08:07] My goodness did she send you an email.

Gabe: [00:08:11] She gave me 50 bucks. I’m just kidding. No she didn’t.

Michelle: [00:08:15] $100.

Gabe: [00:08:16] She gave me $100. Yeah. Yeah. The first offer was 50. But I Blanched it up.

Gabe: [00:08:24] No I I’m serious. This isn’t the pick on your mom. I feel the same way about my mother. Let’s reverse it on me.

Gabe: [00:08:29] I have said that my mother doesn’t understand me. I actually wrote an article once that sort of bothered my mother she said that I quote threw her under the bus and the title of the article was my mother doesn’t understand what it’s like to live with bipolar disorder.

Gabe: [00:08:42] I wasn’t trying to be mean. She doesn’t she doesn’t understand and that sucks. I wish that she did because I feel that that would let her be closer to me which would mean that I was closer to her. And I think if you thought about it you would realize that your parents do not understand what it’s like to live with schizophrenia.

Gabe: [00:09:02] There’s a barrier, there just is.

Michelle: [00:09:05] Recently I visited our good friend Anne-Marie Otis and she has a ton of kids1w and her youngest child is bipolar. And I realized when I was there is that Anne-Marie knows about mental health. She knows that her child is bipolar. She you know, has him on medication if anything goes wrong with anything. She’s always there for him you know. She knows things are rough. She’s getting him the help that he needs she understands how to treat him what to say to him. She’s educated on the topic. I grew up with schizophrenia. My mom had no idea that I had schizophrenia. She didn’t know how to handle a girl with schizophrenia. She was never educated on the topic because I was not medicated for anything, she had no idea it existed. So, if we had both known that was the issue if I was medicated if we were both educated on how to treat a person with schizophrenia if she knew the right way to treat a child going through those issues I think we would have a better relationship today. And I think it is unfortunate that we did not know the problem way back when because we didn’t know the exact issue so we weren’t educated. My mother wasn’t educated and how to bring up a child with schizophrenia that is my answer to your question.

Gabe: [00:10:26] So that made you feel pretty lonely right.

Michelle: [00:10:28] I guess so.

Gabe: [00:10:29] I would like to point out we love Anne-Marie on the show you should check her out at stupiddumbbreastcancer she is a breast cancer advocate. Her son does live with bipolar disorder and he is a complete badass. We want to give him a shout out as well. He will join our ranks no doubt when he turns 18. Probably start his own podcast and Michelle and I will get cancelled because his will be better but I would also like to point out that that is an excellent point that you made but Anne-Marie lives with depression so she does understand mental illness.

Michelle: [00:10:57] I said Anne-Marie understands mental illness.

Gabe: [00:10:58] Right.

Gabe: [00:10:59] So my family and your family have no mental health problems. I mean they’re crazy but they have no mental health problems. And it does make me feel lonely because of all the reasons that you just said I completely agree with everything that you said 100%.

Gabe: [00:11:17] I would have a better relationship with my parents if they understood mental illness. If I got diagnosed younger and if I didn’t go through so much trauma. We have built up from the ground up as adults after like I don’t know my 13th divorce.

Gabe: [00:11:32] But why do we have to do that?

Gabe: [00:11:33] You know who has a great relationship with my parents?

Michelle: [00:11:37] Who?

Gabe: [00:11:37] My sister, and you know why my sister has a great relationship with my parents.

Michelle: [00:11:42] Why?

Gabe: [00:11:43] Because she’s a woman who is cheap and clips coupons and is a mother like my mom and she’s a stubborn bad-ass like my father. So they basically on the third try. Got the right kid. And they’re like super close because they’re basically all three carbon copies of one another.

Gabe: [00:12:03] And then there’s me, the gigantic redheaded stepchild.

Gabe: [00:12:10] I do. I feel lonely and that is what I think people a lot of people with mental illness. I think they feel lonely and their families get really really upset. They do. They’re like Well I don’t know why you’re lonely your father and I are always there for you. I don’t know why you’re lonely. I’m always there for you. We talk to tons of people that live with mental illness and their families are always really really defensive about the idea that they can be lonely because they’re like Well we always come when you call. That’s not what loneliness is. It’s not about you coming when I call.

Gabe: [00:12:45] It’s about you understanding me. Don’t you often feel misunderstood Michelle?

Michelle: [00:12:52] Yeah definitely.

Gabe: [00:12:53] I always feel misunderstood. I don’t feel like my wife understands me and she’s my wife and she’s trying so hard.

Gabe: [00:13:01] So hard. She’s taken every class read every book listen to every podcast read every article. I think that in her brain exists like if ever breaks my wife could recreate it from scratch.

Gabe: [00:13:17] But you know what she’s never been mentally ill. There is a big difference between somebody describing the Sistine Chapel to you and standing in the Sistine Chapel.

Michelle: [00:13:31] We’ll be right back after these messages.

Narrator: [00:13:34] This episode is sponsored by secure convenient and affordable online counseling. All counselors are licensed accredited professionals. Anything you share is confidential. Schedule secure video or phone sessions plus chat and text with your therapist whenever you feel it’s needed. A month of online therapy often costs less than a single traditional face to face session. Go to and experience seven days of free therapy to see if online counseling is right for you.

Michelle: [00:14:05] And we are back talking about loneliness.

Gabe: [00:14:08] The best thing we can do to a lot of our friends and family is describe what it’s like to be bipolar and schizophrenic.

Gabe: [00:14:14] There’s really no way to let them live in our head for a day and I think that’s why there’s so much bullshit in the world about you don’t need antidepressants. Go for a walk in the woods well you’re lonely because you don’t come to more family functions. Well why don’t you join a book club if you’re lonely.

Gabe: [00:14:31] Oh my God. I just came up with an idea.

Michelle: [00:14:34] A book club in the woods!

Gabe: [00:14:35] No. Now I’ve come up with two ideas. A book club in the woods! Thank you, Michelle. Number two a book club for mentally ill people! Oh my God. I’ve just invented support groups.

Michelle: [00:14:48] Book club support groups.

Gabe: [00:14:51] Oh my God! Book club support groups. But let’s not read the book.

Michelle: [00:14:53] I don’t want to read a book.

Gabe: [00:14:54] I don’t want to read a book either.

Gabe: [00:14:55] Let’s start a book club for mentally ill people where we get together and we share our issues we learn from each other.

Michelle: [00:15:03] That’s called that’s called group therapy.

Gabe: [00:15:05] I really think we’ve just invented therapy. We did it like we invented support groups. A Bipolar, A Schizophrenic, and A Podcast is on the front lines of support groups. We did this.

Michelle: [00:15:17] Are you lonely? Are you sad?

Gabe: [00:15:20] You don’t have to be lonely at Remember the dating site for mentally ill people?

Michelle: [00:15:27] I think I’m still on it and every once in a while, I get an email.

Gabe: [00:15:31] However the date’s gone.

Michelle: [00:15:32] I haven’t replied to a single one.

Gabe: [00:15:34] Really.

Michelle: [00:15:34] I haven’t even logged in. I forgot my username and password.

Gabe: [00:15:37] I remember when we did that episode I logged in and there was a couple of people that suffer from agoraphobia. And I was like listen this going to work. Also it’s really not a good place for people with obsessive compulsive disorder, because like all of the things don’t match perfectly. Like some people wrote two paragraphs some people were one paragraph that’s not okay. How you’re gonna line that up I’m just saying.

Michelle: [00:16:03] I mean it was very weirder that I got the message from the guy that owned it.

Gabe: [00:16:06] I think he still wants to date you.

Michelle: [00:16:08] He wants to be on this show.

Gabe: [00:16:11] If we ever have guests on the show, I think there are several people who might be contenders.

Michelle: [00:16:16] Peppy?

Gabe: [00:16:18] For those that don’t know Peppy is my dog that Michelle is enamored with because she’s never seen a schnauzer before.

Michelle: [00:16:25] He woke me up this morning.

Gabe: [00:16:27] You left your door open.

Michelle: [00:16:29] He jumped on my bladder.

Gabe: [00:16:31] You left your bladder open.

Gabe: [00:16:35] We’ve talked about loneliness and of course we’ve talked about a volleyball that came to life for 20 years ago Tom Hanks.

Gabe: [00:16:42] But a lot of people in our community feel lonely. What some practical advice that we can give them to help kind of get out of the funk.

Michelle: [00:16:50] We can realize that loneliness is just more a feeling and it’s not really a fact.

Michelle: [00:16:56] You’re not going to be lonely for the rest of your life.

Gabe: [00:16:58] And it’s so much like a lot of the other things that we feel you know living with mental illness you know depression isn’t a fact either it’s a feeling. Mania isn’t a fact either it’s a feeling. You know paranoia isn’t a fact either it’s a feeling. And we have to try to find ways to use our brains to kind of escape that.

Michelle: [00:17:17] Yeah, another good idea would be to put your attention into something else you could just ask people if they need help or you can try to volunteer with something.

Gabe: [00:17:27] Joining groups is also I think a good idea.

Michelle: [00:17:29] Yeah.

Gabe: [00:17:29] I don’t know it’s sort of counterintuitive. It’s like when people say so when I’m lonely the solution to loneliness is to go out with people and not feel lonely. It’s not a bit like saying when I’m depressed. The solution is to not be depressed. Listen kind of. I mean I understand how that kind of sounds but Michelle is dead on.

Gabe: [00:17:47] I mean if you’re sitting at home feeling lonely go find some people in whatever way is meaningful to you.

Michelle: [00:17:54] Yes something I always did was join sports teams. That’s how I got out of.

Gabe: [00:17:58] You don’t say.

Michelle: [00:17:59] Yeah.

Gabe: [00:18:01] And one of the things that I do is every morning I get up and I go get a soda at the local fast food place. I don’t even eat the food but I just kind of sit there and people watch and I see a lot of amazing people.

Gabe: [00:18:14] And it’s just I don’t know something about connecting with them even though I’m kind of sitting in the corner and I know everybody’s got their like wait there’s a mentally ill man in the corner watching families come in and get their food. But seriously I just I sit there with my phone I drink and I watch.

Michelle: [00:18:28] Which brings me to the next point of go run an errand and make a point to be nice to people wish them a good day hold doors show kindness which is something that you do because everywhere we go you have a full conversation with everybody. It’s like everywhere we go they know you already, and they know you’re going to get a pretzel or they know you’re going to get a Diet Coke. You know everyone.

Gabe: [00:18:57] I mean yes. And the reason is because to ward off loneliness and to find meaning in my life, I really do spend a lot of time. I am that guy in line that turns around and asks you how your day is.

Michelle: [00:19:09] Yes. And stranger danger.

Gabe: [00:19:11] No it’s not stranger danger if you don’t want to talk, I don’t press. I mean I’m not an asshole about it but I say hello. I say hi. I ask people how their days are. It makes me feel better. And you know I could be like curmudgeonly about it because almost nobody asks me how I am. But I ask like 20 people a day how they are. But I don’t care because I get to kind of connect with them just for a moment. And it does make my life more meaningful.

Michelle: [00:19:35] It does actually do well. I would say because when I worked retail and I was a cashier when I would say Hi how are you and they would say I’m good how are you doing. It always made me feel better because not every customer would say How are you doing. They would say, I would say How are you. And they’d be like fine in a rude way. Okay great. You’re just rude. That’s not nice.

Gabe: [00:19:54] It is nice to connect with people. And I think that again people build things up in their mind. They think that a connection has to be like Uber meaning for you know it has to you have to meet your future spouse or meet your new best friend. But you know connection can come in little couple of second bites. You can say hey and the person can say hey you can say I like your hat. Well I like your hat too. I hope you have a good day. You too. And that whole thing took like what five seconds but I’m telling you it’ll put a little extra spring in your step.

Michelle: [00:20:24] Absolutely 100% agree with that statement.

Gabe: [00:20:27] Wow. I think it’s the first time in the history of man that Michelle is 100% agreed with anything that I have ever said. Could this be the start of something new for Gabe and Michelle.

Michelle: [00:20:36] Yeah, we’re gonna get married.

Gabe: [00:20:37] No no no. But tune in next week to find out.

Gabe: [00:20:43] We don’t have a lot for you to do but we do have a couple of things one rate and review us on iTunes Google Play Stitcher or Spotify.

Gabe: [00:20:51] Go on to social media until all of your friends about us don’t make us the best-kept secret in the world. And finally, you can head on over to store. It’s and buy the Define Normal shirt. It helps support the show and of course, it starts many conversations. So, you won’t be lonely. We’ll see everybody next week on a bipolar schizophrenic and a podcast.

Michelle: [00:21:12] Wilson! Wilson! No Wilson!

Narrator: [00:21:17] You’ve been listening to a bipolar a schizophrenic kind of podcast. If you love this episode don’t keep it to yourself head over to iTunes or your preferred podcast app to subscribe rate and review to work with Gabe go to To work with Michelle go to Schizophrenic.NYC. For free mental health resources and online support groups. Head over to Show’s official Web site you can e-mail us at [email protected]. Thank you for listening and share widely.

Meet Your Bipolar and Schizophrenic Hosts

GABE HOWARD was formally diagnosed with bipolar and anxiety disorders after being committed to a psychiatric hospital in 2003. Now in recovery, Gabe is a prominent mental health activist and host of the award-winning Psych Central Show podcast. He is also an award-winning writer and speaker, traveling nationally to share the humorous, yet educational, story of his bipolar life. To work with Gabe, visit HAMMER was officially diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 22, but incorrectly diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 18. Michelle is an award-winning mental health advocate who has been featured in press all over the world. In May 2015, Michelle founded the company Schizophrenic.NYC, a mental health clothing line, with the mission of reducing stigma by starting conversations about mental health. She is a firm believer that confidence can get you anywhere. To work with Michelle, visit Schizophrenic.NYC.Podcast: A Bipolar and a Schizophrenic Discuss Feelings of Loneliness

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