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 betterhelp.com 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 betterhelp.com/PsychCentral and experience seven days of free therapy to see if online counselling is right for you. Betterhelp.com/PsychCentral.

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 GabeHoward.com. To work with Michelle go to Schizophrenic.NYC. For free mental health resources and online support groups. Head over to PsychCentral.com Show’s official Web site PsychCentrald.com/bsp 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 gabehoward.com.


MICHELLE 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.

Read more: psychcentral.com