Not getting enough sleep impacts every single person. It makes us irritable, slows our reflexes, and reduces our ability to think and reason. When a person is sick or suffering from an illness, getting more sleep is beneficial to the healing process.
Mental Illness is no different. You will benefit from regular sleep. In today’s episode, we talk about sleep hygiene – what it is and why it is important. Trust us, if anyone can make a discussion about sleep engaging, it’s Gabe and Michelle. Listen Now.
“When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re a crabby ass. If you’re mentally ill and don’t get enough sleep, you’re a crazy crabby ass.”
– Gabe Howard
Highlights From ‘Sleeping Mental Illness’ Episode
[0:30] Let’s talk about sleep hygiene.
[3:00] Good sleep, bad sleep, and more sleep.
[9:15] Sleeping and waking up with psych meds.
[13:00] Kanye West makes an appearance. . .oy vey.
[17:00] Resetting your sleep cycle.
[19:00] Should you tell your doc if you are having trouble sleeping?
[21:00] The dangers of book lights.
Computer Generated Transcript for ‘Sleeping 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.
Announcer: For reasons that utterly escape everyone involved, you’re listening to A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast. Here are your hosts, Gabe Howard and Michelle Hammer.
Gabe: Welcome to this episode of A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast. My name is Gabe and I have bipolar.
Michelle: Hi, I’m Michelle and I’m schizophrenic.
Gabe: And today we are going to talk about.
Michelle: Sleep hygiene.
Gabe: You couldn’t even say it exciting.
Michelle: Well, I mean, I like sleeping. Hygiene is something I struggle with, but together they form a thing. What is it Gabe?
Gabe: The rituals, behaviors, and norms that you follow around sleep. And they are referred to as, hey shocker, “sleep hygiene.” Regularly pulling all nighters, or sleeping in on the weekends so that you can make up for lost sleep, are both examples of poor sleep hygiene. Conversely, following a regular sleep schedule and avoiding things like caffeine, staying up all night, and bingeing on Netflix are good sleep hygiene practices. Listen, don’t beat yourself oup if you don’t practice perfect sleep hygiene. Even I don’t practice perfect sleep hygiene.
Michelle: Damn right you don’t. Because we stay up all night watching “The People’s Court.”
Gabe: That is an example of poor sleep hygiene. You hate sleep hygiene. You and I have been doing this a while now and we get asked different things that lead to or where the answer is sleep hygiene, and every time I say, “Look, you’ve got to pay attention to your sleep,” you literally look at me and roll your eyes. Why is the concept of sleep hygiene bother you so much?
Michelle: I don’t know why it bothers me so much. It’s just the question of you should really get sleep, because sleep is important, and if you don’t get enough sleep you won’t feel good in the morning, and then you might have a bad day. So sleep hygiene really is important. Case closed.
Gabe: I wish it was called, like, if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll be a crabby ass and if you’re mentally ill and you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll be a crazy crabby ass. Like wouldn’t that be cool? Now you’re getting into it. If the name explained how sleep makes you not a crazy crabby ass.
Michelle: Well then, you need more sleep, Gabe.
Gabe: Oh my God. I would call it get enough sleep so you’re not an asshole.
Michelle: Yeah? Get enough sleep because you’re not an asshole? That’s your next book Gabe.
Gabe: All of my books are just gonna have “asshole” in the title. And like when we get really big and famous you know my book is gonna be called?
Gabe: I worked with an asshole.
Michelle: I worked with an asshole?
Gabe: We should get shirts that say I’m with asshole and it points to the left and yours points to the right and then we’ll just walk down the street together.
Michelle: No, we don’t want to do that. I’ll walk on one side and you walk on the other side of the avenue view so everybody can think that we’re talking about everybody else.
Gabe: That’s right because we are a unit, and we would never call each other assholes in public.
Michelle: That’s right. I would never insult you, Gabe. Never. I never ever insulted you. I’ve never said anything mean about you.
Gabe: You know it’s being recorded right?
Michelle: Oh? There’s proof of that?
Gabe: There’s so much proof now.
Michelle: Oh no. What’s going on? Are people catching me in my lies? Maybe I told in my sleep. Do I need more sleep? Maybe I didn’t get my sleep hygiene enough? Oh no.
Gabe: All sleep hygiene is, is paying attention to your sleep and doing the things that allow you to sleep well so that you wake up refreshed. Going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. How we sleep is very important. Like for example, do you get in bed and toss and turn all night? That would be an example of poor sleep. Good sleep is if you stay relatively set and there’s things that you can do that contribute to good sleep hygiene. Like, only use your bed for sleep and sex. Other people use their beds for everything. Like for example, Michelle, your bed is basically the corporate offices of A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast.
Michelle: I live in New York City. Where am I supposed to put a desk?
Gabe: You have a living room.
Michelle: Where am I going to fit a desk in my living room?
Gabe: You could put the desk in your bedroom.
Michelle: Where the hell will a desk fit in my bedroom?
Gabe: There is enough room for a desk.
Michelle: No there is not. You obviously have never been to my apartment.
Gabe: That’s not true. We taped an episode there.
Michelle: I have three people in a two bedroom, Gabe.
Gabe: All right I’ll give you that. I’ll give you that.
Michelle: There is no room for it.
Gabe: These are the struggles that people have then, right? What you’re saying is, “Look, I need to do things in my bed. This is important to me because I just don’t have a lot of space so I have my laptop. I sit in bed and I do things like record my show, do my writing, run my business. You do an amazing number of things in your bed.
Michelle: You don’t even know my bed, Gabe. Not my bed. It has seen things you wouldn’t even believe.
Gabe: That is not a sex joke. I’ve seen you prepare orders on your bed. You know, your T-shirt business and your clothing line and your leggings and all of that stuff. You know you get big orders and you’ve got packaging material, labelling, and everything all on your bed. You got like tape.
Michelle: But that’s not usually on my bed. I don’t want people thinking that I’m like putting stuff on my bed like that. I make like you know layouts and stuff but I usually do it in my living room.
Gabe: The point I’m making is that your bed is a flat surface in a place where a flat surface is at a premium so you can see why. But can you see why doing all of those things in your bed can create this idea in your body that when you were in your bed it’s not time to sleep? When you climb into bed, your body doesn’t know if you’re working on the next great project. Or if you’re trying to sleep. It kind of confuses you on a subconscious level a little bit. And that’s why the idea of just using your bed for sleep is good for sleep hygiene. For me in my house when I get into bed there’s nothing else to do there.
Michelle: You have an office and a desk, Gabe.
Gabe: Listen, you’re coming up with a lot of reasons that you can’t do it. But the bottom line is if you are having trouble sleeping.
Michelle: I’m not having trouble sleeping.
Gabe: Ok. In this case you don’t need to practice some of these sleep hygiene levels but there’s many people who do.
Michelle: That’s true. What about? Do you remember that time I was like I’m going to get back out of bed at 10:00 every day? And you’re like lie!
Michelle: Isn’t that kind of go sleep hygiene of sleeping far too late?
Gabe: So not getting enough sleep is poor sleep hygiene, and getting too much sleep is also poor sleep hygiene. It’s getting the right amount of sleep and the next thing that I want to talk about is this magical eight hours. No, this is bullshit. It’s bullshit. It’s an average. The average person needs eight hours of sleep. When was the last time people with mental illness were ever considered the average person? So people are beating themselves up if they need too much sleep or if they’re not sleeping enough based on some number that they read on the Internet.
Gabe: You can see where this would be. It’s like I slept 10 hours and I woke up feeling refreshed but I’m so lazy I slept two hours too long. If that’s the amount of sleep that you need that’s the amount of sleep that you need. And the reverse is also true. Well I only slept six hours I’m not getting enough sleep. Well do you wake up refreshed? Do you get tired throughout the day? Do you have enough energy? Then six hours is enough. You need sleep to survive.
Michelle: Yes. Agreed. Yeah.
Gabe: Yeah. You need sleep.
Michelle: Right. We are not robots right. But if we were robots, maybe we’d need a plug?
Gabe: Yeah. We don’t have plugs we’re not Priuses.
Michelle: Oh we’re not?
Gabe: We’re not. We’re not a Nissan Volt. I’m not a car. We’re not a Tesla.
Gabe: Well, maybe if you run like jump on my back I can carry on and I’ll be a car.
Gabe: There are so many reasons you’re not a Tesla. You’re not high quality.
Gabe: Nobody wants you.
Gabe: And you don’t run right.
Michelle: I had a Hyundai.
Gabe: Yeah? I can see you as a Hyundai.
Michelle: Hey, shut up.
Gabe: Hyundai’s are pretty, but they’re not very reliable, are you?
Michelle: Not very reliable? Well, I had 2002 before they got pretty.
Gabe: Oh, so you’re an ugly Hyundai?
Michelle: I’m an ugly Hyundai, yes. One time it got hit by a preacher.
Gabe: What? You actually had your car hit by God?
Michelle: I’m pretty tired. Let’s hear from our sponsor.
Announcer: 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: We’re back talking sleep hygiene. Michelle’s favorite subject. If you’re having sleeping problems, it can be a couple of different things. One, it can just be the makeup of who you are as a person and there’s things that you can do to sleep better. Again like the whole dreaded only use your bed for sleep and sex and yes I know you live in New York City but there’s other things that you can do as well. Like, I have a ritual surrounding my bedtime and I know that people think that they’re you know they’re boring and lame or whatever and they are boring and lame, but they pay big big dividends.
Michelle: What I was also going to say is that I do take a pill at night, and if I did not take that pill at night I would not sleep whatsoever.
Gabe: Now is that pill to help you sleep or is that pill to treat schizophrenia?
Michelle: No it was prescribed to help schizophrenia and.
Gabe: So an added benefit?
Michelle: Yes, it had the added benefit of knocking me out at night. If I did not take it.,I’d be up all night long.
Gabe: That’s an interesting thing too. I have the same thing. There is a pill that pretty much knocked me out as well but it’s not a sleeping pill. It just one of the side effects is that it makes me sleepy, so I moved it to nighttime and this is where it becomes very good to understand what your medication does, what the side effects are, and how you can benefit.
Michelle: Yeah, it’s one of those pills that always says on the bottle do not operate heavy machinery or drive a car when you take this medication.
Gabe: You know, talk to your doctor about taking that at night because if you took it in the morning you’d be sleepy all day. By moving it to night, you can use the side effect to your advantage.
Gabe: You can take that pill at the same time every day, which by definition will make you fall asleep at the same time every day.
Michelle: What usually happens is at night I get a little chatty with myself and I get told take your medicine. Have you taken your medicine yet? You need to take your medicine and I go Yeah OK I’ll take it because I start just talking to imaginary people going into the delusions and it’s kind of what happens.
Gabe: But the people that are telling you to do that they’re not saying that mean? Like I’m.
Michelle: No, not at all.
Gabe: Kind of in a mocking way. You’re just trying to be funny right now.
Michelle: Exactly. It’s not mocking it’s more like out of care. It’s like Are you OK. Did you take your medicine? Take it right now? Now you maybe you should go take your medicine now.
Gabe: Like because we see you not in reality at the moment, and then you take that pill, you go to bed and then you get up the next morning refreshed?
Gabe: Now another part of your sleep hygiene is when you wake up in the morning. You also need to immediately take your morning pills. So even though that’s not technically sleep hygiene, because it’s more part of your morning routine it’s sort of tangentially based. It is it is a thing that you need to do when you awaken.
Michelle: Right. And if I get up and I don’t take my morning pills, I am just pacing around my apartment just just maybe for an hour just back and forth and I need somebody in the morning pretty much telling me go take your medicine. Otherwise I am just just going to dilly dally forever.
Gabe: So even though you hate sleep hygiene, you’re sort of admitting that you’re practicing it. You take pills at the end of the day at the same time. Those pills help you sleep. Once you take the pills you go to sleep. Then you wake up at the same time every day. You take those pills and that helps you and when you’re away from people who don’t keep you on this schedule you stay up all night. You sleep all day and it wrecks your productivity.
Gabe: So even though you hate sleep hygiene you acknowledge that you benefit from it wildly?
Michelle: Absolutely. But I just hate talking about sleep hygiene. Hate to talk about sleep hygiene and sleep. I think it’s just so annoying.
Gabe: One of the reasons that I love sleep hygiene so much is because as somebody who has experienced mania and stayed up for three, four, or five days at a time, that was very dangerous and it was very bad. It was very bad for my relationships, it was very bad for jobs. I could have died. I lost complete control of my senses and faculties and if I would have gotten in a car or jumped off a roof. These are things that really could have harmed me. So that’s really really important and I know when I don’t get enough sleep the next day is awful. Here’s an example from recent memory, I stayed up pretty much all night because I have insomnia and the next day all I did was walk around and tell everybody I know that if I was dead the world be a better place. I wasn’t suicidal but it was close because I felt so bad. I just felt so rundown and so awful and it fed the depression. You remember I texted you and I’m just like this is stupid we shouldn’t do it anymore and you’re like What are you talking about?
Michelle: I did not even know what to do at that point because I was just trying to comfort you I guess I was trying to be like What are you talking about, Gabe? I don’t know where this is coming from because that’s just not you. It’s not something you usually say. You’re usually very motivated.
Gabe: And this was an example of behavior that came directly from not getting enough sleep. So as boring as sleep hygiene is you can see why it’s so important to me because I don’t want to walk around telling people that I’d be better off dead.
Gabe: And I imagine that you probably don’t want to hear that I think that I’m better off dead. That’s got to be scary.
Gabe: I mean I’d like to think that you love me.
Michelle: I also want to bring up, do you not remember the little interview of Kanye West saying he’s not bipolar? He’s suffering from sleep deprivation? Do you know what a huge symptom of bipolar is?
Gabe: Sleep deprivation?
Michelle: Yes. As who is not practicing good sleep hygiene?
Gabe: I’m going to go to Kanye West.
Michelle: You’re right, Gabe. You’re right.
Gabe: Here’s some quick hints and tips for people that are having trouble sleeping to help fall asleep at night. One I really strongly suggest only using your bed for sleep and sex but I also I have a sleep machine.
Michelle: What if you have sex on your couch?
Gabe: Look you’re going to do what you want. Nobody is saying that you can only have sex in your bed.
Michelle: I’m just saying. Because then what if you’re having sex on your couch, you take a nap on your couch, and then you?
Gabe: Let me stop you there. You should not nap on your couch. You should not sleep anywhere but in a bed or your own bed. And this of course, for people like us who travel a lot, this is very difficult and I’ll get to that in a minute because I want to go back to the sleep machine. People are like What the hell is a sleep machine?
Michelle: What’s the sleep machine?
Gabe: Yeah it’s really a sound machine. It’s like a white noise machine. I call it a sleep machine because I only use it for sleeping. So I turn it on and it helps regulate the room. You know it sounds like this. Are you ready? [cooing noise] So when I lay in bed that’s all I can hear, so it blocks out a lot of the external noise. It keeps the noise from going high and low and high and low. Research tells us that it’s noises that are out of the ordinary that wake us up. So, for example, people that live next to train tracks, they can sleep through the train because after a couple of weeks their body is expecting that noise. So that noise doesn’t wake them up.
Michelle: That’s true.
Gabe: It’s the same thing behind those fire alarms. Those smoke alarms where instead of beeping, you can record your voice or you can record your spouse’s voice or your mother’s voice. So it yells like, “Wake up, Michelle, the house is on fire!” Instead of beep beep beep.
Michelle: I see what you’re saying.
Gabe: Now listen, I’m gonna wake up immediately when I hear beep, beep, beep. But that’s just me and this is also why some people have alarm clocks that play the radio because they get used to the beeping in the morning, whereas the radio is always going to be different songs different sounds different you know rhythms etc. So it kind of forces them up in the morning and then some people have so much trouble getting up that they have you know like a vibrating pillow case. Which I didn’t even know existed until doing research about sleep.
Michelle: I didn’t know that it existed until just this moment right now.
Gabe: Yeah. The way that it works is it’s got a cord. You put it inside your pillow and you sleep on it and then when it’s time to get up the pillow shakes.
Michelle: I would have never have guessed you sleep on your pillow.
Gabe: I do sleep on my pillow. I sleep with my head on my pillow. I don’t need a vibrating pillow case, but I found out about this through the research, and I found out about it because the deaf community uses it and that makes sense because they can’t set an alarm.
Gabe: Yes, they use a vibrating pillow case and they also have vibrating pillow cases that are so advanced that they can hook into things like smoke alarms. So if the smoke alarm goes off it automatically vibrates the pillow.
Michelle: You know I have an Alexa which connects to my partner’s cell phone and sometimes she’ll break into the Alexa going wake up wake up Are you awake? Wake up. But I’m like, oh my God, this bitch!
Gabe: Wait, wait. How do I do that next time?
Michelle: I’m not telling.
Gabe: The next time you miss a meeting.
Michelle: I’m not telling you how to get into my Alexa. Or it has like different alarms you can wake up to that whatever the hell his name is? Oh, I know what it was. That, that guy married to Gwen Stefani? What is his name?
Gabe: Who is Gwen Stefani?
Michelle: No, no.
Gabe: Don’t speak. Just tell me what you’re feeling.
Michelle: Shut up. His name is the guy that was voted sexiest man in America. What is his name?
Gabe: The Rock?
Michelle: No, Blake Shelton. Sometimes I wake up to just the alarm clock of Blake Shelton like Oh is it a morning? Can I get a beer or maybe I can get a coffee?
Gabe: So it’s actually his voice?
Michelle: It’s his voice waking me up. Yeah.
Gabe: Talking about beer and coffee and these things help you get up at the same time every day because one of the dangers of not getting up at the same time every day is that you sort of reset your cycle. So let’s say for example that you go to bed at 8:00 and you get up at 8:00. Now that’s twelve hours of sleep and that’s a lot but let’s say that that’s how much you need and it’s also easy math for me. So you go to bed at 8:00 and you get up at 8:00 and that’s your twelve hour sleep pattern. But let’s say that one of those days you go to bed at midnight. Now if you follow your same 12 hours sleep pattern you’re gonna get up at noon. Well if you go to bed at midnight and you get up at noon that day what are the chances you’re going to fall asleep at 8:00 that night? You’re not. You’re going to go to sleep at midnight again and then you’re gonna be on a midnight to noon, midnight to noon, and that’s really going to reset your sleep schedule. So the best thing to do is that even though you stayed up too late and went to bed at midnight, you’re actually pretty wise to get up at 8:00 anyway. Or maybe push it to 9:00, but don’t get the full twelve hours. You might drag a little bit that day. But then at eight o’clock that night you’ll go to bed again. Sleep just really really impacts. It just does. It just does.
Michelle: It does. I can’t tell you how many bosses have spoken to me about getting in on time and getting enough sleep.
Gabe: Yeah. Whether you have mental illness or not, sleep can really impact the kind of day that you have. Find the most mentally healthy person that you can find and keep them up all night and then see how they act the next day. And when you’re living with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depression, anxiety, OCD, etc. The way that the sleep interacts with those illnesses is huge. I know that sleep is boring but it really is important. And so often getting more sleep, just like getting more exercise or eating healthier or showering or doing self care or coping mechanisms or taking our meds on time, sleep plays a vital role in keeping us healthy. And I know it’s boring, Michelle.
Michelle: It’s just boring to talk about sleep hygiene. That’s what I think. But I understand sleep is important. I completely understand. I get it. Sleep yes sleep. I’ll go take a nap if you want me to take a nap.
Gabe: No, napping is bad.
Michelle: I’m sorry. Don’t take a nap. Don’t take a nap. Don’t ever take a nap. Naps are evil. Naps are evil.
Gabe: Another thing that I want people to understand is that sleep matters. Sleep is a medical thing. If you are having trouble sleeping, that is a symptom. Report that to your psychiatrist or to your general practitioner or to your family doctor. So many people don’t report issues sleeping and so many doctors don’t ask people if they’re having trouble sleeping. If you are not getting enough sleep, if you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, please talk to your doctor. I know it’s not sexy. But, for real, this could be why you’re having side effects from medication. This could be why you’re having issues managing your mental illness. It might have nothing to do with mental illness at all. It might be a sleep problem but because so many people aren’t asking about it they’re not getting help with it. You know sleep. It is boring but it’s real necessary.
Michelle: Gabe’s going to come out with a new shirt that says, “Sleep Matters.”.
Gabe: Sleep does matter.
Michelle: Sleep matters.
Gabe: Do you think people would buy it?
Michelle: I don’t see anyone who would buy that shirt.
Gabe: I’d be like, “Define Sleep.”
Michelle: Define sleep? What? No, sleep matters.
Gabe: Don’t be paranoid, you sleep fine.
Michelle: “Sleep matters if you don’t agree then stay awake.”.
Gabe: How many words are you going to put on this?
Michelle: This is going to be the longest shirt ever because when you’re done reading the shirt, you’re tired enough to sleep.
Gabe: Hey, maybe this is like it’s an all natural, vegan, gluten free sleep aid?
Michelle: Or by Gabe’s book. Mental illness is an asshole and it’ll put you to sleep.
Gabe: That’s just so mean, that’s so mean.
Michelle: No, you read enough, your eyes get tired you go to bed. Just get a little itty bitty book light.
Gabe: A little itty bitty book light to strain your eyes and get glasses? We’re going to do another show on make sure you have enough light to read.
Michelle: I didn’t know that that was a thing, that book lights were a bad thing. I’m so sorry I insulted book lights. Oh no I didn’t know.
Gabe: We’re gonna get letters for this one.
Michelle: I didn’t know. It’s a book light. Book light or bulb lights were bad. I thought book lights were good.
Gabe: Also, they’re not “book lights.” They’re “lights living for books.” Get it right.
Michelle: Oh my goodness. I can’t stop insulting the world about books and sleeping and and the world and Kanye West doesn’t get enough sleep. All sleep deprived and what’s going on? And setting alarms and Alexa wakes you up and there’s a dog sleeping on the floor right now. Who knows what’s going on in the world? Gabe, there’s a dog right there sleeping. Taking a nap. Peppy, no naps. Oh, you woke up. Good.
Gabe: You just yelled at my dog.
Michelle: He’s taking a nap and you said No naps. You said No naps. You said and he’s napping.
Gabe: You yelled his name and he jumped up like you fired a gun at him.
Michelle: You said No naps and I see him napping.
Gabe: He thinks he’s in trouble. What did you do?
Michelle: You’re not in trouble but your father doesn’t allow naps, Peppy. Behave.
Gabe: Now would be a good time to point out that the rules for animals and the rules for people often differ. For example, people should not see veterinarians. They should go to people doctors.
Michelle: People doctors?
Gabe: People doctors.
Michelle: People doctors? That’s what they’re called?
Michelle: I agree.
Gabe: We need a closing. What do we got? What do we got?
Michelle: In conclusion. In conclusion, if you want to have a good prosperous life, practice good sleep hygiene and make Gabe happy because he really likes this topic. Everyone, if you like A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast, subscribe to us on iTunes. Listen to us everywhere, write us a review, give us five stars, tell us you love us, tell the world you love us, share everything. We love you and we hope you love us. Thank you everybody.
Announcer: You’ve been listening to A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a 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. This show’s official web site is PsychCentral.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.