In ways that are both extremely flattering and exceptionally stigmatizing, Michelle and Gabe are often told that they don’t really have bipolar and schizophrenia, that they are too mature, intelligent, or well behaved to be that sick. They are told that they may have “a mild case” or are “high functioning,” without acknowledging their past struggles.
In many ways, our hosts understand why people feel this way. They weren’t advocates with a podcast when they were at their sickest. They were hidden away in their homes or hospitalized, not even understanding that they were sick.
In this episode, Gabe and Michelle share stories of what they were like before they received treatment for their mental illnesses.
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“God hasn’t talked to the Pope, but he has talked to Michelle Hammer . . . which makes sense.”
– Gabe Howard
Highlights From ‘Before Recovery We Acted Sick’ Episode
[1:40] Michelle shares her story of when God spoke to her in Israel.
[6:10] Gabe tells the story of jumping off his roof and onto the lawn.
[10:15] Michelle talks about self-harm (trigger warning).
[16:30] Gabe talks about pulling out his hair, weighing 550 pounds, and staying in bed for days at a time.
[21:50] Michelle discusses being delusional and hallucinating in a Starbucks.
[26:00] Gabe talk about living with “demons,” and his fear of skyscraper window washers.
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.