From leisure activities to politics to relationships, people tend to be influenced by their religious beliefs. In this episode, Gabe and Michelle discuss the pros and cons of religious influence when it comes to treating mental illness and explore whether it is helpful when trying to reach recovery.
“They are dead (by suicide) and we are still stigmatizing their behavior.”
Highlights from ‘Religion and Mental Illness’ Episode
[2:00] The intersection of religion and mental illness.
[4:30] How the Jewish faith views mental illness.
[10:00] How Christianity views mental illness.
[16:00] Do all religions accept people with mental illness?
[20:00] Is spirituality a valid treatment option?
Computer Generated Transcript for ‘Religion and 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: 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 a very serious episode of A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast. My name is Gabe Howard. I live with bipolar disorder
Michelle: Hi, I’m Michelle and I’m schizophrenic.
Gabe: I was gonna tell everybody you were dead. That was my whole plan. It was gonna be like, “Sadly, Michelle is no longer with us.”
Michelle: That’s not funny, Gabe.
Gabe: I mean it’s a little funny. Why do you assume that you’re dead like in the no longer exists? Since maybe you’re just dead to me?
Gabe: People who have listened to this show are fully expecting one of us to kill the other. So I think that at some point you’ve got to give the people what they want.
Michelle: I don’t think that’s what the people want.
Gabe: I brought up death because you know death quickly leads into religion and religion is one of those things that is sort of a double edged sword for people because a lot of people struggling with mental health issues living with mental illness whether depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety. They talk about how their faith has led them to wellness. So we want to acknowledge that right away before we trash religion for the next 20 minutes. Because there is this other side where religion has caused a lot of damage. This is a buffet. Take what you want and leave the rest.
Michelle: Is it a Chinese buffet? Because I like a Chinese buffet with a Mongolian wok.
Gabe: Ok. But do you eat every single thing on the Chinese buffet?
Michelle: No. Well no because I’m allergic to shellfish.
Gabe: Ok. So there are things on the Chinese buffet that you don’t like?
Michelle: That’s right.
Gabe: Do you stand in front of that thing and start screaming that you hate it or do you just focus your attention on the items that you like?
Michelle: Oh you know like the chicken lo mein? I’m all about that.
Gabe: Right. So isn’t it funny that on the internet nobody goes for the proverbial chicken lo mein? They all stand in front of the shellfish screaming and that brings me around to my point that if religion is working for you, if spirituality is working for you if you are living better in spite of a mental health challenge, and utilizing religion spirituality etc then hey this show is not for you. But there are many people who are hindered by religion in their recovery.
Michelle: Let’s do it, Gabe. I think we should chat about it.
Gabe: Let’s establish some ground rules. First I was raised Catholic. I am now an atheist. You, Michelle, were raised Jewish. And I have no idea what you are now.
Michelle: I’m a.
Gabe: New Yorker I guess?
Michelle: I’m a cultural Jew.
Gabe: A cultural Jew? What’s a cultural Jew?
Michelle: A cultural Jew is where you really don’t celebrate the holidays but you identify as a Jew and you celebrate holidays meaning you have food on the holidays.
Gabe: I can get behind that.
Michelle: Yeah. You just don’t go to temple anymore.
Gabe: I am a cultural Catholic because there is not a holiday out there that I will not eat food. In fact I’m going to become a Catholic Jew so that I can have two holidays and I can get double food.
Michelle: You know what? I can agree with that.
Gabe: Excellent. Do you want to become a Jewish Catholic so that you too can have double food?
Michelle: Well I kind of want to celebrate this capitalist Christmas.
Gabe: I love capitalist Christmas. As you know I dress like Santa so I am really into it because Santa is the spokesperson for capitalist Christmas.
Michelle: And you get to yell at people.
Gabe: I mean nothing says love like a guy breaking into your house and leaving you shit.
Michelle: And just yelling, “Ho, ho, ho,” everywhere. Just calling people hos.
Gabe: Ho, ho, ho!
Michelle: Just calling everyone a ho.
Gabe: Ho, ho, ho!
Michelle: You’re really good at calling people hos there, Gabe.
Gabe: Hey you’ve heard the hyper sexuality episode. It’s a thing.
Michelle: Ho ho ho ho. I think I can go around doing that to people ho ho ho.
Gabe: I mean yeah, if you trim up your beard and mustache a little. It’s getting a little long.
Michelle: Fuck you.
Gabe: From your experience as a person living with schizophrenia and what you have seen in your community, how open is the Jewish faith to the concept of mental illness? What are the teachings? What do they say?
Michelle: Well it’s interesting. With mental illness and Jewishness it’s kind of a weird kind of a thing because it’s kind of like the media plays up the Jews as very anxious and neurotic. And it’s a hugely Jewish stereotype and you see it in a lot of films like the neurotic Jew. And it’s really just a stereotype. And when I was looking up a lot of things about Jews and mental illness and I found like studies and it said that this study found that Jews suffer from certain mental illnesses at higher rates including major depression, dysthymia, schizophrenia, phobia but had lower rates of others including alcoholism. And they also saw mental illnesses in Jews and other people can be higher if they’ve suffered traumatic events in the past. Think about like oh the trauma of like maybe the Holocaust? Things like that which could have turned Jews into this more neurotic kind of way. What do you think about that?
Gabe: I think that you googled and it’s always fascinating when Michelle googles because if you google long enough you’re going to find out that all Jews have cancer. Because all medical conditions lead to cancer on the Internet. But I like what you said there about that neurotic Jew because think of like Woody Allen and when it comes to famous Jewish people you know Woody Allen is a really big example because I think he plays into the stereotype intentionally. You know he’s always doing these as you said, stereotypical neurotic Jewish things. And that probably helped his career a lot in the 70s and 80s because after all if you are the stereotype then nobody has to be afraid of you everybody knows you. And it sort of led to this kind of cutesy caricature. But you’re right. In actuality Woody Allen has a really serious anxiety disorder. Like how does he leave his house? He’s afraid of everything. But we all saw that as comedy. But in actuality that’s pretty serious, right?
Michelle: It is serious but really it’s just a stereotype. He built up a stereotype everybody just built that stereotype of these neurotic Jews and they’re all nervous all the time and I think things are gonna go wrong. And even if you watch Curb Your Enthusiasm Larry David is all very like you know. Oh things are going to go wrong what am I going to say and he finds himself in these like ridiculous situations where you said things he wasn’t supposed to say. Things always go wrong because of Larry David saying the wrong thing in his messed up kind of a mind of who knows what he’s going to do and he says it. You know what I’m saying about Larry David’s show? Come on?
Gabe: Yeah. Oh no I completely agree. And if we just look at our relationship so I’m not Jewish. You are Jewish and you don’t care about anything. Like right before we go on, you’re backstage you’re like sitting in the back with your feet up half asleep and I’m like circling the building at a thousand miles an hour just waiting for it to catch on fire. So it really should be the opposite I should be like calm and laid back and chill because that’s my stereotype I’m a white male I have it all put together and you should be neurotic for a number of stereotypical reasons. You know female being at the top you know Jewish being second. Schizophrenia is a strong third. But you’re relatively laid back and relaxed I don’t. I never really see you panic.
Michelle: That’s a very good point. I think my panic is more internal. It’s more in my head of oh am I going to mess this up? Is this going to go right? I hope it goes well. But what if it doesn’t go well? Oh well but I think I think I know what I’m going to say so I hope it does the right thing. If I mess up, I mess up, you know. It happens. It is what it is I accept everything for what it is. So that’s why I’m kind of OK with it.
Gabe: And that is very very healthy. But now let’s move to more scary topics. If somebody dies by suicide how does the Jewish faith handle that.
Michelle: That’s a very good question. I don’t think that the Jewish faith really likes that too much but there are not.
Gabe: Well I don’t I don’t think anybody likes suicide. I don’t think there’s a group out there that’s pro suicide but I mean are you allowed to be buried in a Jewish cemetery or are you allowed to have your funeral in a Jewish temple? Do they tell your whole family that you’re burning in hell? What’s that kind of. Because we’re gonna get to Christianity in a minute and there’s all kinds of fucked up messages over on that side.
Michelle: No. No you can be buried in a Jewish cemetery if you kill yourself and that whole thing about tattoos and Jewish cemeteries. That’s really just a lie. Have you heard that stereotype, Gabe?
Michelle: There’s this like big lie that if you’re if you have a tattoo you can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery. And that is one of the biggest myths and is a huge myth and people believe it for some reason it’s a complete lie because the people who have always said, “Oh no, if ever you have a tattoo you can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery.” And I’ve always thought. Think about it the body goes to the cemetery. Do you think they really check the body for tattoos and say oh no this body cannot be buried here? Like that’s just the dumbest belief ever. And people have really said that to me. People really believe that. And it’s a complete lie.
Gabe: What if it’s a stupid tattoo though?
Michelle: Doesn’t matter. And if because the whole thing is you borrow your body I don’t really get it either but you borrow your body therefore you’re not supposed to make any permanent things on your body yet. Earrings are allowed.
Gabe: But earrings aren’t permanent, you can take them out.
Michelle: But they leave a hole.
Gabe: That is very true. You know Michelle I don’t need to explain to you that Christianity is the biggest religion in America.
Gabe: More people associate with Christianity than any other religion including people who absolutely have never set foot in a church will claim Christianity as their religion the teachings surrounding mental illness and suicide are scary. And again to be fair not every single Christian religion, because there are many of them share this. But there are some that that teach things like if your loved one died by suicide, they will burn in hell for all eternity and they cannot have their funeral in this church and they cannot be buried in your church’s cemetery. Which is like, I mean the person is dead. So you’re not really doing anything to them what you’re doing is making their families suffer needlessly. And it’s just so incredibly cruel.
Michelle: Yes. That’s horrible. Good things Jews don’t believe in hell. Woo!
Gabe: Well but where do you go when you die? Are you able to go to the same place? Does the Jewish faith care how you die? Are there different restrictions based on your death to what happens to you in the heavenly plane or the afterlife? Or does it just not matter? Dead is dead?
Michelle: Well from what I understand there is a purgatory for one year. And yet once you complete your one year of purgatory you then go up to heaven. Everybody goes up to heaven unless you are a horrible person like Stalin or Hitler, where you go to purgatory and then your soul dissipates and you never make it anywhere else.
Gabe: What if you’re a horrible person like Michelle hammer?
Gabe: Like just one year in purgatory and you’re good?
Michelle: No, I’m not a horrible person. I would go straight to heaven. You go to heaven and then you, and then you can live again in a new life.
Gabe: So like reincarnation? Like could someone come back as a dog?
Michelle: I don’t know about a dog but you can live again as like a human I believe.
Gabe: So that means there is a possibility that your grandmother Blanche is out there?
Michelle: Well they’ve been pretty soon but yeah I mean maybe Blanche might be living again. Who knows?
Gabe: All joking aside the bottom line is if you die by suicide the Jewish faith community will support the family. Your funeral stays exactly the same. You’re buried in exactly the same place. And the afterlife works exactly the same way. There’s no extra teaching surrounding dying by suicide or dying by mental illness in the Jewish faith.
Michelle: That is what I believe. If I am wrong I apologize but that is what I am pretty sure of. And I did look up a lot of stuff about just you know a mental illness in the Torah and it was very interesting. They were saying things like mental illness can lead to sin or sinning can lead to mental illness. Hold up one sec. We’ve got to hear from our sponsor.
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Michelle: And in an effort to get a whole bunch of angry letters we’re back talking about religion.
Gabe: As you know, Michelle, the Jewish faith is a minority in America. The largest faith in America is Christianity and Christianity comes in all different sects for example. I’m Catholic which is a Christian religion, my father is Presbyterian which is a Christian religion and Catholics and Presbyterians believe very different things and they believe a lot of the same things. So it’s really difficult to have a conversation about how Christianity feels about suicide. But there are large portions, not the majority I really don’t think. But but large enough to cause real damage that believe that people who die by suicide who die from their mental illness cannot get into heaven. They cannot be buried in Christian cemeteries. They cannot have Christian funerals and they tell their family members they’re going to burn in hell for all eternity.
Michelle: That’s not OK. That’s not ok at all. That’s really not OK. I don’t I don’t like that. I don’t like anything about that and I don’t like that happens. Where can you be buried then? Like in a non faith cemetery? What if you have family members that are buried in that cemetery? You can’t be buried next to them? That’s not OK.
Gabe: It’s just an example of where the stigma against people with mental illness continues into their death. That person is now dead. Let let’s be clear. They’re dead. It’s over. They’re dead and we’re still stigmatizing their behavior. We’re still telling their family members that this person is bad. And here’s the concept that I have trouble wrapping my mind around in Christianity we have this belief that you cannot sin accidentally sinning has to be willful. You have to want to do it. The second thing that we have is that anything can be forgiven literally anything can be forgiven. Remember
Gabe: Aren’t perfect. They’re just forgiven.
Gabe: Yet for some reason.
Michelle: God always forgives.
Gabe: Reason when it comes to mental illness you did it on purpose and you can’t be forgiven the end.
Michelle: God always forgives. God always forgives. That’s what I learned. God always forgives.
Gabe: Listen if you talk to the majority of Christian faith leaders that believe this kind of thing that believe that people who die by suicide cannot have church funerals cannot be buried in their church cemetery. They firmly believe that a murderer can be redeemed that a murderer on death row has a better shot at redemption than a person who dies by suicide because of mental illness. And that’s just that’s just so incredibly sad because let’s back that up a couple of steps. If that’s their belief after you die imagine what their belief is while you were alive. Let’s talk about some of the horror stories that we’ve heard there. We know a woman who suffers from schizophrenia childhood schizophrenia. She started showing symptoms at age 14 and when she was 17 years old she was given a three day exorcism to
Gabe: Treat schizophrenia.
Michelle: Right. Right.
Gabe: Can you imagine the trauma?
Michelle: I can’t and I can’t believe that she went through that and then. No I can’t I can’t imagine the trauma because it’s so absurd. I can’t imagine what she went through.
Gabe: And now she’s you know 35 years old and she’s OK. I mean you know she still lives with schizophrenia. But could you imagine if she would have thought that it worked and would have wandered around saying, “I’m cured now?”
Gabe: So she’d be a person living with schizophrenia. Untreated. Except, she now believes wholeheartedly that she’s cured so she wouldn’t be seeking help because, after all, God cured her. Thankfully that did not happen. She realized it didn’t work. God did not help and now, because of things like you know medication and therapy and medical intervention and coping skills and experience she’s living a good life. But what if she would have believed the church?
Gabe: If she would have she would have believed that the exorcism worked? Oh my God
Gabe: Could you imagine?
Michelle: Yeah. Something I was reading online was when this Orthodox family was speaking to a psychiatrist and the father this orthodox man was yelling at his daughter who was schizophrenic and she was he was saying to her you know, “Obey the Fifth Commandment. Honor thy father and thy mother. Honor thy father and mother. You are not obeying the fifth commandment.” And she’s schizophrenic and she’s just laying there just sitting there just being a schizophrenic not understanding and he’s just yelling honor thy father and mother, you are not obeying the Fifth Commandment and she can’t. She’s schizophrenic. So what is she supposed to do? He is not understanding. She is not understanding. What’s supposed to happen? You know you can’t just bring God into it when it’s mental illness.
Gabe: And what is it scary to consider is that the father in that scenario one is not being malicious not being bad. He really does believe that this is the solution and he believes it because it’s ordained by God.
Gabe: He believes that he is following the almighty and just yelling at his sick daughter. This isn’t an example of somebody being mean or malicious but it’s an absolute example of somebody being ignorant and not understanding how medicine works. And can you imagine if you removed schizophrenia and changed it with cancer? Stop having cancer obey your fifth commandment stop having cancer you’re not obeying your mother and father be cured of your cancer. Does that sound ridiculous?
Michelle: Yes it absolutely does sound ridiculous.
Gabe: But when you replace cancer with schizophrenia people are like, “Well, if she’d listened, she’d have a better life.”
Michelle: This is an example of where we need medical intervention and not just religious intervention. So honoring thy father and mother and by not doing that does not mean you’re not following religion. It means you need medical help.
Gabe: And this is the problem when religion permeates a culture because so many people when I teach classes I’m like OK. If somebody is having a mental health crisis where can they go. And we get examples that are that are really good you can call 911, you can go to a psychiatrist, you can go to a psychologist. But somebody always says you know priest rabbi spiritual leader minister. And it’s so hard to give pushback because they think that I’m being disrespectful to religion and I’m not a priest a rabbi a minister they’re all excellent for your spiritual needs but they’re not doctors. Religion has a lane that it needs to stay in. And again I know that God is always in our hearts and we carry him with us. And it really does permeate our culture. But nobody would think it was OK to refuse treatment to an 8 year old with leukemia because everybody is praying; they would think that that was horrible. But yet for some reason in our society we have religious leaders right now that are trying to pray the symptoms of mental illness out of people. And it’s incredibly dangerous and we know a woman who lives with severe bipolar disorder that was on her medication that was stable and she was going to church to improve her life. And when the minister found out told her to stop taking all of her meds because God had cured her and she believed him. And within a few months she went right to crisis where she could have died and it took her another couple of years to be stabilized. Think of the damage that that caused her. And she’s now fine. Everything is OK. All of my examples. Everybody is living well but can you imagine if she had died by suicide in those couple of years nobody would have blamed religion. Nobody would have blamed the minister. They all would have blamed her. They would have said that she was a bad person that couldn’t be buried in their cemetery. And her family would be left to suffer without the supports of their religious community. And these are the things that we need to change.
Michelle: Dude, even more so than that even bringing up cancer. I had a cousin living in Israel, older than me in her 60s. She did not believe in modern medicine and she got cancer. So she believes in praying away the cancer. She’s dead.
Gabe: And I don’t think that anybody hearing that story expected it to end any other way.
Gabe: But if you remove cancer and replace it with bipolar disorder everybody’s like, “Well how did it turn out?” How the fuck did you think it turned out? The message that I just want to leave everybody with and I’m so sincere about this. Nobody is saying there’s anything wrong with religion but religion is not a cure or even a treatment for mental illness. It is possible that it could be one of the tools that you use to cope with your life because it is
Gabe: A coping mechanism.
Michelle: It is I do have my western wall story where I do believe God spoke to me. People can think whatever they want but I do believe I had a divine moment at the Western Wall in Israel. I do believe.
Gabe: And I am not going to disavow you of that notion unless you said that God told you that he cured your schizophrenia and to stop taking your medication?
Michelle: Did not happen. That was not what was said.
Gabe: But you live with schizophrenia and you have psychosis and sometimes you hear voices. How do you know which ones are delusions and auditory hallucinations? And which ones are God advising you?
Michelle: I touched that wall, closed my eyes thought about some stuff, and then all the sudden I felt a power go shooting through my head, shooting through my arms and into the wall. Nothing like that has ever happened to me before and I never had a more moment of complete clarity in my life.
Gabe: Thank you for sharing that. And that makes sense to me. I mean as much as it can. You know I wasn’t there I did not experience this. I’m not pro or con. What you’re saying. I believe you and I respect what you went through. But you know to play devil’s advocate and to kind of be a dick for a minute what if you told me that God told you that you’re supposed to vape? Or that God told you that you’re supposed to drink? Or that God told you to stop taking your meds?
Michelle: Well, no. It was positive it was positive it was positive. I was thinking what’s the most important thing I need to do? I’m at the Western Wall.
Gabe: Ok. Forget about the Western Wall.
Michelle: What’s the most important thing?
Gabe: Forget about the Western Wall. Forget the Western Wall. You have had dozens of years of auditory hallucinations and delusions. You are a schizophrenic. You live with schizophrenia. You have all of the hallucinations and delusions that come with that diagnosis. How do you know that all of them are not God?
Michelle: Because I know they’re not.
Michelle: They’re not God, they’re not because I can. I know I just know.
Gabe: So we have friends who live with schizophrenia. What would you, Michelle Hammer, say if one of those friends said, “Hey this morning God spoke to me and God told me to stop taking my medication?”
Michelle: I would say you should still take your medication anyway.
Gabe: But God told her not to.
Michelle: That’s different
Gabe: Would God lie to her?
Michelle: They weren’t at the. They were not at the Western Wall.
Gabe: Stop saying that!
Michelle: And that’s detrimental.
Gabe: Well how do people separate the difference between auditory hallucinations and the voice of God in their head? That’s the question. Leave the western wall out of it.
Michelle: Because how is it going to benefit your life? I think if God is going to benefit your life in some way I think God would only speak to you to benefit your life.
Gabe: But the Lord works in mysterious ways you don’t know how it’s gonna benefit until you obey the word of God in your head and stop taking your pills like he so commanded in his gentle and loving way.
Michelle: Well, did he come to you in a burning was it was it a burning bush? Did the burning bush tell you to stop?
Gabe: That’s an STD. That’s a completely different thing.
Michelle: Moses. Moses, I shall part the Red Sea. Moses.
Gabe: Listen we can we can absolutely go on forever with this line. But it is a problem, it is a a real problem. Imagine that you’re a 25 year old woman who was raised very religious. Or a twenty five year old man who is raised very religious and you have had you know visions and hallucinations and delusions your entire life. What if one of them you mistake for God? It’s not like he signs his e-mails. How do you know? This is a real problem for people sincerely in the research for this show and in talking to people people told me they’re like I thought my delusions were God. I thought God was telling me to quit my job because it was in my best interest. But all that happened is I lost my job. God told me to leave my wife. These are all real stories that I’m looking at of people who thought they were doing God’s will but in actuality they were responding to a hallucination and a delusion. How were they to know that?
Michelle: I think God would only tell you to do things that are positive in your life. I don’t think God would try to do something detrimental in your life. I think that’s the difference. I think a negative voice would not be God. I only think something positive would come from a god voice in my opinion. That’s my opinion.
Gabe: And further to go back to your western wall story it wasn’t it wasn’t just a voice that you heard. It was an all encompassing feeling all over
Gabe: Your body. From the tip of your toes to the top of your head you knew there was no doubt in your mind. It wasn’t. You were pretty sure it was the only thing that felt that way and the only thing that ever felt that way.
Gabe: I know that a lot of people described it with their hallucinations and their delusions and all of the stuff they were going through a schizophrenia that they were picking and choosing that you know this one is a delusion. This one is an auditory hallucination, this one is a visual hallucination. Oh look this one’s from God but in reality all of them were exactly the same. They just decided for whatever reason that this one was from God. And that was an excellent indicator for them that it wasn’t. It was just part of their illness process and they worked with their doctors and they found faith leaders who understood mental illness and didn’t overstep their bounds. And that’s really what we’re getting at, right? We just want faith to stay in its lane. We want religion to stay in its lane. We don’t let doctors preach the Word of God. Why are we letting religious people give us medical advice? There’s nothing wrong with either side and until they cross over and that’s what we want people to do to be well because some of these are scary. And I only use the ones where everybody turned out completely OK. Everybody is completely OK thank you all they’ve all gone on to lead great lives and they all say the same thing. Religion has its place but not in the treatment or cure of mental illness.
Michelle: Agreed. I agree with that. Religion has its place. Take everything in a positive light. Don’t bring yourself down if you think you’re not obeying the laws of the Ten Commandments. You’re OK. Just because you have a mental illness does not make you some sort of hell demon in God’s eyes, you’re all good. You’re not a bad person if you’ve a mental illness, you are not afflicted by the sins of God or anything like that. You’re good. OK? You’re good.
Gabe: Thank you everybody for tuning into this week’s episode of A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast. My name is Gabe Howard, I live with bipolar disorder and Michelle Hammer who is a kick ass artist lives with schizophrenia. I’d say look behind her and see all of her great art, but this podcast is an auditory hallucination. We will see everybody next week.
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.