Podcast: The Warning Signs of Bipolar and Schizophrenia
In general, people with mental illness aren’t perfectly fine one day and suddenly symptomatic the next. It often feels that way to people with bipolar, depression, and schizophrenia, but many of us in recovery realize that the warning signs were there all along.
“If you think there might be something wrong – that is a red flag.”
– Gabe Howard
Highlights From ‘Warning Bipolar Schizophrenia’’ Episode
[1:00] March 30th is World Bipolar Day!
[2:30] What are some of the warning signs of mental illness?
[5:00] Will supplements and exercise fix everything?
[7:45] Michelle’s huge red flag that she had schizophrenia.
[12:15] The red flags that Gabe has bipolar disorder.
[14:00] Why our hosts didn’t get any help when they were younger.
[18:30] The obvious warning signs of schizophrenia that Michelle’s college roommates noticed.
[22:00] Common symptoms of bipolar and schizophrenia.
[24:00] Everybody goes to therapy.
Computer Generated Transcript for ‘ The Warning Signs of Bipolar and Schizophrenia ‘ 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: [00:00:07] 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: [00:00:09] You’re listening to a bipolar schizophrenic podcast. My name is Gabe Howard and I have bipolar.
Michelle: [00:00:24] Hi, I’m Michelle. I’m schizophrenic.
Gabe: [00:00:27] And we’re going to talk about red flags. Basically-
Michelle: [00:00:30] Gabe, you forgot to say what this is.
Gabe: [00:00:32] This is a podcast. I said that.
Michelle: [00:00:34] When? You did?
Gabe: [00:00:35] I did. I said, “It’s A Bipolar, A schizophrenic, and a Podcast.”
Michelle: [00:00:37] I missed that.
Gabe: [00:00:39] But you know what I did forget to say? So I am glad that you brought it up? On March 30th, it is World Bipolar Day.
Michelle: [00:00:47] It is?
Gabe: [00:00:47] It is.
Michelle: [00:00:48] What a happy day. Or sad day. Or, I don’t know.
Gabe: [00:00:53] I kind of look at it as a both day. Like I wake up sad, but I go to bed happier, and kind of vacillate back and forth throughout the day.
Michelle: [00:01:00] Yeah. I know there must be so many people that are happy, or sad, or in the middle, or going up and down about how to feel on such a day.
Gabe: [00:01:07] So, World Bipolar Day. It takes place on Van Gogh’s birthday. And it really is kind of weird to think about, but it’s supposed to be like a celebration, or an acknowledgement of bipolar disorder and the contributions of people who live with bipolar disorder. It’s a day of awareness. It’s a day of acknowledgment. It’s a day of celebration. It can kind of be anything that you want. And it’s really caught on in the last few years.
Michelle: [00:01:28] Do you set off fireworks?
Gabe: [00:01:30] Not intentionally.
Michelle: [00:01:33] [Laughter]
Gabe: [00:01:34] It’s a really cool day, and I don’t know if our listeners are familiar with it. But you can find information on it by googling “world bipolar day.” You can also find more information on IBPF.org. That’s the International Bipolar Foundation. They sort of spearheaded this, but it’s been going on for a number of years. Michelle, is there a world schizophrenia day?
Michelle: [00:01:51] That’s a good question. I don’t really know.
Gabe: [00:01:54] If there’s not, like, I’m getting an idea.
Michelle: [00:01:56] You’re getting an idea?
Gabe: [00:01:57] We should spearhead world schizophrenia day.
Michelle: [00:02:01] OK, let’s do it.
Gabe: [00:02:01] We’re just gonna do it? Just do it?
Michelle: [00:02:03] Just right now.
Gabe: [00:02:03] Just right now?
Michelle: [00:02:04] How about today?
Gabe: [00:02:05] Let’s just cancel the podcast and just start our own holidays. It worked for Hallmark.
Michelle: [00:02:08] Let’s just make like different holidays every day. And then we never have to do anything, because it’s always a holiday.
Gabe: [00:02:15] This is genius.
Michelle: [00:02:17] Yeah. Holiday all day every day.
Gabe: [00:02:19] Holiday all day every day?
Michelle: [00:02:21] Yeah.
Gabe: [00:02:21] Excellent.
Michelle: [00:02:21] Excellent.
Gabe: [00:02:22] It sounds a little bit like our lives, though. If you think about.
Michelle: [00:02:25] A little.
Gabe: [00:02:25] Michelle, when we were going over the idea for the show, you said we should really talk about red flags of mental illness that we saw in ourselves before we were diagnosed. And we came up with really good ones that we’re gonna discuss. But, I think that we should maybe open it up a little later on in the show to talk about warning signs that we have personally seen in others. So, we’ve sort of got, like, the personal experience, the lived experience. But you know, maybe we should cover, like, some just straight up warning signs? Like, for example, if you are running naked down the street screaming that you’re being followed by Osama bin Laden, you might be schizophrenic.
Michelle: [00:03:04] Yeah. I would say there is something really big going on there. Or you could be doing a lot of drugs, honestly. If you’re really yelling that down the street.
Gabe: [00:03:11] It is interesting that you bring up the drug thing. Because we know many people who were diagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia because they were abusing drugs and alcohol, and when they got clean, they realized that they didn’t have a mental illness at all. But they were having the hallucinatory. . . “Hallucinatory?” Is that a word for real?
Michelle: [00:03:29] Sure, yeah.
Gabe: [00:03:30] Of the drugs. So it is kind of a messed up thing, isn’t it?
Michelle: [00:03:34] Drugs or schizophrenia? Let’s see. I guess so, sure.
Gabe: [00:03:38] And what if you genuinely have schizophrenia, but you are self medicating with drugs?
Michelle: [00:03:43] Well, that sounds like fun.
Gabe: [00:03:45] Does it?
Michelle: [00:03:46] No.
Gabe: [00:03:46] I mean we should probably put a little asterisk there. That Gabe and Michelle are not advocating treating schizophrenia with drugs.
Michelle: [00:03:55] I would not advocate that. I wouldn’t say to treat schizophrenia with drugs. Not a good idea. A guy on Instagram just told me that I should try CBD oils with exercise to help. And I said, “Well, you know, any kind of supplement or anything with exercise is always good. So thanks for the unsolicited advice asshole.”
Gabe: [00:04:15] Well now wait a minute. Come on, we can’t call our fans assholes.
Michelle: [00:04:18] No, I’m not saying he’s an asshole but I just don’t need like advice like oh how to schizophrenia. Have you tried CBD along with exercise? Okay, first of all exercise is always really a healthy thing to do. CBD? Sure, like all the other supplements could be beneficial or could do nothing. So, I don’t need somebody on Instagram telling me what to do to help my schizophrenia.
Gabe: [00:04:43] But isn’t this why social media was created? So that we could stalk other people and tell them they were wrong?
Michelle: [00:04:48] Sure. But listen, if I want your advice on Instagram I’ll ask for it.
Gabe: [00:04:55] I remember my father when I was growing up, he’s like, “If I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.” That was his motto.
Michelle: [00:05:01] What do you need? Some CBD and an awesome exercise, Gabe?
Gabe: [00:05:04] Maybe I need some CBD oil?
Michelle: [00:05:05] Yeah, just take some CBD and do some exercise, you’ll feel so much better. I heard it on Instagram today.
Gabe: [00:05:11] It is interesting, and I want to talk about something for the younger generation while we’re on this vein. I’m over 40, but I remember the exercise craze of the 90s. The early 90s, and there was all these supplements that came out. All of these pills that you could buy at the gas station, exactly like CBD oil. It’s going to change your life, they’re better, they’re amazing, and if you take the pills exactly like they order you to do so, you will lose weight. That was the big thing, they were weight loss supplements. And I always laughed, because they would say things like, “OK, you have to take four pills a day. Morning, noon, evening, and night. You have to take it each with a gallon of water.” So you’re gonna drink four gallons of water a day.
Michelle: [00:05:52] That’s not healthy.
Gabe: [00:05:53] And yet, maybe it wasn’t a gallon, maybe it was half a gallon, but it was an extreme amount of water. You’re supposed to take it with a lot of water. You were supposed to take the pills in supplement of dinner. So you weren’t supposed to eat dinner at all. And they put on the package that the pills worked best if you took a brisk 15 minute walk after each dosage.
Michelle: [00:06:13] Take a pill. Don’t eat. Drink lots of water, and take a walk.
Gabe: [00:06:17] Yeah.
Michelle: [00:06:17] And you will lose weight.
Gabe: [00:06:18] Yeah, and it’s the pills. It’s the magic pills.
Michelle: [00:06:20] Oh my goodness! That’s… that’s…. God that’s wow. Wow. So, I personally love the pills at the gas station that say that you get a huge boner.
Gabe: [00:06:30] Yeah. Yeah. It does remind me of the boner pills.
Michelle: [00:06:33] Yeah. The boner pills. I love those. OK. Gabe we are like on a tangent right now. What were we talking about? Red flags.
Gabe: [00:06:38] It is a good tangent, because, I think that there are many people who live with mental illness, that think that they can take a magic pill that they bought at the gas station and they will live well. It’s really odd to me because, you know, “Big Pharma,” pills are bad unless you buy it at the gas station.
Michelle: [00:06:54] Just go take some St. John’s Wort.
Gabe: [00:06:55] Well you know, at least St. John’s Wort has some study behind it to show some efficacy for low grade depression. We, me and you, we do not have low grade anything.
Michelle: [00:07:04] I took St. John’s Wort. It did nothing for me. I’m not against St. John’s Wort. It’s just that personally, it was probably as helpful as CBD and exercise.
Gabe: [00:07:12] To tie this back together into something good, though. It is a red flag if you are constantly looking for sources outside of yourself to feel better.
Michelle: [00:07:20] Yes.
Gabe: [00:07:20] If your depression is so bad that you’re willing to try something that you bought on the Internet, or advice that you got on Instagram, or something at the gas station. If you are desperately looking for a cure, it is a pretty good indication that you’re acknowledging that you’re suffering from something. Because people who are healthy and happy don’t just buy random products and ingest them for no reason.
Michelle: [00:07:41] That’s a very good point.
Gabe: [00:07:42] I’m good at that. I do that.
Michelle: [00:07:43] You do that a lot, Gabe?
Gabe: [00:07:45] Michelle, what were some red flags that people saw in you before you noticed that anything was wrong?
Michelle: [00:07:50] Well, the huge red flag was that I was constantly talking to myself and I didn’t even realize I was talking myself or just laughing at myself. I remember my mother speaking to like high school teachers and/or middle school teachers, and she said your teachers are saying that you’re laughing at them. They’re saying that you’re laughing in class. And I’m like, I’m not laughing in class. I was going into delusions and hilariously laughing at my delusions and just laughing in class. Which had nothing to do with the class or anything I was learning about. I was just often off in like another land laughing hysterically. But I didn’t realize I was doing it, and I didn’t know what it was, and I didn’t know why. I didn’t have memories of myself laughing during class to even try to defend myself. And I would say, I wasn’t laughing during class. But there you go. Right there was a huge red flag. The only time I remember specifically doing that was like, 11th grade physics. I’m sitting in the back of class and I guess I was just laughing so hysterically over and over again and not noticing that a girl who is two seats ahead of me turned around and goes, “Hey, are you OK?” And that’s when I realized. I started to go, “Oh! Oh, sorry. I… I was just laughing at something.” She goes, “What were you laughing at.” I’m like, “Oh, I think I was just thinking of something funny. I don’t know.” And that’s like the first time I noticed that I actually was just completely bursting into laughter at nothing around me. Only what was in my head.
Gabe: [00:09:11] Well, it’s interesting that you brought up that you were laughing at things that were in your head. You weren’t aware of anything that was happening around you, and the teachers and fellow students thought that you were, like, mocking them.
Michelle: [00:09:22] Yeah.
Gabe: [00:09:22] So now you’ve got two problems. You’ve obviously got the delusions, the laughter, and the lack of self-awareness. And you’ve managed to piss off people that you weren’t even aware were in the room.
Michelle: [00:09:33] Yeah.
Gabe: [00:09:33] And this is one of the things that makes it really, really difficult to get treatment. Because nobody thought that you needed treatment, but they did think you needed punishment.
Michelle: [00:09:41] Right. Actually, this just reminds me of college. I would, for example, I had my computer with me, and I would sit in the back of the class on my computer. And in the room it would often be dark, but the computer lights up my face. And I guess I would laugh a lot while I was, you know, also being delusional in class. I would just look at my computer, I would laugh, I would kind of take notes. But one time I went up to the teacher after class, and I said something to him, and he goes, “Oh, by the way, I see you laughing a lot during class. Are you laughing at, like, what you’re looking at on the computer? Or, like, at what I’m saying?” And I go, “Oh, no. No, no, no. I just do that a lot.” So there I was doing it again in college. Just bursting into laughter, being delusional at nothing. My whole life, I’ve been doing it and I still didn’t know I had schizophrenia.
Gabe: [00:10:25] This is interesting because I think that people need to understand that the worst case scenario is that people think you’re a jerk, because you’re laughing at them. But what if the thing that you were doing was yelling and screaming? What if you were like posturing and like a defensive thing? And like raising your fist? You know you’re a tiny little girl, Michelle, you know? But I’m a 300 pound, six foot three, man. Imagine if I was completely unaware that I was in a room, and I would stand up and I would start yelling, “Get off me!” That’s the kind of thing that can get you tackled, hurt, beat up, shot, arrested. Because it’s scary. It’s scary, you know? You’re kind of telling the story like hey, it’s a big red flag, because you were laughing in class. But you know, nobody’s gonna tackle and have you arrested because you’re laughing. Worst case scenario is they’re going to ask you to leave. But, you know, a lot of people in our community, their delusions don’t revolve around things that make them laugh. Their delusions revolve around things that make them defensive, or appear angry, or scary. And I understand why it would be scary if I stood up and started screaming at you. I wouldn’t want you to wonder whether or not I’m having a delusion. I would want you to run. So I’m telling you that if I’m sick, run. But that means you’re not helping me. But you really can’t risk it. I’m one hundred and fifty pounds bigger than you.
Michelle: [00:11:38] One second, we’re going to commercial.
Announcer: [00:11:40]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.
Michelle: [00:12:10] And we’re back, talking about red flags. Did you have any huge red flags?
Gabe: [00:12:16] Oh man, I had so many red flags! The biggest one that I’ve talked about on this show before, is that I thought about suicide every day as far back as I can remember. I didn’t think it was odd at all.
Michelle: [00:12:27] Like how far back?
Gabe: [00:12:28] Like when I was 4? 3? I don’t know. I never remember not thinking about it, and I think that kind of blows people’s minds, too. Remember on another episode, that you said that you didn’t tell anybody that you were paranoid? Because, after all, you were paranoid.
Michelle: [00:12:39] Right.
Gabe: [00:12:40] And it’s the way that you always felt, and it felt normal to you. The paranoia seemed very protective, so you weren’t doing anything to try to fix it. You were steering right in to that curve of paranoia.
Michelle: [00:12:50] Right. I believed it. I thought it was right. Therefore, I didn’t tell anybody, because I didn’t want to go against it. Because I didn’t want it to get worse.
Gabe: [00:12:58] Yeah.
Michelle: [00:12:58] If you, like, don’t listen to your paranoia, it’s only going to get worse. Because you’re going to get more paranoid. Right?
Gabe: [00:13:05] And the reason that you believed it is because it was just always with you?
Michelle: [00:13:07] Right.
Gabe: [00:13:07] Right. That’s how suicidal thoughts were to me. They were just always with me, and I just assumed that everybody else was thinking about suicide as well. I’m not saying that I thought that everybody was going to die by suicide, because that would be nuts. I thought that everybody was considering it. Just like I know that everybody can eat pizza. I just do. I just do because, you know, pizza is something that’s readily available. It’s relatively inexpensive. So when I see people not eating pizza, I assume to myself that the reason they’re not eating pizza isn’t because it’s unavailable to them, but it’s because they don’t want it. So when I see people not committing suicide, not dying by suicide,, or not self harming themselves, I just assumed it was because they didn’t want to. Not because they weren’t thinking about it, or not because they were emotionally healthy. I just thought they were making a choice, that was different from mine. But I sure as hell thought they were contemplating it. I did. I thought my parents would go to bed at night and think, “Wonder if we should kill ourselves tonight? No, we’ll stick it out with the kids.” That’s just what I thought.
Michelle: [00:14:11] I get that. When I when I was in high school, and I knew I had those behavioral issues, every time I was brought to any kind of, like, guidance counselor, or any kind of therapist or anything, and they’d say, “You know, everything is between you and me. Unless you’re thinking of hurting yourself or somebody else.” So right at that moment, I wouldn’t say anything because I was thinking of hurting myself. I was suicidal, so therefore I never got any help, because I never opened my mouth. But yet I didn’t think of that as a red flag. Because it was that big a deal that they were going to tell my mom that I was thinking of hurting myself. That should have been like, “Oh, it’s such a big deal that they would tell my mom!” That is such a big red flag right there. I was thinking, “Oh no, don’t say a word. They’ll tell my mom! I should just be quiet because I don’t want her to know.” When really, that’s something she should have known about because that’s really important to get fixed.
Gabe: [00:15:02] Along that same line, it never occurred to me that anything was wrong with this because there was no mental health training. My parents, if my parents would have sat me down one day, and I hear this is kind of a messed up thing to say. But if they would have sat me down one day, and said, “Gabe, thinking about suicide is abnormal.” I would be like, “Really? That’s – really?” But they didn’t. We never had those conversations because my parents didn’t see any value in it. Which is, I love my mom and dad. I want to make that very, very clear. My mom and dad are not bad people. It never occurred to them that their child was thinking about killing himself, because if it would have occurred to them, they would have done something. We just believed all the bullshit about mental illness that most people believe. My parents were like, “You know, he’s smart. He gets average grades. He’s funny. He’s a good kid, and he comes from a good family, and we’re all good people. So clearly suicide isn’t an issue. He’s not mentally ill.” But my mother to this very day says that she always described me as her “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kid.” And I always point out when she says that you’re describing bipolar disorder. So my mother recognized that I had this. That I had the symptoms of bipolar disorder as a teenager, but she never was able to put it together any further. And that scares me, because that’s a giant red flag that everybody I knew missed. Even though they were all sitting around talking about it.
Michelle: [00:16:28] I don’t know. For a while I was trying to tell everybody that I couldn’t sleep at night. I can’t sleep at night. I can’t sleep at night. And I was just told, “You’re not getting sleeping pills! Stop trying to get sleeping pills!” I don’t want sleeping pills. “What do you want?” I want to sleep at night.
Gabe: [00:16:45] That’s interesting, because I too had trouble sleeping, and my parents had a billion reasons that it was my fault. You drink too much Mountain Dew. You’re too hyper. You’re watching too much television. You don’t get enough exercise. Or my personal favorite one, try harder.
Michelle: [00:17:02] Right.
Gabe: [00:17:02] Yeah. I can’t sleep. Try harder.
Michelle: [00:17:04] And sleeping was, like, the hardest thing. Because going to try to fall asleep was when the paranoia was almost at its worst. Because it would go through my entire day and everything I did that day and it would tell me how everything I did that day was the most horrible thing I could have done. And then, I would get delusional and believe that things happened that day that never happened, making it even worse. So then it was then things that I didn’t believe are true happened and then paranoia. It was just all this crazy. Kind of, who knows, is making up all this nonsense in my head. And I would cry myself to sleep every night, and the only thing I would say was I just want to sleep. Please I just want to sleep. “You’re not getting sleeping pills!”
Gabe: [00:17:43] You know when I said that I couldn’t sleep, nobody told me that I couldn’t have sleeping pills. The advantage I guess of being 14 years older than you, is that apparently sleeping pills just weren’t a thing in my generation.
Michelle: [00:17:52] It’s not that I wanted sleeping pills.
Gabe: [00:17:53] I know that it’s not. But nobody even thought that when I said I couldn’t sleep. Nobody thought that I was trying to get sleeping pills.
Michelle: [00:17:59] Oh yeah. Everyone was like, “Yeah, you just want your drugs.” They thought I was drug seeking.
Gabe: [00:18:01] Yeah, that’s bizarre. Nobody ever accused me of drug seeking by saying that I couldn’t sleep, but they didn’t think it was a problem either. And everybody thought it was my own fault. You know, frankly, they blamed it on caffeine, or my poor eating habits, or I needed more exercise. There was always some reason that these things were my fault. We’ve talked a lot about being kids. We’ve talked a lot about, like, our teenage years, when we were under our parents’ control. And maybe you were diagnosed sooner than me. What were some warning signs for you as an adult? Like what was with adult Michelle? The warning signs?
Michelle: [00:18:35] Like adult Michelle? Is that considering college as well?
Gabe: [00:18:37] Yeah. I mean, I mean, well, when you were a grown ass woman.
Michelle: [00:18:41] Well, there would be times I’d be in my room in college. Then I would just hear my other roommate, Kate, just yelling, “Who are you talking to? Who are you talking to?” And I’d be like, “Why? What are you talking about?” She goes, “I hear you speaking to somebody.” I’m like, “Oh, I was just working something out of my head. I’m just working stuff out.” But then other times that happened I would actually be on the phone, and she’d yell. I yell back, “Give me a break! I’m on the phone okay. Leave me alone.” But this happened so often. And then other times, my other friends, would be like, “You’re schizophrenic.” And I’d be like, “No, I’m not schizophrenic. That’s voices outside your head, not inside your head.” And they’re like, “Are you sure about that?” And I’d be like, “Yeah, I’m definitely not schizophrenic, guys. Don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about it, I’m not schizophrenic.” So that’s why when I told them I was, they were like, “Yeah, no shit. We told you that.”
Gabe: [00:19:32] Yeah.
Michelle: [00:19:33] That’s why they knew. They knew way before me. So when I told them, it was like telling them that I have brown hair. They were like, “We know. We know. We already knew this about you. What? What are you even trying to tell us? Like, you’re telling us nothing.”
Gabe: [00:19:46] That’s always a fascinating part of your story to me. You know, every time it comes up, or we discuss it, this idea that a lot of people around you knew that something was wrong, yet they weren’t actively seeking help for you. They were telling you, which is a step in the right direction. And you were ignoring them. And the reason that you were ignoring was not like people think. You weren’t ignoring them because you were schizophrenic. You were ignoring them because you didn’t understand. You didn’t agree with them. You didn’t. You didn’t see it yourself. You had no self-awareness, which I suppose people can argue was because of schizophrenia, but I think it’s a mixture. I’m sure that being schizophrenic probably played a role, but I think having no understanding of how mental illness works, its symptoms, its causes, or what to do about it, made it easy for you to skip.
Michelle: [00:20:32] Yeah I think so. I mean, I was diagnosed as bipolar. So I thought I was just bipolar. But then, I was, I kind of knew that those symptoms didn’t fit. When I googled the symptoms, it was like, I really don’t have this. But I might have something worse. But I don’t want to look it up, whatever is worse. And I don’t want to believe other people, so I’m just gonna say that I’m bipolar and leave it at that.
Gabe: [00:20:54] It’s fascinating to me. You’ve said this before, and I never know, like, how to respond to it. Because you’re like –
Michelle: [00:20:59] Because it’s like is one really worse?
Gabe: [00:21:00] Well, yeah. You’re, like, just bipolar. It’s kind of a bit like saying, “Well, I just have testicular cancer. I mean, I don’t have lung cancer. Just testicular cancer.”
Michelle: [00:21:13] I know. I was like this. I just stigmatize myself in that. That was like-
Gabe: [00:21:18] No, it was me. Just a lot of that is that just I’m very sad that you would do this to me.
Michelle: [00:21:23] Oh, yeah.
Gabe: [00:21:24] Just, wow. Just –
Michelle: [00:21:25] Wow.
Gabe: [00:21:25] Make sure you use person first language the next time you stigmatize me. That will make it all go away.
Michelle: [00:21:31] Oh really? Oh really?
Gabe: [00:21:33] Michelle, you and I, we had a lot of signs. And anybody listening to this show should know that the warning signs for both Michelle and I were like spotlights. And nobody really picked up on them. Our parents didn’t do nothing, and they made attempts to get us help, here and there. But it wasn’t the concentrated effort that it needed to be, because they didn’t know what to do. Outside of the symptoms that we have and that we’ve kind of discussed on the show, let’s talk about some other really big symptoms that we’ve heard about other people having. Common ones that people hear about. Like, for example, not being able to go to work for several days in a row, but not being physically ill, and not understanding why you can’t get out of bed. That’s kind of happened to us in a way, but –
Michelle: [00:22:15] Just not being able to get out of bed because you’re so depressed?
Gabe: [00:22:18] Yeah, yeah.
Michelle: [00:22:19] Yeah.
Gabe: [00:22:20] We’ve certainly been there, but kind of gone back and forth and back and forth. But I think by the time we were there, we probably knew we were mentally ill. So, it’s not necessarily a red flag before diagnosis, but rather an ongoing problem that that we suffered from. But losing interest in things that you used to have interest in is a big red flag. You know, giving away prized possessions is a big red flag. Pulling away from friends and relatives that you were close to is a big red flag. And while some of those things happened us, and some of those things didn’t, any of those things alone are cause for concern. And you know, maybe you should get a mental health checkup. Whether you go to your general practitioner, whether you go to a social worker, or a psychologist, or whether you go straight for a psychiatrist. I’m really always bummed when people say, “You know, I thought maybe there was something wrong, but it didn’t seem serious enough.” You know, we live in a country that goes to the doctor for the sniffles, and I’m OK with that. Like, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. So if you think that you might have a mental health problem, why not go get it checked out?
Michelle: [00:23:24] I have a friend that I hadn’t seen in a while, and I saw her, like, last weekend. And I’m talking to her and she’s struggling and things. And she’s going, “I think maybe, I think I’m going to go get some therapy. I think it. I think I’ll get therapy.” And I just said to her, “You know you’re saying that like not everybody goes to therapy? Everyone goes to therapy. It is incredibly common to go to therapy.” And I’m trying to explain to her that her thinking that therapy is like, so taboo, and that she’s going to go. Because she’s, like, kind of, almost seemed ashamed of it. That she could possibly be going to therapy and it’s such a bad thing that she thinks she needs it. And I’m just telling her, everybody goes to therapy. Everybody does it. There’s no shame. You ask a bunch of or maybe 10 people and ask them who’s been to therapy, at least half the people are going to raise their hand. There’s no shame in going to therapy. If you think you have to go to therapy, don’t think and make a huge deal about it. Just go.
Gabe: [00:24:20] It’s fascinating to see how therapy has sort of evolved from the generations. Like, my grandfather is 88 years old. He’s like, “Therapy is bullshit. Nobody should go. Be a man.” You know my dad’s in his 60s, and he went to therapy. But he wouldn’t tell anybody. My mom knew, and none of us kids could know, and he’s gonna hear this episode and he’s gonna be like, “What? Why? Why are you telling people that?” And then there’s my generation. You know, I’m in my 40s. I’ll go and I’ll tell my friends and family, but that’s it. And then there’s all the 20 year-olds that are like live streaming therapy on Facebook. Checking in with their therapist, they’re just like, “What do you mean, you don’t have a therapist?” But that is good. That is good to see the evolution of it, because it’s a valuable thing. It matters in our society. And if you want to know the biggest red flag, that everybody should respond to, is if you think there might be something wrong, that’s a red flag. If your friends are coming to you and telling you there might be something wrong, that’s a red flag. Don’t look for the giant ones. Pay attention to the small ones. Because like all other illnesses, early treatment is key.
Gabe: [00:25:24] Thanks again for spending this week with A Bipolar, A Schizophrenic, and a Podcast. Remember to share, like, and subscribe. Make Michelle and I famous. And if you get a chance, hop over to GabeHoward.com and buy my book, Mental Illness Is an Asshole. And of course, I have to be fair, so head over to schizophrenic.NYC and buy a shirt. You can also go to store.PsychCentral.com and buy the Define Normal shirt. They are almost out of stock, and I’m not sure we’re gonna be ordering more. We will see everybody next week.
Michelle: [00:25:53] Red flag.
Announcer: [00:25:57] 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 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.
Podcast, N. (2019). Podcast: The Warning Signs of Bipolar and Schizophrenia. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 5, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/the-warning-signs-of-bipolar-and-schizophrenia/