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Home Podcast: Moving Past Depression (and Other Musings)

Podcast: Moving Past Depression (and Other Musings)

 
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Podcast: Moving Past Depression (and Other Musings)

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Why don’t we ever talk about how despite our best efforts, we are depressed? Now, let’s figure out how to move forward.

~Gabe Howard

We’ve all heard the adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When it comes to depression, however, this expression holds even more significance. For one thing, there is no “cure” for depression, so prevention is obviously deserving of our efforts.

But how do you prevent something when you’re already suffering from it? Moving forward with depression is the best most of us can hope for. Today’s episode focuses on this journey — and falls down a few rabbit holes here and there.

This podcast is proudly sponsored by Betterhelp. Save 10% on your first month with the discount code “BSP22” or by clicking here.

About the Hosts of A Bipolar, A Schizophrenic, and a Podcast

gabe howardGabe Howard is a professional speaker, writer, and activist living with bipolar and anxiety disorders. Diagnosed in 2003, he has made it his mission to put a human face on mental illness.

He’s the author of Mental Illness is an Asshole and Other Observations and a popular podcast host. Learn more at gabehoward.com.

michelle hammerMichelle Hammer is a Schizophrenia Activist and spends her time passionately fighting stigma. She is an NYC native featured in the WebMD documentary Voices, which was nominated for a Tribeca X Award at the Tribeca Film Festival 2018.

Founded and run by Michelle, Schizophrenic.NYC is a clothing brand with the mission of reducing stigma by starting conversations about mental health.

Transcript for To Therapy or Not to Therapy?

Please Note: This transcript was computer generated. Please be mindful of errors. Thank you. 

Announcer: So, what did the bipolar say to the schizophrenic? You’re in the right place to find out. . .

 

Gabe: Hey, everyone, my name is Gabe Howard and I’m bipolar.

 

Michelle: And I’m Michelle Hammer and I am schizophrenic. Our sponsor makes the show happen. Check out BetterHelp and get 10 percent off your first month by going to BetterHelp.com/BSP22.

 

Gabe: I want to discuss moving forward from depression, you know, like going from depressed to not depressed.

 

Michelle: Like from going from short to really tall.

 

Gabe: I mean, I don’t know that that. No, no, actually, that’s wrong, that’s completely wrong. No, it’s more like going from not OK to OK.

 

Michelle: So being like cool and not un-cool.

 

Gabe: Sure, I mean, nobody wants to be depressed, right? But we talk a lot about prevention. I mean, I get it an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and all that other happy horseshit our grandparents say. But I mean, sometimes we’re depressed, right?

 

Michelle: It happens.

 

Gabe: Sometimes you wake up depressed, right?

 

Michelle: You know what, sometimes you just wake up and you’re not wanting to get out of bed.

 

Gabe: Right, so, so you’re depressed,

 

Michelle: Yes.

 

Gabe: Ok? And obviously, you don’t want to be depressed, so you need to go from depressed to not depressed, depressed to not depressed. First off, there’s nothing wrong with being depressed. I really hate maybe sometimes in our community where everybody’s like, do the following things and you won’t get depression. Stop and smell the roses, do self-care. I love self-care. Self-care is so vitally important. But why don’t we ever talk about OK, despite your best efforts, you’re depressed. Now, let’s not be depressed.

 

Michelle: Well, Gabe, don’t you know that it’s OK not to be OK?

 

Gabe: Clearly in America, we think this because we walk past homeless people all the frickin’ time, that that is. I don’t think that means what people think it means. It’s OK not to be OK. You’re right. The world doesn’t give a shit about you.

 

Michelle: I think that the dumbest phrase it’s OK not to be OK is the dumbest phrase, because if you’re not OK, how long can you be not OK for? You need to be OK. And if it’s OK not to be OK, then it’s not OK.

 

Gabe: Well, eventually you die.

 

Michelle: How long are you not OK?

 

Gabe: Let’s pretend for a minute that that phrase means what people think it means, it’s OK not to be OK. You’re right, it is OK not to be OK, but clearly you can’t be not OK for a long period of time or you’ll be really not OK or, you know, dead. But I digress. Let’s talk about ways to go from not OK to OK. Maybe that is the language that people are most comfortable with, Michelle.

 

Michelle: Drink a Diet Coke. Gabe’s method of being not depressed is drink a Diet Coke.

 

Gabe: You make fun and I know you make fun, and you and I have talked before where you make fun of like me eating a soft pretzel or getting a Diet Coke or. And I get it, I’d mock me too. It sounds really stupid, but that is some of the ways that I get un-depressed. Because when I’m depressed, I want to sit at home. Like you said, I don’t want to get out of bed. Forcing myself to get out of bed, get dressed, drive to the hot pretzel place and buy a pretzel and a Diet Coke and sit in public. That’s like a lot of steps that actually is part of my get un-depressed routine. You feel bad for mocking it now, don’t you?

 

Michelle: I don’t really feel bad for mocking it. I mean,

 

Gabe: You should feel a little bit bad.

 

Michelle: When I need to get un-depressed, I just get up and I go and I surround myself with people.

 

Gabe: Ok, but right, so I’m trying to explain this using words that make sense to people other than us, but what I have learned and what it sounds like you’re saying, Michelle, is that giving in to the depression is not a way to beat the depression

 

Michelle: Oh, no, no.

 

Gabe: That we’ve got to take an active step.

 

Michelle: That depression, see if it was like a teddy bear, I would just beat the living nonsense out of that teddy bear. Throw it away or just slam it against a wall and be like, F you depression. I’m done with you. I’m going to live my life right now.

 

Gabe: Ok, that sounds fantastic, right? Look, even at what you said it I was like, yeah, yeah, but you’re depressed and you can’t move and you can’t get out of bed and you’re going to go three rounds with a teddy bear?

 

Michelle: No, not really, I mean, you know, being fired from so many jobs, sometimes you don’t show up to work and you never call in, and when you don’t show up to work because you can’t get out of bed because you’re so depressed, but then you can’t explain that to HR.

 

Gabe: Right. Right there, right there, Michelle, you and I have that in common, you and I have both been fired from jobs because of depression. But so there’s that day, right? You know, you’ve got to get up, you’re lying in bed and you’re like, If I don’t get out of bed and go to work, I’m not going to have a job, which means I’m not going to have money. I’m not going to have rent, I’m not going to have food, I’m not going to have vape, whatever the hell you give a shit about what. But you made the choice, or the choice was made for us where we’re like, Hell with it, I’m getting fired today. Ok, so that gets us through day one. Day one, we decided not to get out of bed. We lose our jobs. We’re fired. It was on our voicemail. It was on our answering machine. It was in our email. We got the text message, whatever. We’re now unemployed. Take us to day two. What do you do on day two? Do you still lay there and say, I don’t care?

 

Michelle: Well, no, then I, then I go into work and get fired.

 

Gabe: Oh, you actually go in to get fired. See, I always got fired by voicemail.

 

Michelle: That’s because you’re in Ohio.

 

Gabe: Oh, in Ohio, they’re allowed to fire you via voicemail, but in New York, they have to wait until your depression lifts, you come in and then fire you in person?

 

Michelle: Apparently.

 

Gabe: What if you just stay home forever, does that mean you can keep the job? Oh my god, Michelle, you’re an idiot. If you never would have gone into work, you coulda just stayed employed forever.

 

Michelle: That would have been a good thing, that would have been a good thing.

 

Gabe: You’d still have a job right now, you’d be like, I haven’t been there in 19 years, but they keep paying me.

 

Michelle: [Laughter]

 

Gabe: You’d still be on payroll at some other job because you’d be laying in bed.

 

Michelle: Whatever. Jobs suck, jobs make me depressed, working at an office makes me depressed.

 

Gabe: No, no, no, no, no.

 

Michelle: Yes, it does. Yes, it does.

 

Gabe: Jobs don’t make you depressed, mental illness makes you depressed.

 

Michelle: Listen, listen, listen, yes. You go to college, you learn how to do your craft or whatever, but the teachers, they never tell you about sitting behind a desk for eight hours a day and doing work while you’re not wearing sweatpants, and professors also never tell you that they have the best job ever because they barely work.

 

Gabe: I would like all teachers, professors, to direct their anger and outrage to info@Schizophrenic.NYC. That is Michelle Hammer’s personal email address, and you can tell her while explaining.

 

Michelle: It’s true.

 

Gabe: What do you mean, it’s true?

 

Michelle: It’s true,

 

Gabe: You literally make your living sit.

 

Michelle: It’s true. Professors have the best job, professors

 

Gabe: Ok.

 

Michelle: Have the best job ever. They just teach their experience.

 

Gabe: Hang on a second.

 

Michelle: They teach their experience to kids in college when they work. What? An hour? What’s one class is like two hours and like an hour later, they have class and then, like the art department, never had classes on Fridays, ever. They didn’t work on Fridays.

 

Gabe: I just want to make sure I understand this correctly, Michelle. So you’re telling me that somebody with a college degree that has to leave their house and teach people from their experience has the best job in the world, is super lazy and your job is to stay in your house, in your pajamas, not go to college and teach people about your lived experience? It sounds like your job is easier.

 

Michelle: They make way more money than me.

 

Gabe: And that’s just because you suck at your job, I make more money than they do and I don’t leave my house.

 

Michelle: Well, I don’t know how you got your jobs, Gabe.

 

Gabe: You know how.

 

Michelle: Screwing the boss.

 

Gabe: I am, I am super confused as to how we got here, because depression has, it’s knocked us both through so many loops. Random insult to a strange group of professionals aside, how did you get out of bed? Like I’m being serious. I can see the light in your eyes where you want to make fun of this because you’re uncomfortable with this idea. I understand that it’s difficult to admit that you’ve got this, this barrier in your life, especially like you Michelle you’re a hurricane, you’re a force to be reckoned with, and all that can just be halted by depression to where you just lay in bed and don’t want to move. And I I’m literally looking at Michelle right now. She is so uncomfortable with this idea that somebody would think that she can’t just beat the shit out of any problem that comes in front of her, but you can’t beat the shit out of depression. How do you deal with it when it happens?

 

Michelle: Well, Amazon Prime, you see, has all the episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and whatever I’m feeling, I know which exact episode to watch and I play it.

 

Gabe: Part of your get out of depression management is to find things that bring you joy and watch them to remind you of that joy. Like you just described Buffy and Angel. These things make you happy, so you watch these things to get happy?

 

Michelle: Let me recite you a line: No friends, no weapons, no hope. What’s left? Me. Boom. Right in the face.

 

Gabe: I’m going to assume that’s Buffy.

 

Michelle: Well, yeah.

 

Gabe: Why, why does Buffy have no friends?

 

Michelle: Because they were all gone.

 

Gabe: Did Buffy get her friends killed?

 

Michelle: And her weapons were taken away, her weapons were taken away, and then he was about to kill her. And he goes like, You know what’s left? And he aims the sword right at her and she stops it, and then she just goes me and bangs the sword back into his face.

 

Gabe: And.

 

Michelle: So that’s what I feel. No friends, no weapons. No hope. What is left? Me.

 

Gabe: So you also like the idea of like a mantra. I mean, you’re kind of describing a mantra. You have connected with this, this resonates with you and makes you feel? How does that mantra make you feel?

 

Michelle: What’s left? Me. I am in control of my destiny.

 

Gabe: I like that a lot. I don’t, I don’t generally watch television or like movies or stuff when I’m depressed, but I do have mantras and I know this is funny. This is also the same thing that I say to myself right before I go on stage to like to calm the nerves. Are you an MMA fan? Do you watch like fighting? UFC?

 

Michelle: I’ve seen it, I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of it.

 

Gabe: You know, the guy that comes out and like, introduces the fighters?

 

Michelle: Uh-huh.

 

Gabe: His name is Bruce Buffer and I love this guy, and he always says the same thing. He goes, We are live. Introducing first, this man is a mixed martial artist weighing two hundred and eighty pounds. Like he does it better. Like, he gets paid a lot of money. But I always think to myself, like when I, when I just don’t have the energy or the courage or the gumption, I just think we are live. Introducing first, this man is a bipolar advocate weighing in at two hundred and forty pounds with bright red hair. He practices lowering stigma. I just I don’t. I just make shit up, but it just makes me feel better this idea, and I’ve got like a theme song that I run through my head. It’s a really bad. I’m not going to tell you what the theme song is because I don’t want you to make fun of me, but.

 

Michelle: Is it Rocky? The Rocky theme?

 

Gabe: No, God, no.

 

Michelle: Ok?

 

Gabe: It’s a MMMBop, but it

 

Michelle: Yes.

 

Gabe: Just. But like all of this stuff, like music helps me, and I think music helps a lot of people. It’s like a really powerful idea, this idea of looking outside of ourselves to remember things that give us power. And you ever noticed that, like on Instagram or social media, it’s always like these really inspiring quotes and you’re like, No, I’m depressed. I watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I’m like, I’m depressed. I pretend to ring announcer from the ultimate fighting championship is announcing me as a mental health advocate.

 

Michelle: Are we losers?

 

Gabe: I mean, it’s been well established, we’re not winners. I I’m sincere, though I think people try to like raise their expectations. They try to be pithy. They try to come up with this like amazing prose. Yeah, man. If you’re depressed and MMMBop makes you feel better, you crank that up.

 

Michelle: Yeah.

 

Gabe: What is a song that makes you feel better when you hear it?

 

Michelle: The Thong Song.

 

Gabe: Does it really?

 

Michelle: No, I’m just making that up, I have no idea, I don’t know.

 

Gabe: I Like Big Butts. No, I mean, the song. I like this, I like the song Big Butts. But they’re fun songs, right? I mean, seriously, I think that people depression. Tip number 770 from a bipolar, a schizophrenic and a podcast. I think people need to make playlists. Right. We’re carrying around our phones, iPods, media players.

 

Michelle: From a distance

 

Gabe: We got it on our computers.

 

Michelle: Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo.

 

Gabe: Are you singing that to me?

 

Michelle: Da da da da da. God is watching us.

 

Gabe: Why is he spying on us?

 

Michelle: God is watching us.

 

Gabe: Stop it. This is my private time.

 

Michelle: God is watching us

 

Gabe: No, I said no.

 

Michelle: From a distance. Don’t you need a little Bette Midler in your life?

 

Gabe: I, you know, I mean just.

 

Michelle: You never seen Beaches?

 

Gabe: Uhm.

 

Michelle: Beaches will make you depressed.

 

Gabe: I, you know, it’s not, it’s not my thing, Michelle.

 

Michelle: You don’t watch Beaches?

 

Gabe: Uhm.

 

Michelle: What are you a straight man?

 

Gabe: Yeah, yeah, I know that comes as a distraction to you.

 

Michelle: Did you ever know that you’re

 

Gabe: Are you still singing?

 

Michelle: My hero? Ooh.

 

Gabe: Actually, Michelle, I did know that I was your hero.

 

Michelle: That’s from Beaches.

 

Gabe: No, I thought you were singing that to me.

 

Michelle: No, that’s from Beaches.

 

Gabe: As fun as this has been, Michelle, I really think a solid depression management technique is when you are feeling well, when you are feeling good, think about songs that uplift you, that make you feel well and create a playlist called like when I’m depressed, keep it on your phone, which we always have on us. And when you wake up and you’re like, I can’t get motivated. I can’t move. Boom, press when emergency and listen, we should be making like other types of playlists, right? We have exercise playlists. Everybody I know who exercise has like that exercise playlist. And if you go to any sporting event they’ve got [Singing]

 

Michelle: [Singing]

 

Gabe: That’s a multibillion dollar industry that knows that music can change the way we feel about it. And, you know, when they play all those songs, like when the home team is losing, like, all right, you paid two hundred dollars to watch the team get creamed, but we know how to make you feel better about it. Are you ready for this? Nah, nah, nah, nah,

 

Michelle: Or it’s who let the dogs out?

 

Gabe: Oof, oof, oof, oof.

 

Michelle: Who let the dogs out?

 

Gabe: Oof, oof, oof, oof.

 

Michelle: Who let the dogs out?

 

Gabe: Oof, oof, oof, oof. I don’t care that my team is losing. The dogs are out. Woo. I mean, this was this well understood psychology that billion dollar corporations are using on us. We have every song imaginable at our fingertips. Make a playlist.

 

Michelle: I’m just going to get my old Jock Jams CD.

 

Gabe: Oh, my God, you said CD, like the younger listeners

 

Michelle: Jock Jams.

 

Gabe: Like, what’s that?

 

Michelle: Jock jams came on a CD.

 

Gabe: But yeah.

 

Michelle: Maybe I can find a Spotify playlist that has all of those Jock Jams. We like to party. We like we like to party. We like to party. We like we like to party. Don’t, don’t, don’t. You know, you remember, did you ever have the Jock Jams CD?

 

Gabe: I did. That’s what’s sad, as you said it, I was like, Oh, I loved that CD. Now That’s What We Call Music 1. I had that CD.

 

Michelle: I had Now That’s What We Call Music 3. And they’re up to like, what, 78?

 

Gabe: Oh, they’re up to like 150. So I think that’s just a really good tip that we can use, whether it’s podcasts, music, episodes, movies, whatever it is, keep a book handy. Just think to the idea of I am here and I want to move a little bit forward. So that’s a fun one. Let’s talk about not so fun ones, right? So many people, myself included. When I’m depressed. Everything seems monumental. So it’s like I want to leave the house, right? Ok, well, in order to leave the house, I’ve got to do a whole bunch of stuff, right? I got to I got to take a shower, I got to shave, I’ve got to get dressed. I got to put on clothes.

 

Michelle: What is the shower and shaving you have to do before you leave the house?

 

Gabe: I do have to shower and shave before I leave the house.

 

Michelle: I never shower and shave if I have to leave the house when I’m depressed.

 

Gabe: But OK, fine, you have your rules, I have mine, there’s just certain things that you have to do. We can both agree that you have to put on pants when you’re depressed and you want to leave the house.

 

Michelle: But do you have to put on underwear under your pants?

 

Gabe: I look, this is a personal decision, but I believe yes.

 

Michelle: Ok.

 

Gabe: How do we feel about shoes?

 

Michelle: Do you have to wear socks in your shoes? Do you have to put a bra on?

 

Gabe: I do not have to put a bra on, but you probably should.

 

Michelle: Ok. Do I have to put makeup on?

 

Gabe: Once again, that is a personal decision for some people, they won’t leave the house unless they do. For others, they don’t care. You are illustrating that this is very customizable.

 

Michelle: But I should put a mask on. I got to put a mask on

 

Gabe: Yeah, right now you got to find your mask.

 

Michelle: Because then no one can see me talking to myself. Ha.

 

Gabe: That has been a benefit in the post-COVID era.

 

Michelle: That’s a tip, schizo tip, wear a mask, no one can see you talking to yourself.

 

Gabe: Before your advice was to wear Bluetooth, so nobody would hear you talking to yourself.

 

Michelle: It’s both. It’s become both.

 

Gabe: Listen, Michelle focus for a minute.

 

Michelle: Ok.

 

Gabe: The point is that leaving the house involves all of these steps, they’re individualized, but there are steps and that seems like really, really daunting when you’re depressed. And many people won’t leave the house because they just can’t put together the string of steps that they need. I recommend this system get out one of those dry erase markers and again, buy all this stuff before you’re depressed, keep it in your bathroom write on your bathroom mirror all of the steps for me, as I’ve said, it is, you know, get out of bed, take shower, shave, you know, put on underwear, put on pants, find shoes, leave. And actually, the number one thing that I do is create list, right? And then so as soon as I get done with the list, I can mark off create list. That’s a success. I successfully created a list of all the steps that I need to take to get out of the house Celebrating that makes me feel better than I get in the shower. As soon as I get out of the shower, I scratch off, take a shower. Now that’s off the list. Dry off can be on the list for you. Michelle put on bra makeup, whatever, whatever it is for you. Write them all down. Leaving the house involves like five, 10, 15 separate accomplishments that are all worth noting and celebrating, and those celebrations they start to build up in you, so you really feel successful. There’s a psychological benefit to accomplishing things and crossing them off lists. It’s well understood. It’s why we all like our DVRs, TiVo’s and streaming services because we can just keep crossing that stuff off the list and feel like we’re accomplishing something, even though we’ve sat on the couch for 48 straight hours.

 

Michelle: You make a good point, does TiVo still exist?

 

Gabe: I own a TiVo.

 

Michelle: Oh, so it does still exist,

 

Gabe: It does still exist.

 

Michelle: That’s all I had to say. Oh, everything you just said, that’s the only thing I had comprehended.

 

Gabe: You don’t know what a DVR and streaming services are?

 

Michelle: It’s called the TiVo.

 

Gabe: No, no, TiVo was first.

 

Michelle: I know what TiVo is, I just didn’t know TiVo still existed, Gabe, OK.

 

Gabe: TiVo does still exist.

 

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Michelle:

 

Gabe: Michelle, when you’re depressed, do you compare yourself to other people?

 

Michelle: Yes.

 

Gabe: Isn’t this like a thing to do when you’re depressed, you just think about all the people who are doing better than you so you can make yourself feel worse.

 

Michelle: I find myself blocking people like that, so I don’t have to see their stuff.

 

Gabe: No, no answer, the specific question Michelle, when you are depressed, do you start comparing yourself to other people so that you can further beat yourself up? Do you say things like, Well, Bob is my same age and he has a master’s degree?

 

Michelle: I was doing that, I was doing that, and then I stopped and I started doing, I’m going to do my own thing and not care about what other people are doing because I’m doing my thing. And if I care too much about what other people are doing and if I compare myself to other people, I’m going to get depressed and I don’t want to be depressed. So I’m concentrating on myself and doing my thing. I’m doing my thing and not caring about anyone else because if I do more than just depression, I’ll get angry. That happens to me more often. I’ll get angry. Is that a depression symptom?

 

Gabe: How did you accomplish that, though, like how did you cultivate this?

 

Michelle: I was I was getting because I was getting depressed and I was like, you know what? What’s one step? What’s one thing that will make me not as depressed by it, by seeing these certain things? Stop seeing these things in my Instagram feed. Move these things so I don’t have to see them and give myself opportunities doing things with whatever, like doing this podcast or doing my YouTube, doing my Instagram, doing this, doing that, make myself busy enough that I can get over being depressed in some ways or try my best to do other things.

 

Gabe: So that’s a little bit of a combo deal, because what you’ve described could prevent depression, but you’re saying that it also helps you once you’re depressed.

 

Michelle: Motivation.

 

Gabe: The biggest thing that you said is you get rid of certain people or topics or things on social media. Do you find that social media one causes depression? But since this is a show about getting out of depression, do you find that when you’re depressed, when you’re on social media, it makes you more depressed?

 

Michelle: Oh, social media completely makes you depressed.

 

Gabe: What can you do to control social media so that when you’re depressed, it doesn’t make you more depressed?

 

Michelle: Find out what triggers you on social media and make sure it doesn’t show up anymore.

 

Gabe: Like, just block it, control your technology.

 

Michelle: Yes.

 

Gabe: I know that when I’m really depressed, I seek out things to make me more depressed. I do, and I know I do it. This is a self-awareness that I’ve learned after years and years and years of therapy. I feel like garbage. So I want to support that by finding people who will make me feel like garbage. Do you do that?

 

Michelle: No, no, no, no, I do the exact opposite, I get rid of the things that make me feel like garbage, and then I do things for myself like I made a YouTube channel, right? You can find it at youtube.com/SchizophrenicNYC. Shameless plug.

 

Gabe: Yeah, yeah. Shameless plug. Who knew that was coming?

 

Michelle: It just makes me feel good about myself, and every now and then I get new subscribers. I get some interesting comments. You never know what’s going to happen and why not just do that? I find it fun. I think it helps some people. Some people say that it’s very informative. It’s also the COVID times. You know, I had a pop up shop before COVID. I made double the amount of money. But am I supposed to be depressed about that? No, it’s not me doing something wrong. It’s external factors affecting my business. I’m not doing anything wrong with my business. There’s no more tourists anymore to buy the clothing. I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s external factors. Why should I be so depressed that I’m not making as much money? It’s not me.

 

Gabe: How did you come to this realization, because when depression hits me, I don’t even know why. I’m just like, I hate myself and I’m that’s what I say. I say, I hate myself. I’m worthless, I’m pointless. And then to use your example and I’ll say things like, of course I’m worthless. I’m not making as much money. I don’t have the gear when I’m depressed. To do what you just did was, which is to talk myself out of the fact that it’s not my fault. How did you get there?

 

Michelle: I still get messages all the time that I’m an inspiration to people that they need people like me in their country, I still get amazing messages all the time, like before we were talking about my Instagram and then I’m losing followers, right? I might be losing followers, but I still get amazing messages from people telling me how I inspire them. So even though I’m losing followers, I still have amazing followers at the same time.

 

Gabe: But what does it look like for other people? Not everybody has a podcast, a YouTube channel, is a mental health advocate or gets emails telling them that they’re an inspiration. The average person doesn’t.

 

Michelle: Everybody has some kind of skill in different things. Everybody has their strengths. Everybody has their weaknesses. Find something you do well and that you like to do. It doesn’t matter what exactly you’re doing, you don’t know if you’re doing it right, you’re doing it wrong, but do something that gives you just a little bit of joy, a little bit of whatever and then go for it.

 

Gabe: It sounds like you’re describing be your own biggest fan, like be your own biggest supporter.

 

Michelle: Yes, you just took my jumbles and made it make sense.

 

Gabe: But you’re also describing a support system, right? Michelle, and I believe it or not, we are buddies and every now and again, I will send Michelle attacks and I’ll say, you know, I’m depressed. I feel like shit. Usually the f word is involved because we swear in real life, but Michelle will always write back, you know, some version of, you know, don’t you’re the big, red headed monster. But she means it funny, right? I mean, she’ll try to comfort me. I think everybody needs a friend that understands their depression, and that’s not something that I had for a long time. It wasn’t until I really started getting involved in like support groups, but I like that dynamic because if Michelle sends me a text message that says I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. That’s Michelle’s version of I’m depressed. I’m not accomplishing anything. I’m not making any progress. Well, I don’t just write her back and say, Yes, you are. Stop complaining. I write back like, Well, why do you think that? What do you want to achieve? What’s going on? Why do you feel bad? And Michelle and I talk it out, then that’s really surface. It’s, you know, obviously we do sometimes have deeper conversations, believe it or not, but it’s just nice to have somebody to talk to that won’t judge you and won’t tell you that you’re being dramatic. Michelle, do you find that a lot that when you reach out to certain people and tell them that you’re feeling badly or that you feel like you’re just not accomplishing what you need to do, they give you some, Oh, you’re the best person I know. Why are you complaining? You know how many people who would love to be in your position? Oh, this is a first world problem, you complainer. Do you get that shit a lot?

 

Michelle: I’ve gotten like, well, if you don’t think you’re good enough with how many followers you have. Does that mean that I’m not worth it because I have so many less followers than you?

 

Gabe: Yeah, way to make it about you.

 

Michelle: Yeah, way to make it about you.

 

Gabe: Yeah, I asked for help way to make it about you, so clearly Michelle, I am assuming that the next time you’re feeling like shit, you don’t reach out to that person anymore.

 

Michelle: Mm hmm.

 

Gabe: Yeah, but you found people who you can. You’ve got to a close support group. Michelle won’t admit it, but a big member of her support group is her mom.

 

Michelle: Remember when she stopped listening to this podcast because she couldn’t take what everything I was saying about her?

 

Gabe: You. You beat up on her every day. I wouldn’t listen to this podcast if I wasn’t on it, you’re mean to me.

 

Michelle: [Laughter]

 

Gabe: Your dad loves the podcast.

 

Michelle: Remember when he told me to stop talking about your nipples?

 

Gabe: I do. I do and stop calling me fire crotch. I remember when I met your dad, your dad’s like, I know why people love the podcast, Gabe and I was like, Why? And he’s like, because Michelle yells and screams and talks and like nonsense and gibberish. And then somehow you make it make sense. I’m like, So I’m the Michelle whisperer. And he goes, Huh? I guess you are.

 

Michelle: That is not even what he sounds like.

 

Gabe: That that’s exactly what it sounds like.

 

Michelle: You know, it’s not.

 

Gabe: That is Jeff Hammer perfectly.

 

Michelle: No, it’s not.

 

Gabe: Ok, what’s he sound like?

 

Michelle: Hey, how are you doing? What are you doing today? Ok? I went to the farmer’s market and I sharpened knives. Yeah. And then I asked him, how often is the farmer’s market? I was wondering if you could pop up here? That’s what I did today. Yeah. Oh, you know, this is actually really, really funny. My dad was in the paper because he made a bunch of friends with a whole bunch of old men, right? And they go get coffee together. And they were the people called the Romeo Group standing for really old men eating out. And so they were all hanging out and like an old woman, would come and say, My husband needs friends. Can he come hang out with you guys? So my dad has a whole group of old men, friends that are retired and they just hang out together. And it made the paper.

 

Gabe: So this is an accomplishment that your dad can use when he’s depressed, he can create like a scrapbook that he can look at.

 

Michelle: My dad has no depression whatsoever.

 

Gabe: But does that make you mad? Now I know you’re going to explain it. Yeah, we know you love your dad or whatever, but doesn’t that annoy you? Doesn’t it annoy you that there are people in your life that never get depressed? It annoys me. Like, I get angry about it. I’m like, How dare you not have to suffer like me?

 

Michelle: He doesn’t even know what depression is.

 

Gabe: Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know he’s got a good how do you feel about that? Does it piss you off?

 

Michelle: No.

 

Gabe: Really? See, I get angry, I get angry that there are certain people in my life whom I love so much, but I just one time my grandmother said to me, she said, I have arthritis and arthritis as hell and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I looked up at her and she paused for a second. She goes, But I think everybody should have it for a day. I was like, Oh my God, why? And she goes, Because then they wouldn’t say stupid shit. I was like, Oh my god. At first I just thought she was a batty old woman. But actually, that’s like genius. I wish that everybody could experience depression just for like 10 minutes. So that way, when I say I have depression, they won’t say stupid shit.

 

Michelle: Like buck up, old chap.

 

Gabe: Well, you have more than most. Stop and smell the roses.

 

Michelle: This, too, shall pass.

 

Gabe: You know, I hate that one, it is what it is, and this too shall pass. I have like a like a love hate relationship with those saints because on one hand, this will pass. We need to believe that.

 

Michelle: But you know that this too shall pass always also applies to when you’re happy.

 

Gabe: Right. See, that’s the when you’re happy, you will become sad, when you are sad, you will become happy. No matter what you experience, it will change. Is that comforting.

 

Michelle: No, I think this too shall pass is the dumbest thing ever because I learned it when I was very young, and I know that it means when you’re happy, you will be sad and when you’re sad, you will be happy. I’ve always known that.

 

Gabe: How do you feel about it is what it is?

 

Michelle: It is what it is. You say that when you have nothing else to say.

 

Gabe: I kind of feel that way, too.

 

Michelle: If you don’t know what to say, if you have nothing else to say, you don’t know what to say and you can’t think of anything, you just go, it is what it is.

 

Gabe: But isn’t it also true, I mean, it is what it is.

 

Michelle: That’s what it is. It is what it is. I don’t know. It is what it is.

 

Gabe: So your issue isn’t with the words. Your issue is the context behind it, which is when people say it to you, it’s because they’ve given up.

 

Michelle: Yes.

 

Gabe: They no longer care or want to help you. They’ve just given up.

 

Michelle: It is, but that’s just how it is, it is what it is. Ok, well, thanks for the solution to the problem.

 

Gabe: Like, would you prefer people do nothing but sit with you or say it is what it is?

 

Michelle: I would rather just sit with somebody, not just say, oh, it is what it is, and I’ll hang up the phone.

 

Gabe: Yeah, I hate it when people feel like they have to fix it. That is what I like about you, Michelle whenever I tell you that I’m depressed, you’re just like, OK, like, that’s cool, right? Like, you’re not just like. Well, Gabe, you got to do the following things to fix. I mean, we talk it out. We talk about some things. You ask me if there’s something that happened, right? I mean, you’re a decent person and a good friend, but ultimately, you’re like, Yeah, you’re going to have to be depressed right now. Like, that’s part of the process. And, you know, hope for a better tomorrow. I guess you don’t say anything stupid to me. Never once have you sent me one of those dumb ass Instagram posts with, like some quote written on a chalkboard with some like Pretty Girl, almost always like an eighteen year old white girl, like scantily clad standing there looking all, oh, wistful. Oh, I hate that. I hate that depression has been reduced to memes to some people that you can send some quote and people will feel better.

 

Michelle: Never in the history of time has somebody calmed down when somebody had told them to calm down.

 

Gabe: Right. So why on earth would anybody cheer up because somebody sent them a quote?

 

Michelle: Well, you know, Gabe, it is what it is.

 

Gabe: You know what’s messed up, if anybody peeps our social media right now, it’s got so many of those,

 

Michelle: I’ve got so many quotes on my social media, it’s unreal.

 

Gabe: We share quotes all the time.

 

Michelle: People like them, for some reason,

 

Gabe: People do, but I.

 

Michelle: People like them, I cheer about as I said, I’m losing followers, so who knows?

 

Gabe: That’s true. Maybe they’re losing followers because you’re not saying anything original?

 

Michelle: Yeah. Maybe I don’t know, who knows?

 

Gabe: Maybe they’re tired of all this, you know, pithy white girl shit.

 

Michelle: Pithy white girl nonsense.

 

Gabe: Yeah, do you have a picture of you scantily clad standing next to him that’ll get your followers, but not the kind you want?

 

Michelle: Yeah. Maybe scantily clad schizophrenic OnlyFans.

 

Gabe: Did you say schizophrenic OnlyFans?

 

Michelle: That’s right. And so I’m going to start, Gabe, schizophrenic OnlyFans. There we go.

 

Gabe: That’s your big plan to beat depression?

 

Michelle: I’m going to bone a hallucination.

 

Gabe: For those who have been listening attentively the entire time and forget what the topic is, the topic is going from depressed to undepressed moving forward with depression, getting, I don’t know, back to normal. I know we’ve given you a lot of nonsense mixed in, but I think we’ve gotten a few solid tips in there. Michelle But let’s break it down for our listeners. We will each give one takeaway that they can use to help move forward with depression. Ladies first.

 

Michelle: You don’t have to put on makeup before you leave the House if you’re depressed.

 

Gabe: That’s the takeaway? Really? The patriarchy?

 

Michelle: Do not compare yourself to other people. You are you. You got this. You do the thing. You got it.

 

Gabe: Along those lines celebrate small victories. So often when we’re depressed, we think there’s only two options, depressed or not depressed. Like that’s it, and I really really really think we need to be celebrating all of the small victories along the way. Things like getting out of bed or getting dressed or taking a shower or leaving the house. We need to remember to celebrate ourselves for what we accomplish. You have been listening to A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast. Wherever you downloaded this episode, please subscribe or follow. It’s one hundred percent free to do so. And can you do Gabe and Michelle a solid? Tell someone about this show. Word of mouth, text message.

 

Michelle: Share the show.

 

Gabe: Yeah, just share the show, and if you’re interested in the first clothing line started by a schizophrenic New York chick, go to her online store at Schizophrenic.NYC.

 

Michelle: And if you’re interested in Gabe’s book “Mental Illness Is an Asshole and Other Observations,” go to his website, gabehoward.com, and grab a signed copy with free swag.

 

Gabe: Michelle and I both travel nationally as speakers, you can find more information about that on our respective websites. And we want to give some love to our sponsor who allows us to do the show. Do you want to save 10 percent on your first month of online therapy? Check out BetterHelp by going to BetterHelp.com/BSP22. See you next Tuesday for the final episode in Season 2!

 

Michelle: This too shall pass.

 

Announcer: You’ve been listening to A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast, Season 2. Previous episodes can be found on your favorite podcast player or by visiting ThisEmotionalLife.org/BSP. Have comments or show ideas? Hit up the show at BSP@ThisEmotionalLife.org. Gabe and Michelle are not medical professionals. This podcast is not a substitute for medical advice and is for entertainment purposes only. If you need help, please call your doctor, emergency services, the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741. Thank you for listening.

Gabe Howard

Gabe Howard is a professional speaker, writer, and activist living with severe bipolar and anxiety disorders. Diagnosed in 2003, he has made it his mission to put a human face on mental illness. Society often sees people living with mental illness at their worst and he works to add a more balanced view. Gabe Howard is the recipient of the 2014 Norman Guitry Award, given by Mental Health America to the person who shows exceptional leadership in promoting mental illness awareness and prevention in the community.


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