Balancing Support and Boundaries: Navigating Mental Health Challenges in Friendship


A Bipolar, A Schizophrenic, and a Podcast

In today’s episode, Gabe and Michelle discuss the challenges Michelle faces with her friend who exhibits erratic and aggressive behavior, likely due to untreated mental illness. Despite Michelle’s continued efforts to support her friend, including texting her mom and trying to be there, she struggles with the constant verbal abuse and feels unable to help effectively. Gabe suggests setting firm boundaries and considering intervention via 988 when her friend’s behavior becomes dangerous, but both recognize the difficulty and complexity of the situation.



Hosts of A Bipolar, A Schizophrenic, and a Podcast

gabe howard mental health advocate

Gabe 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

michelle hammer

Michelle Hammer is a mental health advocate and the founder of the mental health clothing and lifestyle brand Schizophrenic.NYC. She is known for her efforts to raise awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental health issues, particularly schizophrenia. She is an NYC native featured in the WebMD documentary Voices, which was nominated for a Tribeca X Award at the Tribeca Film Festival. She has also been featured in media outlets such as ABC, NBC, and CBS. You can find Michelle’s newest Home and Living line at Home.Schizophrenic.NYC where she brings her artwork into practical home essentials.

Transcript for A Bipolar, A Schizophrenic, And A Podcast: Balancing Support and Boundaries: Navigating Mental Health Challenges in Friendship

Gabe: That’s a really big burden on you. I mean, you can’t be responsible for keeping somebody alive. One, you just can’t be. It is not possible. Right? That’s not a power that we have. She needs medical care. She needs. You might be a force to drive her towards medical care, but you’re not a force where you can be with her 24/7 and make sure nothing bad happens. It’s just not possible.

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


Gabe: Welcome to the podcast everyone. My name is Gabe and I’m bipolar.


Michelle: And I’m Michelle and I’m schizophrenic.


Gabe: And we want to thank everybody for tuning in and remind you, if you want to see future episodes of this podcast, please go to and donate to support the podcast. As we’re coming near the end of the season, we really haven’t raised enough money to do another season, but we’re super hopeful to do season five. All right, Michelle, enough about that. What do you want to talk about today?


Michelle: Well, I have this friend.


Gabe: Oh no no no no. Okay. Is it a good friend or a bad friend?


Michelle: Well, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve known her for many, many years, almost, almost eight years now. And I’m worried. I’m really worried. And I’m getting a little scared. And I at this point I’m. I don’t know what to do because I.


Gabe: Okay. When you say you’re getting scared about your friend and you don’t know what to do. What? Give me. Give me, like, an exact example. Like, what


Michelle: Uhm.


Gabe: Is she doing that’s concerning you?


Michelle: Well, she’s losing a lot of friends because she’s starting fights and she yells at them constantly, yells at everybody. Everyone. There’s always a reason for her to yell at everybody saying how she’s right. Everyone’s wrong. Then she’s always. She opens up to me constantly saying she’s going on this medicine and that medicine is going to work for her. But then in the morning, if she doesn’t have her medicine, she’s screaming like a crazy person, screaming, screaming, screaming. And then she told me that she almost jumped off her balcony and that she had a whole, like, intervention with her psychiatrist and her mom. But the thing is. I’m getting vibes of my friend that that died by suicide in 2001. I’m getting that vibe now from her, where everything she’s doing is pushing people away. I feel like everything keeps going badly, and I feel like she she’s living in that world where there’s no hope for the future. That’s what that real vibe that I’m getting from her is that she sees. I see no joy in her future anymore, like her life has just gone to just sadness. And I don’t know how to help her anymore because like I said, how she’s pushing people away. She has pushed me away so hard. Not by her meaning to push me away, but I cannot stand her anymore. She’s just driven me almost away by the things she’s said to me. But then she expects me to be friends with her.


Gabe: Wait, wait, wait. What things has she said to you that makes you not be able to stand her anymore?


Michelle: Almost ever. Ugh. I don’t like the other day we were like her dog was over and we were playing with the other dog, and I don’t know what I said, but I was like, oh, whatever, eat a calm treat. She goes, did you just tell me to eat a calm treat? Don’t tell me to eat a calm treat. I don’t eat to calm down. You don’t need to speak to me that way. You need to apologize. Do you know what it’s like to be suicidal? And I was like, yes. She goes, so, you know, you can’t say that to somebody like me. You can’t say that to somebody like, I’m like, geez.


Gabe: She just starts screaming at you for no reason?


Michelle: That’s what she does. And then it always happens when we hang out. Because, you know, Gabe, you and I, we chit chat back and forth. We chit chat a lot, like you and


Gabe: Yeah,


Michelle: Me. We make jokes, we joke around.


Gabe: Yeah, we do.


Michelle: You cannot make a joke with her. You can’t make a joke. Because it’s not funny. It’s not funny. You can’t joke about that. It’s not funny. That’s what she says.


Gabe: Well, now here’s the thing that’s going through my mind, though, is what you’re describing her personality or is what you’re describing mental illness because obviously if it’s mental illness, you don’t want to stop being somebody’s friend because they have mental illness. Like if you were symptomatic Michelle and you did something, I’d be like, well, Michelle was symptomatic. That’s part of, you know, having a friend who has schizophrenia, and I understand that. But other things that you do, I’m just like, don’t do that again. Like I don’t care. And you’re like, okay, I can respect that boundary, Gabe. But if you kept doing it, I’d be like, well, she’s not a good friend. And I don’t have any examples of that because we’re still friends and you’re a good friend. But how are you deciding that this is part of her mental illness and not part of her personality?


Michelle: She never used to be like this. This? This is not the person that I met years ago. She’s changed so much because a lot of things have gone on with her life, and I understand that. And I’ve always stuck by her. I’ve always continued to be her friend. I still hang out with her, but every time I’m with her, I never know what I’m going to say. That’s going to end up with her yelling at me about something.  


Gabe: And this makes you not want to invite her over anymore.


Michelle: Yes. I don’t want to invite her over. And sometimes she’ll ask me to come over and I’ll just be like, I’m busy, I can’t.


Gabe: Wow, I, I, I’ve never heard it from this perspective. Like when people avoided me, I only knew it from the was abandoned perspective. I’m now hearing it from the abandoner and I understand, like who wants to be yelled at? Like you said, you were just making a joke with somebody and then they start screaming and lecturing you. That’s got to be shitty.


Michelle: Listen to this. This one. I think maybe you could understand. We’re watching a movie. I forget which movie it was, and there was a sex scene. She said, this is what’s wrong with society. People watch these movies and they see these sex scenes. They think they know what it’s like. They don’t know what this is. What’s wrong? Turn this movie off. So because a sex scene came on and she thinks, you know, you know, sex scenes in movies aren’t really actual, like real life. She’s saying people believe that that’s what real sex looks like. So that’s the worst thing in all of society, and it’s ruining society. And only she knows it. But everyone else has to know it. So we had to turn that movie off because she thought it was so bad for society. After watching the sex scene that was on for 30s. Do you want to be around this person?


Gabe: I don’t want to be around this person based on what you’ve described. And what’s fascinating to me is, I mean, I guess she’s right. People do get ridiculous notions of sex


Michelle: Yes.


Gabe: Based on movies. I mean, in a movie, sex in the shower and sex in a hot tub looks super sexy. I want to disclose, I have tried both. Both are terrible. It is a terrible environment, but it looks so hot and sexy on TV. But here’s the thing I. Lots of stuff in movies are fake.


Michelle: Yes.


Gabe: I mean, in movies people get shot and they keep fighting. In real life, somebody shoots you. Even if you don’t die, you’re not still fighting. You’re just like, oh, that hurts.


Michelle: Mm-hmm.


Gabe: I just, I, I don’t even know. Like she expected reality in her movie. It’s fiction. It’s a movie.


Michelle: That’s what I’m saying. You can’t even watch a movie with her. You can’t just watch a movie with her because you never know when she’s going to start popping off about something. And she used to be one of my best friends.


Gabe: Have you tried to talk to like any of your mutual friends? I mean, there’s an idea.


Michelle: We don’t have mutual friends. We have no. Well, we have one mutual friend. They got in a fight on the phone, so they don’t. So they don’t talk to each other anymore.


Gabe: So you’re like it now?


Michelle: She said that I’m like her only friend and I can’t stand her.


Gabe: There’s you. You’re my only friend and I can’t stand you. Okay, I, I see where this has become problematic, but it does seem like you want to help her.


Michelle: I do want to help her. I try, but I. I never know what I’m going to do that’s going to make her pop off like crazy. I never know what I’m going to say. Who knows? She’s always screaming about something. There’s always a reason for her to be screaming. Like she’ll yell at her dog. So she yells at her dog so much like screaming at him when her dog is so well-behaved, like, so well-behaved. It’s, we’ll be walking our dogs. And it’s embarrassing because she’s screaming at her dog in the street, and I’m trying to be like, I’m not associated with that person over there. That’s embarrassing. Everyone’s like, why is this girl yelling at her dog? I don’t know what to do. What am I supposed to do? Because, you know, I know, I have a mental illness. I’m supposed to be, you know, except people with mental illness more or more, more and empathic or whatever it is, I have more empathy. But like, there comes a point where I’m just like, I am exhausted when I am around you.


Gabe: It sounds like you feel like you’re walking on eggshells whenever you’re near her,


Michelle: Yes.


Gabe: That just everything that you do is wrong, everything is suspect, and there’s nothing that you can contribute except to be a punching bag for this woman.


Michelle: Exactly, exactly. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I mean, she’s got there’s been a few hardships throughout the years which would make anyone very, very upset. There’s been scam artists. She’s lost a lot of money. People said that she trusted people and they ended up screwing her over. And anyone would not be doing well with what happened to her. But I don’t think everyone, if this happened to them, would be so mean to the people that are nice to her. When I think of myself back in the day when, you know, she says she’s suicidal. When I was suicidal, I was very nice to the people around me because I wanted to be with people. I wanted people to like me because I didn’t want to be alone, because that’s when I felt the worst. She seems to want people around her, but she’s not really nice to the people around her, so that makes them not want to be there. Because I’m just thinking when I was there, I, I would let people say mean things to me because I wanted to just be around people. But she’s not she just she she’s not doing it the way that I did it.


Gabe: I mean, obviously it’s going to present, like you’re fond of saying, if you meet one schizophrenic, you’ve met one schizophrenic. If you meet one person with bipolar disorder, you’ve met one person with bipolar disorder. If you meet one person with mental illness, you’ve met one person with mental illness. So I’m not surprised that she’s not Michelle Hammer.


Michelle: Right? Yeah.


Gabe: Right? I mean that that much. But I one of the things that you said is that she says that she’s suicidal. You she’s flat


Michelle: Yes.


Gabe: Out admitted that she’s suicidal. Just out of curiosity, why don’t you call 988 or 911 and say, hey, my friend has just told me that she’s a danger to herself. She says that she’s suicidal. She needs to go inpatient and get stabilized.


Michelle: I know, and we’ve tried to text her mom before saying, like, you know, she’s not okay. She’s not okay. Her mom just replies with her dad is very sick and dying from Parkinson’s.


Gabe: But how does that help her suicidal daughter?


Michelle: It doesn’t like her. Mom just doesn’t understand how bad it is, because I don’t know if her mom really understands, like, really does. Like I’ve heard them get in fights on the phone. Also, she’s just so out of reality sometimes. Like she lives in a three bedroom with a washer and a dryer and a dishwasher and it’s a mess. If I had a washer and a dryer, I would always have clothes that are clean and I would always have a clean sink with my dishwasher. These are things I think about all the time, and she’s a one person and a three bedroom and it’s a disaster. It is a disaster like you’ve never seen. And she online shops all the time. Just new clothes and new boxes all the time. I get a lot of free stuff from her. It’s actually very convenient. I get a lot of nice clothes from her.


Gabe: I’m going to call a little bullshit here. I’ve got a say, I don’t think any apartment that you had would ever be clean. I don’t care how many rooms. I don’t care, washer and dryer. I don’t care about any of that. I don’t think that you are capable of having a clean house to save your life. [Laughter]


Michelle: Okay. Okay. Right? Right. But if you had a washer and dryer, Gabe, would you have four bags full of dirty laundry?


Gabe: I mean, if I was depressed, I would. Wouldn’t you?


Michelle: If I had my own washer and dryer, I wouldn’t have four bags full. Four giant bags full of dirty laundry.


Gabe: What about during a depressive episode, though? I think you would. And I do have a washer and dryer. But you are right. I don’t have four bags of laundry.


Michelle: To me that says a certain thing.


Gabe: It says depression.


Michelle: Okay, fine. I guess we can call that depression, I guess. I guess I guess that is. And I didn’t realize it, but I’m just saying she even hires someone to come help her clean all of her dishes and stuff and clean her house. But it’s a mess. You open the kitchen and it’s just mold. Her sink is just piled of dishes and she has a dishwasher. That’s what I don’t understand. I might have a lot of dirty dishes, but if I had a dishwasher, I can handle that way more.


Gabe: Well, just out of curiosity, Michel, you said that you were surprised that it was depression, or you’re like, okay, fine, maybe it’s depression. What did you think it was if it’s not depression?


Michelle: I don’t know because when I’m around her, she just yells at me. For some reason when I’m around her, she just yells at me. So that’s all the everything I get from her is her just screaming at me for some something stupid, or then she’s just talking to me regular. I don’t experience her depression parts. She doesn’t have that around me. I guess that’s what she does when she’s alone. I’m just always getting yelled at for something or we’re having a silly time. That’s what I get. Or wait, wait, wait, something will happen. Like she forgot her Starbucks at home, and then she came here. And then she cried because her Starbucks was expensive and she left it home.


Gabe: I mean, that’s definitely a symptom of something. I mean, most people don’t behave that way.


Michelle: I. But the thing is, how do I help her? Because I don’t know what to do. Because what I can keep saying every time I try, something happens and I’m getting yelled at. So I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know what to do.


Gabe: Okay. Well, you said, how do you help her? Why didn’t you call 988 or 911?


Michelle: I don’t know. There’s something specifically I would say have to happen for me to call that.


Gabe: You mean like her saying that she’s going to kill herself, which she has said?


Michelle: She has said she’s suicidal.


Gabe: That’s what those words mean. That’s like saying, you’ve got to say you’re going to kill somebody, right? She said she’s homicidal.


Michelle: Well, actually, the bank once actually called the cops on her for doing that. The bank did that to her.


Gabe: Okay. What happened?


Michelle: She got them to leave.


Gabe: But at least you know that you did your part, though. I mean, there is something about that. Have you considered taking her to an appointment? I’m trying to think of ways that you as a friend, can help, but I’m trying to think of things that people have done for me.


Michelle: She’s got a doctor and she says she loves her doctor.


Gabe: Does she go to the doctor?


Michelle: She well over zoom or whatever. And she said it’s been for 12 years and she loves this person.


Gabe: Well, but I mean, is she taking the medicine as prescribed? Is she doing what the doctor says? Have you said to her you are not getting better?


Michelle: The thing is, she doesn’t want any weight gain. So.


Gabe: Well, I mean, that’s understandable.


Michelle: The meds that would help her. The best, I think might make her gain slightly a little bit of weight because also the problem one of the bigger problems is an eating disorder, which I think really adds a lot to it, because if you’re hungry all the time, you’re not going to be happy.


Gabe: Yeah. I mean, it sounds like you’re going back and forth as to whether this is her personality or whether this is mental illness.


Michelle: Well, it’s almost like since she got diagnosed with bipolar, she’s gotten crazier. It was almost like she has an excuse now to act crazy. I feel like she’s using it as an excuse.


Gabe: So you think that she’s using bipolar disorder as an excuse to act up?


Michelle: Oh, one time she ordered a bunch of stuff from the internet and she goes, I didn’t buy this in a manic episode. And she goes, I didn’t buy this because of a manic episode. I bought this because I really needed it. I was like, okay, if you insist.


Gabe: So she just gives you her stuff. She. She buys stuff and then gives it away.


Michelle: No, no, no, she was just saying that about her stuff. But then a lot of times, like, she’ll buy stuff and she won’t return it if, if it’s the wrong size. So she’ll just have stuff. She’ll just have like. And I have like this, I have this. Do you need this? Take this if you want it. I don’t like this anymore. If you want this, take this. I’ve got, like a jumpsuit and stuff. I’ve got a bunch of jumpsuits from her for, like, I don’t know when I’m gonna wear that, but, like, I’ve got some funky things.


Gabe: I want to circle back to her being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Because you said something that I just caught on to. You said ever since she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which means when you first knew her, she didn’t have bipolar disorder. And then she got a bipolar disorder diagnosis. What happened there to lead to that diagnosis?


Michelle: Honestly, I think I got in a fight with her.


Gabe: You got in a fight with her and now she’s bipolar.


Michelle: We got in a text fight. She got in a fight with Carrie, and then she texted me and Carrie took my phone and wrote something mean back. So she thought I was being mean to her. And that’s the catalyst for her getting diagnosed with bipolar was actually thinking she was in a fight with me.


Gabe: But just because she’s in a fight with you or in a fight with Carrie, one of her other friends. Why does that mean bipolar disorder? Why did a doctor diagnose her with bipolar disorder? Because she got in a fight with her friends.


Michelle: That was the jump off from what I heard. Me and her had never fought before and she thought I was mad at her.


Gabe: But that’s an anxiety disorder. And again, I have no business. I’m not trying to diagnose her. I’m really not.


Michelle: Her anxiety through the wall.


Gabe: You’ve described a lot of anxious thoughts, you’ve described a lot of angry thoughts, but you’ve never described anything manic. And in order to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you need hypomania and mania. Has she ever been manic?


Michelle: She buys and buys and buys and buys and buys.


Gabe: I. That’s.


Michelle: Spends, spends money like it’s paper. She might as well just burn $1,000.


Gabe: Okay, so you’re saying that the overspending is indicative of the mania. And that’s probably why she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Is she getting better though because of it. Now she’s got the diagnosis. So is she being treated. Is she on mood stabilizers? Is she on you know, it’s.


Michelle: She. She says she’s going on a new medication.


Gabe: Going on a new medication. What do you mean? She’s going on it. How do you don’t go on it? You’re either on it or you’re not.


Michelle: She says she’s going to start a new medication and see how it goes. She’s starting. She’s starting a new one.


Gabe: Like, how long ago was that?


Michelle: She said soon, I don’t know. We’ll see. Who knows?

Announcer: Hey BSP listeners, it’s me, your favorite producer, Lisa. I’m here to thank everyone who made this season of A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast possible. We want to recognize Bonnie Landini, Jeff and Sue Hammer, Frances D. Thayer, Leigh Harris, Ross Milne, Gregory Zarian, Ariella “Ari” Kadosh, Kathleen McKeon, Judene Shelley, Elmer Earley, Carolynn Ponzoha, Dr. John Grohol, John Humphrey, Sara  , Lisa Kiner, and Marilyn Knight. Without their support, Gabe, Michelle, and I wouldn’t be here. If you want to get in on this and have me read your name in an upcoming episode, go to  And now back to Michelle and Gabe talking about how difficult it is to be supportive of friends while maintaining your own boundaries.


Gabe: So what are you personally doing to try to help her? Like, what have you done so far?


Michelle: I try to text her. I’m her friend. If she wants to come over, I say come over. If she really wants me to go over, I’ll go over there. But I try not to spend too much time at her place. I just respond to her. I speak to her when she wants to speak to me, things like that. But I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do at this point because I just see her being hopeless for the future. She spent so much money, like thousands of dollars on a stupid zoom class with these people who promised her they’re going to teach her how to run her own business, e-commerce, how to find all of these different suppliers for this and this and this and this and this and this. And she’s spending more money for this and this and this and this and this. And they promised her all this. And I’m listening to her tell me about all of this. And I’m just thinking, I cannot believe that you spent I don’t say it, but I’m like you. She spent $6,000 on this class. Like she said to me. Gabe, I hope you already know this too. She goes, did you know on your website you’re supposed to use a JPEG?


Gabe: What else would you use?


Michelle: If that is what I said. That was my exact response. I said, I said, what else would you use? I said, as compared to what? What else would you? She goes, oh, like a PNG.

Gabe: PNG files are huge.


Michelle: Thank you. Gabe. Gabe, I’m so happy that you knew that because she said it to me. Like she was like, did you know this class? Who’s in this class? Like, the biggest, dumbest idiots on the on the face of the earth? That you learned this information and thought it was so radical that you thought that I didn’t know it. And you’re paid $6,000 for this class, and that was advertised on Instagram.


Gabe: Well, I mean, in fairness, it does sound like she needed the class because she didn’t know this stuff.


Michelle: I know, but the thing is, she’s been taking this class. It’s been like months upon months upon months. She has nothing to show for it.


Gabe: Wow.


Michelle: Like, where’s the, where’s your merchandise? Where’s your sales?


Gabe: But I know that it can be frustrating when our friends spend money or do stupid things or get scammed. I understand that, but why do you think that mean that she’s mentally ill?


Michelle: She has been scammed so many times. She was scammed out of $20,000 first, then somebody else in a foreign country said that they were they got married in a Caribbean country would always text her, send me some money. I’m going to come, I will come, I’m going to get my visa and come live with you. You think he ever came here? Do you think he ever intended on coming here?


Gabe: No, no, that’s a classic scam.


Michelle: No. And do you think he needed $1,000 to get a tooth taken out?


Gabe: No. Probably not.


Michelle: In a Caribbean country $1,000.


Gabe: I mean. But even if he did, why? Why is he. Why is he hitting on this woman? I mean, that’s just an awful lot of money to spend on somebody you’ve never met. And.


Michelle: No. They met, they met, they met. They met. They met in the Caribbean. And he asked her for money all the time. All the time. Asked her for money over and over and over again. Never said save your money so you can come visit me. Wouldn’t speak to her for days until she sent him the money.


Gabe: Wow.


Michelle: Every Caribbean person we spoke to said she’s getting scammed. He’s scamming her. He’s never going to come here. But if he does come here six months, then he’s gone.


Gabe: Have you informed her mother that this is going on about all the scams?


Michelle: Her mom knows all about this. Her mother knows everything and her mother pays her rent.


Gabe: Is there anybody else you can talk to?


Michelle: Her father is in Florida, dying of Parkinson’s.


Gabe: Does she have a brother? An aunt? An uncle? Grandma? Grandpa?


Michelle: No, no. And then for a while I was connected to her Instagram account because I was running part of it. I saw a message come in from a guy trying to sell weed to her. And the guy, she was like, he was like, do you like weed? And she goes, I love weed. I have like mental and physical issues. It makes me feel so great. Oh, great. Send me $200 on Venmo and I’ll have it all shipped to you this afternoon. She sent him $200. That’s how easy it is to scam this girl. Plus, I was running her Instagram because her old Instagram got hacked because she believed somebody that told her she could make money off of bitcoin or something. Just make a video about Bitcoin because somebody hacked her friend who hacked her.


Gabe: If you could do anything. You wanted to help this woman, right? Just forget about forget about laws, reason, anything. Like if you personally could do anything, what would you do?


Michelle: I would make it so she never went to the Caribbean and met that guy.


Gabe: Okay. No, no, you can’t go back in time. I realize that’s my fault for how I worded the question. What would you do moving forward? Like, as soon as we’re done recording this episode, if you could go do something that would help her, what do you think it would be?


Michelle: I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know what would make her happy I don’t know.


Gabe: I mean, it sounds like she doesn’t know either.


Michelle: And what I’m saying. I don’t know what to do. I have no idea. And the thing is, I got a lot of DMs and questions like, I don’t know what to do for my loved one, blah blah, blah, blah, blah, blah blah. And now I’m in that situation. I don’t know what to do because even if I tried, I’d probably end up getting yelled at.


Gabe: Well, I mean, sometimes there’s nothing that you can do. I mean, that’s the unfortunate reality of this. I, I know we’re nearing the end of the show, and I hate to end on a bummer, but sometimes the answer is there’s nothing you can do. You can stick around and try to wait it out and hope they get help. You can keep pointing out to them that they need help. You can offer to go with them to their doctor’s appointments so that their doctors can, can be there for them. But just out of curiosity, do you think that her yelling at you provides her any relief or any comfort? I mean, the weirdest way to word it, but is being her punching bag beneficial to her? Does this keep her safe and are you willing to tolerate it?


Michelle: I feel like I have to tolerate it. I feel like I have to.


Gabe: Because you want to be your friend.


Michelle: Yes. Like, what am I supposed to do?


Gabe: Do you think that if you told her that you’re not going to be her friend if she yells at you, that that would make her stop? Like if every time she started to yell, you just got up and left and kept that hard boundary, you stayed her friend. But when she started yelling, you just leave.


Michelle: I don’t know, I just.


Gabe: I mean, it might be something to try. I mean, she can’t yell at you if you’re not there. And if she knows that when she raises her voice, you’re going to leave. Maybe one of the things that she likes is the engagement, the drama. And if you take that drama away. Or do you feel like you can’t do anything because she lost all these other friends?


Michelle: I just feel so badly about it because I know she needs friends, you know what I mean? And I think the woman that cleans her house, I think she purposely hires her an extra time so she has a person to hang out with.


Gabe: I’ve done things like that. I’ve done so many things like that. But I gotta say, it sounds like you’re only friends with her out of guilt, not out of love and affection.


Michelle: That is 100% true, and I’m trying to remember when it flipped.


Gabe: When do you think it flipped? When did you give up? I mean, it sounds like you’ve given up on this friendship, but you feel guilty about giving up on this friendship.


Michelle: Yeah, it’s got to be a few years ago. It had to be with this where I said to her I was like, I don’t like this guy that you’re dealing with. Like, I don’t like him. And she went crazy.


Gabe: And he’s still around all these years later. So it sounds like the gentleman from Jamaica happened about three years ago, and she’s been scammed all this time?


Michelle: No. He’s good. She. She ended it with him. She ended it with him. And she realizes now she was being scammed. And


Gabe: Okay.


Michelle: She apologized to me for if I ever did anything, she. And she said she had to apologize to a lot of people. She said a lot of people said things to her.


Gabe: I mean, that’s a good thing. Doesn’t that show improvement? I mean, doesn’t that make you happy?


Michelle: It does. That does show improvement. I was actually very impressed that she actually said that, but that’s the only nice thing she said to me in months.


Gabe: Have you told her this? Have you actually sat her down and said, look, you never say anything nice to me. You don’t respect my boundaries. You yell at me, you treat me poorly. I’m not trying to attack you, but I’m telling you, if you want me to remain your friend, you need to stop this. Have you tried just being just blunt?


Michelle: Oh, there was one time I popped off on her because we were driving and like, she just kept commenting on my driving, commenting on my driving, coming to my driving. And then I think I hit a curb and it kind of went whoop! And I she yelled at me and I yelled at her. I was like, can you stop yelling at me? You need to stop yelling at me. Just stop telling me and just shut up already. Shut up already. Stop yelling at me. I popped off because she just kept complaining about the driving because the dogs. I was like, I’m trying my best. I’m sorry. Sometimes there’s a swerve and I understand. I hit the curb, but like, I just couldn’t take the constant berating anymore about the goddamn driving. Like, calm down.


Gabe: This next question that I’m about to ask you is really important.


Michelle: What? Can I drive?


Gabe: Did you steal a car?


Michelle: No, I didn’t steal a car.


Gabe: Where’d you get a car in Manhattan.


Michelle: It was my mom’s car. It was my mom’s car. We went upstate. We went to Woodstock. We went to Woodstock.


Gabe: Did you steal your mom’s car?


Michelle: No.


Gabe: Okay, so this was a legit borrowing of a car. And I just now realized you have a driver’s license.


Michelle: You didn’t know I had a driver’s license.


Gabe: I had no idea.


Michelle: Why would you think I don’t have a driver’s license?


Gabe: Because you live in Manhattan. You take the subway everywhere.


Michelle: Obviously, I don’t live in Manhattan. I live in Queens, but I’m from Westchester. The suburbs.


Gabe: You’re from the burbs.


Michelle: Yes, but they’re still driving. You can still drive in Queens. There’s Ferrari driving school I see all over the place, the car, Ferrari driving school. And I always don’t want to cross the street because I don’t know if it’s a student driver and I don’t want to get hit. Oh, by the way, I was walking the dog today and somebody on a bike got hit and the lady’s on the floor and the person in the car was like, oh, they’re holding their face like, oh God, oh God. Because, yeah, but I think the bike person was the one in the wrong way, because if she was crossing the street, that’s going the wrong way down a one way. So I think that’s better for the person in the car. But the person in the car was turning, they turned and hit somebody on the bike and I was like, oh no.


Gabe: Your life is incredible. So I just. Let’s get let’s get back on track here. I, I don’t know that you’re doing somebody any favors or helping them in any way by tolerating their bad behavior out of guilt. I don’t think that’s a good protective factor for somebody. I think setting firm boundaries and saying, look, I’m not going to tolerate this. You yell at me, I leave hard, stop. And then when she yells, you leave. If she yells about, you know, the turning off a movie, say, fine, I’m going home. Like, I can’t. I can’t be around you when you act this way. Call me when you’re not going to act this way.


Michelle: Well, I don’t know what to do. What should I do, Gabe?


Gabe: There might be nothing you can do.


Michelle: Guess there’s nothing I can do.


Gabe: I mean, it sounds like she needs an inpatient hospitalization and some stabilization, but I know that’s really hard for you as well. But if there’s something for you to do, it might be wait until the next time she pops off. Call 911 and you talk to the ambulance or the first responders.


Michelle: That might be not the worst idea. Actually. Gabe. Gabe, I think you might have some good ideas sometimes.


Gabe: I mean, setting boundaries is important. I really, as your friend Michelle, I don’t want you to be a punching bag and it sounds like you’re being a punching bag, but I understand the guilt. I understand why you’re making the decisions and how vulnerable you must feel, but there’s not always things that you can do for your friend. This is a really hard episode for us because, I mean, I think anybody listening is probably hearing. What do you mean? There’s nothing we can do? I mean, we’ve tried to reach out to 911. We’ve tried to reach out to 988. We’ve tried to contact family members. We’ve tried to contact other friends. We’ve tried to be a friend. I mean, I also want you to hear when you say there’s nothing to do. You have, in fact, already done a lot.


Michelle: I know I’ve tried. I thought texting her mom would be enough, but her mom must not see what we see.


Gabe: I mean, have you tried to give that pushback? Have you tried to, like, have coffee with her mom and said, look, I just I want to make sure that I do everything I can and I need to tell you what is happening is not grief. What is happening is serious and persistent, untreated mental illness. And your daughter is very vulnerable.


Michelle: I can call her, but I can’t. Her mom lives in Massachusetts, so I can’t get her to coffee.


Gabe: Okay, so. So you can’t have it. You gotta get it. You got to get her on zoom. You got to zoom this shit.


Michelle: I got to be funny with her on zoom.


Gabe: [Laughter]


Michelle: Her mom is funny.


Gabe: But, I mean that that might be. Listen, one time a friend of mine said we need to have an intervention for a friend. And I said, why they’re not going to listen. And she said, because I want to know that I did everything. I want to know that I did everything possible so that if something bad happens, I don’t have any regrets. Having this blunt conversation with your friend, having a blunt conversation with your friend’s mom, at least if anything bad happens, you know you did everything you could. And of course, there’s always the possibility that it works. It’s not a you know, in this case, it worked on some. It might not be the working that you want, but it did work on some level for our friend. She is much more stable now than she was before we started. I’m not saying that she’s perfect. It wasn’t a miracle, but she is not in harm’s way anymore, which is also something that we wanted.


Michelle: I mean, yeah, I feel better talking about it more just because it’s just it’s stressful to think about because I just don’t know what to do. So I’m glad that we got to discuss it and we just bounce some ideas off of each other, or just getting your perspective to talk about it with. Because I don’t know many people I can really discuss it with.


Gabe: Hey, Michelle. That’s the good part about us, I get it. I might not be helpful, but at least I understand.


Gabe: Before we get out of here, I want to remind everybody that this show is supported by listeners like you. We need more if we want to do a season five. Don’t worry, we’re still good to complete this season. But if you want another season, please head over to That’s All right, everybody, thank you so much for tuning in to A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast. We have a few favors that we need you to do. Wherever you downloaded this episode, please follow or subscribe. It’s absolutely free and you don’t want to miss a thing and listen. You need to share the show. Share in a support group, share your favorite episodes on social media. Put a picture of you listening to the show on Instagram. Do whatever it takes to get word out there. Sharing the show with the people you know is how we grow.


Michelle: And I’m Michelle Hammer. You can find me at Schizophrenic.NYC. That’s my website, that’s my Instagram, and that is my TikTok. Or you can find me on YouTube at just Schizophrenic NYC, no dot. Find me there and mental health clothing line. Do it up, have fun, wear it, live it. Look good. You know you love it, find it Schizophrenic.NYC.


Gabe: And my name is Gabe Howard. I am the author of “Mental Illness Is an Asshole and Other Observations,” which you can get on Amazon. However, if you go to my website,, I will send you stickers and I will sign the book. If you buy it on my website, I will send you free stuff and sign the book. You can also follow me on Instagram and TikTok at Ask a Bipolar and we will see everybody next time on a bipolar, a schizophrenic and a podcast.


Michelle: Friends.

Announcer: You’ve been listening to A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast. Previous episodes can be found on your favorite podcast player or by visiting Have comments or show ideas? Hit up the show at Gabe and Michelle are not medical professionals. This podcast is not a substitute for medical advice and is for entertainment purposes only. If you or a loved one needs help, please call, text or chat the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. That’s 988. Thank you for listening.

Balancing Support and Boundaries: Navigating Mental Health Challenges in Friendship