We Are Frauds (Talking About Imposter Syndrome)
A Bipolar, A Schizophrenic, and a Podcast
“Don’t get mad at your friends when they don’t tell you what you want to hear. Because what you need to hear is often more important than what you want to hear. ”
Gabe spoke at Oxford University in England and hosts multiple award-winning podcasts. Michelle owns a clothing line that is incredibly popular and has spoken for TEDx. Both of them are widely recognized and respected across the country as advocates.
They also both believe themselves to be failures.
Listen now as Gabe and Michelle discuss why they feel this way and break down imposter syndrome.
Hosts of A Bipolar, A Schizophrenic, and a Podcast
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 gabehoward.com.
Michelle 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 We Are Frauds (Talking About Imposter Syndrome)
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. . .
Michelle: Hey, I’m Michelle, and I’m schizophrenic.
Gabe: My name is Gabe, and I have bipolar disorder.
Michelle: Normally I’d be reading the sponsors here, but we don’t have any. So, if you want some more than just this random episode, hey, find us one.
Gabe: Yeah, we’re listening. We’ll do anything for. Well, maybe not anything.
Michelle: Gabe, you would you anything you would
Michelle: Gabe, You. You would do anything and you have done anything. Admit it.
Gabe: I’ve done. I’ve done everything for free.
Michelle: I would do anything for love. But I won’t do that.
Gabe: I think you would. I think that the whole crux of that song was that Meatloaf, he had, like, ethics, boundaries and morals. But the woman he was dating, which I like to think is you, did not. So he was, like lecturing you. He was like, Look, Michelle, I do anything for love, but I won’t do that. And Michelle was like, I would.
Michelle: Well, if it was actually eating a meatloaf, would it be the ketchup meatloaf or the mustard meatloaf?
Gabe: There’s a mustard meatloaf?
Michelle: There’s a mustard meatloaf.
Gabe: No. No. The ketchup meatloaf is disgusting enough.
Michelle: So, you won’t do that. You won’t do that, then you’re not going to do it.
Gabe: I would do anything for food, but I won’t eat that.
Gabe: It’s funny because it’s a double entendre.
Gabe: We’re not sponsored, so we can’t go too far.
Michelle: But, Gabe, would you eat a vegan burger?
Gabe: No, but they’re not even healthy. They’re so disgusting.
Michelle: They’re not?
Gabe: No, they’re just chemicals packed in with chemicals. Also, if you’re a vegan, I understand that. But if you want a burger, eat a burger. Why are you making vegetables into meat also?
Michelle: Is vegan a mental illness?
Gabe: I listen, we want to give accurate information. So, the correct answer is no. Veganism is not a mental illness. But isn’t it, though?
Michelle: Is it an annoyance? It’s an annoyance, right?
Gabe: Are the. I know we have to move on, Michelle. But, you know, my favorite joke that I ever heard is how can you tell when someone’s a vegan?
Michelle: Because they tell you?
Gabe: Because they tell you. Yeah, I just. We’re going to get so many emails from our vegan fan notice I said vegan fan because there’s, there’s got to be one. I don’t think there can be two.
Michelle: I’ve had a vegan burger. They’re not bad.
Gabe: They’re terrible. They’re terrible. Isn’t your roommate a vegan?
Michelle: Yes, except for when she has chicken soup. I know. I know.
Gabe: I wish people could see the look on our faces.
Michelle: I know. Or vegan besides chocolate.
Gabe: This is it. This is we’re in the weeds here, Michelle.
Gabe: We decided to do this because we had a conversation. Michelle and I, believe it or not, we talk. We’re friends in real life. We’ve tried to explain that to people, but people don’t believe us. And Michelle said, people are always saying that they’re proud of me and they think that I do so much, but I don’t do anything and I’m a failure. And I wrote back to Michelle. I said, Look, I feel the same way about myself. And whenever I say to you, Michelle that I haven’t achieved anything, that I haven’t accomplished anything, and that I’m a failure, you always say to me that that’s bullshit. You’ve accomplished a lot. So, the only advice that I can offer Michelle is don’t be Gabe, I That’s it. That’s. That’s all I’ve got. And Michelle wrote back and she said, you know, look, imposter syndrome is, is kind of an asshole. And the next thing you know, we’re recording a bonus episode for all of you. So, our depression imposter syndrome and just general malaise got everybody a free podcast.
Michelle: That’s right. Do we want to explain what imposter syndrome is to people that might not know what imposter syndrome is?
Gabe: I think that’s a really good idea.
Gabe: You do it.
Michelle: I’m going to say what I think it is without Googling it.
Gabe: You’re going to guess and hope it passes mid review.
Michelle: So, what I believe is the definition of imposter syndrome is that all the success that you’ve had, you believe you don’t actually deserve that success and that you don’t actually you haven’t really achieved it and it’s not real. Is that right?
Gabe: Yeah, I mean, that’s pretty close. The technical definition imposter syndrome, which is also known as perceived fraudulence, involves feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence that persist despite your education experience and accomplishments. So essentially, no matter what you achieve, you feel that you don’t deserve it, didn’t do it, and that you are still a failure. I guess to use an example here, Michelle and I did this podcast and it’s done very, very well. We still get emails for people asking us to do other episodes, but if you ask Gabe or Michelle independently or together, if A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast was successful, we’re like, I mean, it was okay, I guess.
Gabe: I mean, sort of.
Michelle: Yeah. And so many people will say like, you know, the podcast, like it helped me so much. I learned so much. You know, you, you helped me tell people that I had schizophrenia and everything, and I’m like, it did?
Michelle: Really? Our podcast?
Gabe: Yes, that is. Michelle, you hit the nail on the head because whenever I read these emails, I always think to myself, really? Why?
Gabe: How? Or are you sure?
Michelle: Like us. Me? Me?
Gabe: It had to be something else.
Michelle: I’m like, what did I say? I was just insulted Gabe’s nipples or
Michelle: The ones he doesn’t have. Like, what are you talking about? But this is true because even like, people that, like, haven’t didn’t go to college and didn’t graduate, I always go, I was an art major. That’s how I graduated. You know, like, why am I putting myself down? I graduated college.
Gabe: Not only did you graduate college, but you graduated art school and got how many jobs in graphic design in New York City? One of the most competitive graphic design. I just I, I stumble for words and that’s saying something. I stumble for words whenever Michelle tells me that she feels like a failure because Michelle is one of the most accomplished people that I know. And when you tack on the fact that she lives with schizophrenia and she’s one of the most accomplished people living and managing schizophrenia that I know. I’ve always held Michelle in extraordinarily high regard. And I don’t know if this is like some sort of oppositional defiance disorder that Michelle has, but she disagrees with me. I’m like, Michelle, you are great. And she’s like, Whatever, I suck. I’m like, why do you disagree with everything I say?
Michelle: I just, I do suck.
Gabe: Okay. But I want to try something. Hang on, hang on. I want to try an experiment.
Michelle: There’s other schizophrenia advocates that that that get so much more accolades than me.
Gabe: It’s not a competition. I know that’s the dumbest thing to say because, I mean, it kind of is a competition, right? But I want to do a little social experiment.
Michelle: I was an athlete. Everything is a competition. I have an older brother. Everything is a competition.
Gabe: I love competition. But. But hang on. I want to get back to my social experiment. I think that you just disagree with anything that I say. So, are you ready? This is my social experiment. Michelle.
Gabe: You’re right. You suck. You should quit. I don’t think you’re very good at being a mental health advocate.
Michelle: You’re an asshole.
Gabe: Why? I’m agreeing with you.
Michelle: Well. Well, then I need a sugar daddy.
Gabe: That’s where you went with this? That you need a sugar daddy. Wow. I just.
Michelle: Well, I need money from somewhere, Gabe, jeez.
Gabe: Prove me wrong. Why? If I say that you are not a good mental health advocate, you just called me an asshole. So clearly you disagree with me. You think that you are a good mental health advocate. All right, prove me wrong.
Michelle: Okay, Well, here’s the thing. Okay.
Gabe: I am now saying you suck. You’re competitive. Tell me why I’m wrong.
Michelle: I do believe I am a good mental health advocate, but I don’t believe that I get the recognition that I deserve. I see myself at a certain level, but I see other people getting more recognition than me, and I don’t know what to do to get myself to a certain level, to talk to certain people, to do certain things.
Gabe: Now, is that imposter syndrome or is that just a business issue?
Michelle: It is imposter syndrome. Because. Because if I. If I was good enough, if I did enough things, if I if I was somewhere, I would get all these opportunities that I want to get these opportunities. But I’m not getting them because I must not be good enough. I suck.
Gabe: You ever heard the phrase X factor?
Michelle: I know the TV show.
Gabe: Okay. Not the TV show.
Michelle: With Simon Cowell.
Gabe: No, no, not Simon Cowell.
Michelle: Which have you seen his face recently?
Gabe: No, no, that’s. That’s not where we’re
Michelle: He just injects, injects, injects, injects his face like. Moving on.
Gabe: Whenever we’re talking about celebrities, there’s always like an X factor. Right. Let’s take name any singer, name any singer that you personally like.
Michelle: I like Demi Lovato, even though she’s gone through some interesting changes.
Gabe: Okay, So Demi Lovato, great singer, right? You love her. She’s famous, sold a lot of albums. She lives with bipolar disorder. She’s had some great hit songs. Do you think that Demi Lovato is the best singer in the world?
Michelle: Not in the world? No.
Gabe: Okay. Now. Now, do you believe that every singer who can sing better than Demi Lovato is as famous as Demi Lovato?
Gabe: Exactly. So, there are people who are better singers that don’t have the recognition of Demi Lovato. And I’m glad you said Demi Lovato, because you know that song from Frozen Right on. Demi Lovato sang it.
Michelle: Yeah. Let it go.
Gabe: Yeah. Let it go.
Michelle: Well, she did a cover of it.
Gabe: Right, exactly. And Demi Lovato’s cover went on to more accolades than the real one, the one that was sung by the Broadway star who is a much better singer.
Michelle: Idina Menzel.
Gabe: Yes. Now, I did not know Idina Menzel’s name.
Michelle: Who I’m told that she’s my celebrity twin.
Gabe: You. Really? You think Idina Menzel?
Michelle: I have been told she’s my celebrity twin. Idina Menzel. And my answer is because she looks like an Ashkenazi Jew. You know?
Gabe: So, my point is, is that even though the Broadway star is a much better singer, I bet many people haven’t heard of her, but more people have heard of Demi Lovato. And in fact, Demi Lovato’s version of Let It Go went on to more critical or not critical acclaim, but more monetary acclaim. Right? So, so, so your twin got more critical acclaim, meaning it was a better version technically, but Demi Lovato has made more money. It hit the it hit the charts and all of this to wrap up and saying it doesn’t matter how good you are, there’s an X factor. Demi Lovato, for whatever reason, captured the consciousness of America. They liked her more than the other version not because of how good each one of them are as singers, but because Demi Lovato has got some sort of X factor that that people just like. This is why I always get annoyed with you, because you have that X factor that people like. And I don’t I’m a more technically sound mental health advocate, right? You steal my lines all the freaking time. Right. And I don’t get. Yeah you. Just confess. Admit it. Just admit it.
Michelle: Sometimes I do, because you speak very well and you’re very smart. When you speak, you answer when you get a question that you don’t know the answer to, you somehow come up with an answer.
Gabe: And yet and yet when we traveled for A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast, whenever they introduced me, it was like, Oh, there’s Gabe, clap, clap, clap. And whenever they introduced Michelle, the roof was raised because you have that X factor.
Michelle: Then why aren’t I getting booked for speeches? Gabe?
Gabe: Because you’re a podcast host.
Michelle: I know. Yeah, I guess so. But. Okay. But about that Demi Lovato song. I know. It’s really funny. My psychiatrist has little kids, and somehow it came up that frozen song, and he go and he actually said to me, You know, I really like the Demi Lovato version of the Frozen song. My psychiatrist even said that to me, which makes such as full circle really funny.
Michelle: But I like the Idina Menzel version. I guess that just says I love Idina Menzel
Michelle: Because she was in Rent.
Gabe: Here’s the.
Michelle: I love the show Rent.
Gabe: Okay. Yes, we know. Yes.
Gabe: She is much more talented than Demi Lovato. And I hope Demi Lovato hears this and sends us an email and then we can have her come on the show and defend it. That.
Michelle: Oh, my God. If I ever got a message for you. You did go. You were on Demi Lovato’s page, right? Yeah, you were. Dude, I love Demi Lovato. And people are. People are like, I don’t like Demi Lovato anymore. She got all weird because then she went to they/them and then she’s back from they/them to she/her and I’m like stop hating on Demi Lovato for about three years. You know how your Spotify tells you who you listen to the most. For three years it was Demi Lovato.
Gabe: Demi Lovato is going to be my fourth wife for a long time. Here’s a funny story. Can I tell you a funny story about Demi Lovato?
Michelle: You can tell me any story about Demi Lovato.
Gabe: Okay, so. So, you are right. I got involved in Demi Lovato’s charity, her initiative to speak up for mental health. It was a great initiative. And I got an email from her people and they all set it up and I got involved and I traveled to an event that launched the whole thing and Demi Lovato was going to be there. And I said to my wife, I and my friends, I said, Hey, I I’m going to be in a room with Demi Lovato, you know, on Friends, where you get to pick five celebrities that you’re allowed to cheat on your spouse with that you can sleep with.
Gabe: Can we do that? And I put Demi Lovato on my list and my wife was like, Sure, sure, you can sleep with Demi Lovato. And I was like, okay. Right. So, I’m getting ready to go. And Lisa, the producer of this show, editor, audio genius extraordinaire, as I’m packing, Lisa comes up to me. So now we’re all alone and nobody’s around. And she goes, Gabe, I don’t think you should sleep with Demi Lovato. And I said, What? And she goes, I’m. I’m serious. I don’t think, I don’t think your wife would be okay with it. I think she’d get really mad. And I just looked at her and I was like, okay, I now know two things about you. One, you’re an idiot. And two, you have so much faith in me that you think my fat, middle-aged redheaded ass has a chance with an international pop star. Like, have you seen Demi Lovato? Like, take a picture of Demi Lovato and then take a picture of Gabe and you will notice some differences when they’re next to each other. And yet Lisa had so much faith in me, she thought I could do it. You need a best friend like that, Michelle. You need a best friend that thinks that you can sleep with a celebrity. I just. It’s. Yeah, but she’s also dumb. That’s just the downside.
Michelle: So, what are we talking about? Imposter syndrome. Gabe.
Gabe: Imposter syndrome, right? That’s where even if I did sleep with Demi Lovato, I would believe that I didn’t deserve it. I know. In all seriousness, do you remember when I was at Oxford?
Gabe: You sent me a text somewhat mean spirited, but that’s our relationship. And I love you anyways. And you said, and I quote, I’m reading here, I don’t want to hear you whine anymore. You’re speaking at Oxford. And I wrote back, what are you talking about? And you said you’re always whining that you’re not accomplishing anything, and yet you’re speaking at Oxford. So, I’m not going to listen to you whine anymore. And I said, well, but it doesn’t work that way. And you said, what do you mean it doesn’t work that way? And I was like, well, I spoke at Oxford today, so today I’m a success, but I won’t speak at Oxford tomorrow. So therefore, tomorrow I will be a failure again. And you wrote back, okay, I guess that makes sense. Now, there’s two things that I want to point out there. One, I can’t even enjoy the moment in the moment, maybe a little bit. I did. I did enjoy it a little bit, and I’m glad for that. So go Gabe. But I just I was already looking into the future when it was over. And what’s the next thing going to be? I couldn’t even be happy for a little bit. And when I pointed that out to you, you understood.
Gabe: I’ve said so many times that the reason that Michelle and I are friends is because everybody else would have given me a lecture on how I need to remember the good times and use the good times to keep me warm. But Michelle was like, No, that makes sense. You’re right. The minute you stop, step off stage, it’s over.
Michelle: Right. Like even yesterday, like you were saying, like, you know, you get those edits for your website. And I was like, Yeah, I’ve just been feeling down when later in the day I had a podcast to do with like these three moms. It’s called like Schizophrenia: Three Moms in the Trenches. And when I was doing the podcast, it’s actually these three moms that all had schizophrenic children, and they were telling me how amazing I was and everything that I’m doing is so great. And they had like, Can I ask you a question that I can’t ask my son? The conversation was great and they were just so impressed and they loved it. But I was like. What is this, anyway? You know.
Gabe: So put this together. Early in the day, you said, Why can’t I accomplish anything? Why am I not doing anything? Later in the day you’re on a very popular podcast and the schizophrenia community about mothers who are caregivers, raising family members, support systems for people with mental illness that are telling you their goal for their loved ones is you. They
Gabe: Want people to accomplish you. And they were asking you questions that they recorded to put out in the world for other people to listen to, to gain insight, experience, education,
Gabe: And all of that culminated into this conversation about how you’re a failure.
Michelle: Pretty much. Pretty much. They were all they were saying things like, you know, I can’t ever ask my son this question, but can I ask you this question?
Gabe: And did you answer it?
Michelle: Well, yeah. It was basically like, what was the voices like when they first started? Just like just like any question you want to ask, like somebody with schizophrenia. But they wouldn’t ask their son this question. Things like that. Just all kind. They were just so like, you know, they were just like basically telling me they wished that their loved ones had such insight like I do. And they were so proud of my recovery and everything like that. And like, basically they were just so impressed by me. Yet I, I don’t think anything. I don’t think I’m impressive. I don’t think anything like that. But these ladies were loving it. And I just was just so taken aback that, like, I’m impressive. What? Okay. Oh, sure. And then but earlier in the day, I was like, Gabe, I’m just so down. I’m just so depressed. And then later in the day, they’re loving it. But yet. Yeah. You know, it’s like I never feel good about myself and my accomplishments because of this freaking imposter syndrome. Because you go on. You go on like social media. Oh, this person is doing that. This person is doing that. This person is doing that. What am I doing? Well, I did a podcast that’s going to be out, but no, that’s not good enough. But if I saw somebody else doing a podcast, I’d be like, Oh, they’re doing a podcast with those people. So, well, why am I doing this to myself? How do I get rid of it?
Gabe: Well, you might have mental illness.
Michelle: I don’t like mental illness.
Gabe: Mental illness is an asshole, Michelle.
Michelle: It’s a f**king bitch. You want to slap it in the face, Slap mental illness in the face.
Gabe: Now we have to bleep it.
Michelle: Bleep, bleep. Bleep, bleep. Bleep.
Michelle: You know, curse words are only curse words because we made them curse words. If we would turn the curse words to not curse words, they wouldn’t be curse words.
Gabe: We should like we should start a movement where we turn like innocuous words into curse words by using them as curse words like what’s the friendliest, most loving word that you can think of?
Gabe: Sweetheart. Okay. So, sweetheart, you sweetheart off you. Mother-sweetheart, you got to say it with, like, some anger. We got to, like, really turn sweetheart into this, Like, you know, like. Like just this really negative thing. You’re a sweetheart-ing ****.
Michelle: Like who invented curse words anyway? Who invented these curse words? Why do they exist?
Gabe: I don’t know.
Michelle: Why would a curse word exist if you’re not supposed to say it? Who would invent a word that you’re not supposed to say?
Michelle: Like, that’s so stupid.
Sponsor Message: Hey, BSP fans, it’s Lisa, you knew I was going to pop up sooner or later, and I just want to tell you that Gabe and Michelle aren’t lying when they say they do these episodes for free. Podcasting is really expensive; I mean a producer and editor as good as I am doesn’t come cheap. It really would make their day if you went to their online stores and supported the podcast with a purchase. Michelle has a ridiculous amount of stuff, shirts, bags, pill cases, and it can all be found at Schizophrenic.NYC. Gabe has way less stuff but he has the book “Mental Illness Is an Asshole and Other Observations.” Find that at gabehoward.com. Here are the links again: Schizophrenic.NYC for Michelle and gabehoward.com for Gabe. Trust me, they do a little happy dance whenever someone buys something.
Gabe: Okay, back on topic. I just. I want to know this. Michelle. Why do you believe social media? And here’s why I’m asking because you know that we edit this show. You know that we only put our accomplished and I’m talking about Gabe and Michelle never once have we put on social media. Gabe is an asshole and I fought with him for 45 minutes because I wanted the logo to be purple and Gabe wanted the logo to be green. Right? Like, we’ve had disagreements. We’ve, we’ve, we’ve fought about things like it’s a creative process and we’re both type A personalities and very passionate. I mean, the people who know us well, our parents, our spouses, our friends, etcetera. They’ve been involved in the fights and yet never once did either one of us put that on social media out of one respect for our brand, two, respect for our friendship and three, respect for each other. So, if somebody else is watching this and they’re like, Man, why can’t I have a great working relationship with my business partner like Gabe and Michelle have, they never fight, you and I would die laughing. Why do you believe that social media is real when you know it’s not?
Michelle: Because sometimes people say where they are, where they’re having speeches and stuff. I mean, the thing is, I mean, I’ve had speeches where I haven’t necessarily posted it, so maybe I need. Yeah,
Gabe: You’ve had some great speeches over the years. But yes, there is always going to be a bigger speech. There just is. I don’t know where the top. Okay. That’s a fair question. What speech would you have to get that you would be like, all right, I got the best speech.
Michelle: I don’t know. I don’t know, Gabe. I don’t know.
Gabe: That might be why you’re unhappy.
Michelle: I know.
Gabe: You’re positive you don’t have it, but you don’t know what it is.
Michelle: It’s like. It’s like when I was an athlete, you know, I had to be I was the defender. I had to be the best defender. I had to be a better defender. I had to lead the defense. I had to help everybody out and I had to be the best person there. And if I was the only one there and there was A2V1, I had to beat the 2V1 and I knew how to beat A2V1. But if I didn’t beat the 2V1, it’s my fault.
Gabe: I don’t know anything about lacrosse, and I love that even in our bonus episode, lacrosse came up. But even in that specific little thing that you just said, you had examples. You have to do this. You have to be rated number one. You have to be at an 11 790210. And I’m assuming that you want to win the Super Bowl of lacrosse. So, if I said to you, what’s it going to take to make you happy, you would say, I want to win the Super Bowl of lacrosse. I have to be error free. I have to have all shutouts and I have to beat the 1090210. And that’s I’m not saying that that’s a reasonable goal, but it is a measurable one. You don’t seem to have a measurable goal over in the mental health space, so you’re just positive you’re not doing it even though you’re not sure what it is.
Michelle: I just want to be recognized.
Gabe: Why do you feel that you’re not recognized? I mean, I’ve again, I’m forget about everybody else for a moment. This is just this is just Gabe Howard Michelle talking. You literally upstage me wherever we go. At the height of the popularity of A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast, I went and gave a keynote where literally the entire crowd started chanting Michelle. When the podcast came on, the little thing, I was just like, what’s happening here? I’m standing right here. Remember I sent you the little video where they all cheered? Where’s Michelle? You
Gabe: Weren’t even in the fricking state, and yet you were more popular than me.
Michelle: Were. Was. Where am I now?
Gabe: Well, but that’s because the show, like all shows, shows can’t go on forever. Friends, it’s not still on the air. Seinfeld is not still on the air. How I Met Your Mother is not still on the air. They do seem to be having spinoffs now. But why? We’re having our own spinoff. Oh my God. They should go get another bipolar or another schizophrenic. Rebrand them as our children and just, like, do this show all over again without us.
Michelle: That’d be so funny.
Gabe: They should pay us royalties, though.
Michelle: Yeah, totally. Royalties.
Gabe: What’s like 20% of the $11 this show makes?
Michelle: But, you know, it also always bums me out when I watch Shark Tank. And I always think if I went on Shark Tank, they’d laugh in my face and tell me to go away.
Gabe: Maybe, maybe. But you’d be on Shark Tank.
Michelle: Yeah. Because I love me some shark tank. But whenever they when those people talk, I’m like, these people would laugh in my face. They’d never give me a deal. They’d say, that Mr. Wonderful would, he would say, Put it behind the barn and shoot it.
Gabe: I still have to say, you’ve already decided that you’re a failure for something that you haven’t done. And I’m. I’m curious about that because I. I don’t know what it takes to get onto Shark Tank, but the very fact that you aren’t on Shark Tank and you’ve already decided that they hate you is curious to me why?
Michelle: Because, because I see what they’re impressed by. I see what they want to invest in and I see what they don’t want to invest in.
Gabe: I still have to say, one, just because they don’t want to invest in your product, it doesn’t make it a bad product.
Michelle: I guess it’s just not Shark Tank-able.
Gabe: That is a much better way to look at it than your product sucks. Also, you know that your product doesn’t suck. It sells. You have been selling your products for how long now? Seven, eight, nine years.
Michelle: But. Exactly.
Gabe: Yes. You’re not a millionaire from it, but is that the only thing that’s going to make you happy? That every single man child, just woman, A dog, cat, llama, horse wears your clothing? I mean, is that is that really the only metric of success that every single person on the planet has heard of you?
Michelle: Listen, in my family wealth is very important.
Gabe: Yeah, you’re right. Other families don’t care about money. They’re just walking around broke as shit.
Michelle: I, I my business does well, but I’m not loaded. I want to be rich. I guess everybody does. I want to be known.
Gabe: But is that really the only metric? And I’m not I’m not trying to be mean, but literally, do you have to be worth $5 million in order to be happy?
Michelle: If you know what? You know what would have happened if I was worth $5 million? I’d want to be worth $10 million.
Gabe: Exactly. Thank you for walking smack right into my point. I don’t think there’s any amount of money that’s going to make you happy. I think no matter how much money you have, you’re going to want more because there’s always going to be someone above you.
Michelle: You know what this brings me to when I watched the Paris Hilton documentary?
Gabe: You watch weird TV.
Michelle: Yeah. She said she first wanted to make $100 million, and then she said she wanted to make $1 billion. So not even Paris Hilton is happy with her wealth.
Michelle: And that’s Paris Hilton.
Gabe: That’s literally Paris Hilton.
Michelle: That’s Paris Hilton. I would love. To have that girl’s money. Did you see the wedding thing she put on? She did a three-day wedding.
Gabe: I want to pivot you ever so slightly. Have you ever heard of Casey McQuillen?
Gabe: Yeah. You know why? Because she lost American Idol, right? She. She failed. Literally failed in front of 40 million people. And you’re thinking, wow, this is a great story. Gabe, thanks for bringing this up here. I interviewed her on the Inside Mental Health podcast and I introduced her as Casey McMillan from American Idol. And she said, look, I lost, right? I didn’t even make it to the live shows. I lost so hard. But yet you introduced me as the woman from American Idol. 40 million people heard me sing. Yes, I did not win. I did not make it to the live shows, but I launched this entire career. I’m on this podcast right now being interviewed by you because I failed in front of 40 million people on American Idol. I really took that to heart because I got to tell you, if I lost American Idol, all I would tell people is that I suck and I lost American Idol. That’s it. That’s all I would be saying. And this woman is like, I got huge name recognition. I launched a several albums, an anti-bullying campaign, an anti body shaming campaign. I am on your show being introduced as the woman from the show that I lost. She has reframed this into the most incredible thing I have ever seen, all because she literally failed in front of 40 million people on American Idol. Why can’t we do that? Michelle Why? Why can’t we do that? There’s not 40 million people involved, and yet we can’t do it even in our own homes, by ourselves, in front of each other on our little texty phones. Be less Michelle. More. Casey McQuillan.
Michelle: I think I think we need I think we need to be a little bit more positive. Okay.
Gabe: Is that really? You just think we need to just cheer up.
Michelle: Cheer up, Charlie. Cheer up, Charlie.
Gabe: Are? Are?
Gabe: Are you singing?
Michelle: Isn’t that from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?
Gabe: Are you desperately trying to sing the song from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?
Michelle: Cheer up, Charlie. I got a golden ticket.
Gabe: And then his grandpa, who was disabled and couldn’t work and suddenly just jumped out of bed.
Michelle: Yeah. What was up with that?
Gabe: You got to be Grandpa Joe. See, Grandpa Joe was like, I’m a failure. I can’t do anything. And then suddenly Grandpa Joe reframed, I’m a failure and I can’t do anything to I can absolutely, unequivocally do this thing that I want to do.
Michelle: Yeah, he just got out of bed.
Gabe: Yeah. You got to find your thing that you want to do, and you’re doing it. Why am I trying to convince you you’re a success? You know what? Screw you. You’re fine.
Michelle: You know what? Screw you. You’re a success. You spoke at Oxford, so shut the F up all the time.
Gabe: Don’t you wish it was that easy? I mean, seriously, I am proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I. Are you proud of what? Seriously? No, no, no joke here. Are you proud of what you’re accomplishing? Of what you have accomplished?
Michelle: Yes. I just need to accomplish more.
Gabe: See, that’s where I am. And more, more for me is always a moving target. Here’s another question. When you started your clothing line, did you think to yourself, All right, if I break even, I’ll be happy?
Gabe: Okay. And in the early days when you got like some orders, you got really excited. Right? When an order came in, you were like, people are buying it. And that was like, really, really good for you, right?
Michelle: I still get excited when I get an order online.
Gabe: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Okay. And then when you do your pop ups, right, when you make a couple $100 or aren’t you like walking on cloud nine.
Michelle: Uh, yeah.
Gabe: Okay, so this brings you joy. It’s profitable. People have heard of it. It’s how we met. It literally launched your career, which, whether you like it or not, absolutely, unequivocally exists. And you did all of this with zero help. With zero help. You did this by yourself. In fact, you had barriers that other people are probably unaware of. Right? You started this in New York City, one of the most competitive and dog eat dog places on the planet. Right. You didn’t start this in Utah or Ohio where people are like, oh, that’s so sweet. You stood on the streets of New York City ten years ago, back before mental health was cool. You stood on the streets of New York City, one of the most aggressive places in the world, and sold mental illness products. The name of your company is Schizophrenic.NYC, for Pete’s sake. People. Well, people still, but back then people were super mean to you and you were just like, Whatever, this is what I sell and you’ve done it profitably and successfully.
Gabe: What? I don’t. I don’t understand. You’re one of the most successful people I know.
Michelle: If you insist.
Gabe: Who’s more successful?
Michelle: There’s another clothing brand on Instagram.
Gabe: I’ve never heard of it.
Michelle: Well, I’m not going to say the name, but they do better than me.
Gabe: How do you know?
Michelle: They have more followers; they post more ads.
Gabe: So, they’re constantly advertising and they bought their followers. That’s certainly a possibility, right? I mean, it is possible they bought their followers or hired a giant social media company that cost them thousands upon thousands of dollars to get people casually interested. The one thing that we know about Michelle Hammers fans is that they are extremely, extremely loyal and aggressive.
Michelle: That, that is true. My customers, my fans are extremely loyal to me. That is that is very true. Extremely, extremely true.
Gabe: I talk about this all the time. Would you rather have 10 million followers or would you rather have one? And everybody, of course, always says, I would rather have 10 million followers. Okay. But the 10 million followers don’t care about mental health at all. They were just paid a dollar to subscribe. Right. They in fact, they think that mental illness is BS, the one you turn down. President of the United States who is contemplating mental health laws. You could have had a clear, open channel to the leader of the free world and you turned it down for 10 million followers that every time you post troll you. It’s not about numbers, it’s about quality. You have quality followers while you’re not happy with that.
Michelle: I don’t know. Can I get, like 20 orders a day and I’ll be happy?
Gabe: No, you won’t. You’ll want 40.
Michelle: I know, Gabe. I know. I know.
Gabe: Then you’ll want 100.
Michelle: I know. I know. You’re right.
Gabe: You know, if you had enough orders and you hired a staff, that means you’d have to manage that staff. I don’t know how you talk to other people in your life, but man.
Michelle: I’m not managing people, oh, I’m not managing people. Are you crazy?
Gabe: Well, then you can’t grow.
Michelle: Yes, I can. I can do everything by myself.
Gabe: Really? You can ship 100 orders a day and make 100 shirts and answer 100 emails. Get them to the post office.
Michelle: I hire an intern?
Gabe: You’re going to hire an intern. Really? You just said you didn’t want to manage people, and now you’re responsible for their education because that’s what an intern is. An intern does this in order for experience and skills.
Michelle: I do have an intern. I do sort of have an intern that helps me write things. Blogs, and helps me write descriptions of things. His name is Michael. Matthew, his name is Matthew.
Gabe: Are you abusing this intern? Is this a confession?
Michelle: I have an intern that works remotely for me.
Gabe: I’ve heard of another mental health advocate who had an intern. It didn’t turn out so well.
Michelle: No. He’s been working with me a long time.
Gabe: Really? Why have we never heard of this person?
Michelle: We only communicate through email.
Gabe: Michelle, does Matthew exist?
Michelle: Yes, I bet you he’s going to listen to this podcast now.
Michelle: He’s real.
Gabe: Are you, Matthew?
Michelle: No, I really do have an intern. His name is Matthew.
Gabe: Does he live in Canada?
Michelle: I don’t believe so.
Gabe: Does he go to another school?
Michelle: I don’t know. But he helps me write descriptions of stuff.
Gabe: Has anybody ever met him?
Michelle: I’d never even met him.
Gabe: Where’d you find this person?
Michelle: He emailed me.
Gabe: Is it your mom?
Michelle: No, it’s a real person.
Gabe: That you’ve never met.
Gabe: Michelle, are you having symptoms?
Michelle: Oh, my God. No, I will. I will forward you the emails I have. He’s a real person.
Gabe: You don’t have to prove it. I know you’re being serious. Michelle, sincerely. You and I have achieved a lot. And we’ve achieved a lot without a lot of help and with many barriers in the way our families, while they supported us, they did not support our dreams. I remember getting started and I was like, I’m going to be a public speaker. And my family, who again, very supportive, was like, why would people pay for that? Like, like for real? Why would anybody pay to hear you speak? What does a person living with bipolar disorder have to say that anybody would find valuable? Nobody believed in me when I started, and I understand that I had started so many things. Right? You know how many things I had started and failed at or started and quit? Like, I completely understand why they lacked belief in me, but I had to overcome all of that. And you did, too. How much did you have to overcome to start out? Forget about the fact that you’re not where you want to be. At one point you were nowhere and you had to get to here. Tell us the story of how much you overcame to get to here.
Michelle: Oh, well, I had to. I just jumped in and started a clothing line, and everyone was my parents. I think I told you that they called my doctor and said she spent all this money on t shirts. Is this just another episode that she’s having? Everyone was like, What are you doing? The person I was seeing at the time, I was like, I’m starting a clothing line, Schizophrenic.NYC because I have schizophrenia. And he didn’t believe that I had schizophrenia. And so, he was like, What are you talking about? I mean, everybody was like, What are you doing? What are you making? Some friends of mine saw the shirts that I was making. They’re like, Um, I don’t know what those. My friends are like, What are you doing? We don’t really like that. I have a friend that owns an art gallery and, you know, I sell my art on my website. I sell a lot of art on my website. She has never even said anything or offered anything about putting my art in her art gallery. She does not like my art at all, I guess. And I have shipped my art across the world. My friend has never mentioned putting my art in her art gallery. And it makes me so upset. Like, so upset. I’ve shipped my art. Around the world. Why does she hate my art so much?
Gabe: I have no idea what she’s thinking, but that’s my point. You didn’t start this and have a whole bunch of people surround you and give you all of this help. You did this all by yourself, and you really have to give yourself credit for this because it’s really difficult to start a business. Forget about me in a mental health advocate for a minute. It’s really difficult to start a business. It’s difficult to put yourself out there. It’s difficult to get the money together. It’s difficult to get the website up. It’s difficult to do all of these things. And you did it and you’ve gotten into some really awesome places. At one point this podcast, I know that it has waned in recent years, but we still have this loyal following of fans. You did that. I know that you are too hard on yourself and I wish you could see your success through the same lens that I see it from because kudos to you Michelle you kick ass.
Michelle: I think you kick ass.
Gabe: Aww. What? No, no follow up.
Michelle: I feel like we should end it there.
Gabe: I paid you $300 to compliment me. I think you could say more than just. I think you kick ass.
Michelle: I’ll put my foot in your ass.
Gabe: Wow. Now you’re Red Forman from That 70’s Show and now That 90’s Show.
Michelle: I know. Did you watch That 90’s Show?
Gabe: I did. I liked it.
Michelle: It was so good. It was so good.
Gabe: I liked it. I liked it.
Gabe: I liked it. Michelle, what’s next for you?
Michelle: The next thing I have planned is May 13th, 9:30 at night. It’s a comedy show called Kracking Up: A Crazy Night of Mental Health Comedy. It’s at the Caveat in New York City. Tickets are going to be on sale soon. You can find the website is KrackingUp.lol. Kracking up is spelled with a K, so that’s how you spell Kracking Up. So KrackingUp.lol. And I want everyone to attend.
Gabe: And are we going to be there? Like I think that’s the lead. Like Gabe and Michelle are going to be there live.
Michelle: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Gabe is going to be there. I’m going to be there. I’m the host. Gabe is going to do a little intro doo doo dippity doo thing. I’m going to be selling stuff.
Gabe: I’m dancing. I’m doing. I’m doing a pole dance.
Michelle: That’s going to make people not want to come.
Gabe: That’s so mean.
Michelle: Pole dance, Gabe? Really?
Gabe: Oh, fine.
Michelle: But yeah, but that’s in May during Mental Health Awareness month and that should be a really hilarious, hilarious time.
Gabe: It’s going to be a lot of fun. There’s going to be a lot of great comedians there. Not just Gabe and Michelle, we promise. Check it out on KrackingUp.lol. Kracking Up is with a K. Michelle, did you have fun on our bonus episode?
Michelle: I had some fun. I’m feeling better and I’m doing good. I’m doing. I’m feeling. I’m feeling more uplifted. I’m feeling the uplifting ness.
Gabe: That’s great. Everybody needs a friend to tell them, you know, when they’re full of shit and to cheer up, right? That’s the
Michelle: Right, right.
Gabe: Real, real talk. Is super important. Like, don’t get mad at your friends when they don’t tell you what you want to hear. Because what you need to hear is often more important than what you want to hear. We had to have a lesson, right? A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, a Podcast, and a Lesson. Right? We had to we had to drive it home. We have no way to end this show. Normally we start reading off sponsors, but I guess all we have is that my name is Gabe Howard and I wrote the book “Mental Illness Is an Asshole and Other Observations,” which is available on my website and also Amazon. And I haven’t done this in a while. I don’t even remember the script, so I don’t know. Buy the book. Michelle, you did some shit too.
Michelle: Yeah, I’m Michelle Hammer, schizophrenia activist in New York City and I have the website Schizophrenic.NYC. It’s a mental health, clothing and lifestyle brand and you should buy some stuff because that would make me really happy.
Gabe: We have no idea when we will see you next.
Michelle: Not a clue. But if you want to be our sponsor, we’re here.
Gabe: Obviously we had to have A Bipolar, a Podcast, and a Lesson, and that’s all I’ve got. Do you have anything else, Michelle?
Michelle: The not so much. But if you would love to be our sponsor, I would love that too. And you guys can all hear a lot more episodes if that happens, right?
Gabe: Don’t. I love the begging, but. But on that note, my name is Gabe Howard and I’m the author of “Mental Illnesses Is an Asshole and Other Observations,” which is available on Amazon. But you can grab a signed copy with free show swag just by heading over to gabehoward.com.
Michelle: That’s right. And hit me up at Schizophrenic.NYC to find out what you can get from me. My mental health and lifestyle clothing brand.
Gabe: We have no idea when we will see you again. So, until next time.
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 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.