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Pay Attention to the Man with Mental Illness!

There are many ways to start a blog titled Pay Attention to the Man with Mental Illness! The title is rather self-explanatory, but also brings up other questions. How long should you pay attention? What subject should you pay attention to? Let’s clear this up, shall we?

Pay Attention to ME, not my Mental Illness

Welcome to the Gabe Show. I want all the attention, all the time. Perhaps that is a slight exaggeration but it is closer to the truth than me being a wallflower and certainly closer to the truth than me being a typical extrovert. The energy of people has always propelled me forward or pushed me backward. I love people. I am addicted to them. And, I want to be their leader.

Okay, leader is the wrong term. I don’t want to be responsible for them or tell them what to do or set boundaries or enforce rules. Mostly because I don’t want to enforce those rules on myself. Picture a free spirit and add a healthy dose of crazy.

Pay Attention to the Man with Bipolar (Me!)

Not crazy in a medically diagnosed mental illness way that involves treatment and doctors but the kind of crazy as in, “Gabe, you’re crazy!” I wear that as a badge of honor. I want that. I work for that. In my rawest form at the end of the day, that is probably the only single term that can describe me perfectly. I genuinely try to be the most memorable person people meet in a day. I’m delightfully unique.

In fairness, I am also legitimately mentally ill. Being bipolar is part of who I am. Which part, I have no earthly idea. But, I assure you, it’s in there.

I am loud. I am attention-seeking. I am charismatic. I am opinionated. I am obnoxious. I am witty, funny, charming, and larger than life. If you are the type of person that finds those qualities annoying then, well, I’m annoying. Straight up annoying.

It really is as simple as that.

Career Opportunities for “Annoying” People (with or without Mental Illness)

Here is the good news: I am a public speaker. More specifically, I am a keynote speaker and an educator.  The only thing that matters when I walk out on stage is that the audience pays attention to me. I could deliver the best message, the most well-researched advice, or even the freaking meaning of life, but if no one is paying attention, it doesn’t matter. At all.

But, no matter what you think of me, you will remember me. You will remember I was there. You will remember what I said. Isn’t that the point of interacting with people? Isn’t that the point of having a message to deliver? Isn’t that the point of living?

And, couldn’t that be the meaning of life . . .

(probably not . . .) ;) 

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Gabe Howard Interview on La Literati

Hey everybody! Have you heard my latest podcast interview with La Literati? If you haven’t already, check it out.

In it we discuss my story of how I became a motivational speaker for learning how to live with mental health issues. I explain my personal background in how I discovered I have bipolar disorder and how I’ve overcome obstacles that I have faced because of it in my life – and I continue to do so. It’s an ongoing battle that can be managed and you do not have to let get you down.

Gabe Howard is a speaker, award-winning advocate, mental illness blogger and writer, as well a person living with severe bipolar and anxiety disorders. In the past ten years, he has made it his mission to put a face on mental illness that isn’t stereotypical. Society often sees people living with mental illness at their worst and he works to add a more balanced view to the conversation. Gabe is frequently irreverent, often too loud, and always unpredictable, but anyone who knows him will tell you that life would be so boring without him.We uncover some of the stereotypes and misunderstandings that people with mental health face from others who have never experienced it. We take calls from a few other people suffering with mental health issues and the common thread throughout the interview is that we’re not alone. We’re all in this together. There are others just like you going through the same struggles.

My goal is to help humanize and educate others who are living with mental health problems (1 in 5 Americans suffer from it). Got a question about the topic? Want to leave a comment? Please feel free using the below form. I’d love to hear what you have to say!

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I have Bipolar & Anxiety Disorders and I #LiveBold on HealthCentral

I am excited to announce that I am the second place winner of HealthCentral’s Live Bold, Live Now Photo Contest. The Live Bold contest is designed to show a person living well in spite of a health challenge. I have bipolar and anxiety disorders and I live bold every day. I have Mental Illness and I #LiveBold on HealthCentral

During the contest, over 1,150 individuals cast almost 2,100 total votes for me alone. The outpouring of support was amazing. As I sit here, I am still in shock, knowing the cumulative effort of so many people made this possible.

Winning this contest means an incredible amount, not just to me, but to anyone living with mental illness. The people who were voting sent me message after message cheering me on for my bravery, my openness, and they used my story to openly discuss mental illness with their friends and family. The amount of value this has is immeasurable.

Living with Bipolar and Anxiety is Uncertain

Living with bipolar and anxiety is uncertain, but I am absolutely certain about this: While it may be my name on the ballot, this is not entirely my victory. This victory belongs to every single person who wakes up every day and works to lead a good life in spite of their mental illness. This is a victory for every person who works to eliminate the fear, discrimination, and misinformation about mental illness. This is our victory, because we all stood together and weren’t quiet. We shared our stories, believed in ourselves, and supported each other. In the end, we all won, together.

We didn’t just click a gray box that said VOTE. We opened ourselves up to the idea that people with mental illness can, and do, #livebold. Thank you to everyone who voted and shared this story with the people in their lives. Working together, we accomplished something amazing.

I cannot thank you enough.

~Gabe Howard

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Hello world!

Welcome to the new GabeHoward.com. I am currenty working the kinks out and setting everything up.  There will be more to come very shortly. Stay tuned!

In the meantime – connect with me on FaceBook or E-mail me, gabe@gabehoward.com

A special thanks to Elijah Heiss for making this possible. :)

Thank you,
Gabe Howard

 

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