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A Spotlight on Award-Winning Advocate and Everyday Hero Gabe Howard

For years Gabe Howard teetered between a mania that made him “wild” and a depression that made him suicidal. When he was manic, he’d stay awake for days. He’d drink and use drugs. He’d take unnecessary risks. He felt invincible. When he was depressed, he felt utterly worthless and alone. He constantly thought about suicide and even had a plan. “I wanted to die and believed that no one would miss me,” said Howard. He was struggling with bipolar disorder and severe anxiety. Which he and his loved ones didn’t know. Instead, from childhood, everyone assumed that he had a behavioral issue, or a personality flaw—sadly, a common assumption with undiagnosed mental illness. “During either stage [mania or depression], I wasn’t a good friend, husband, or family member. I was unreliable, dismissive, even mean. I just wasn’t someone I would want to be around—and no one else wanted to be around me, either.” Things were all the more confusing because sometimes life was perfectly normal. For instance, Howard had a great job, was married and bought his own home at 20 years old. “I really felt like a rock star who had it all figured out.” But a lot of the time “life was a nightmare,” he said. At 25 Howard was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for suicidal ideation, depression and delusions. “My mind was, frankly, just shot. I had a suicide plan and I didn’t really know up fr...
Source: World of Psychology - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Tags: Bipolar Disorders Family Friends General Health-related Interview Mental Health and Wellness Psychology Self-Help Stigma Treatment Advocacy Bipolar Disorder Depression destigmatization Hospitalization Manic Episode peer Source Type: blogs

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