Mental Illness is Not My Identity


People often ask me if being mentally ill is my entire identity? And I can see why they kind of think that. I mean my entire
website, my platform, these vlogs, my podcasts… all of these things are
designed around one simple thing: Gabe Howard lives with bipolar disorder. So
people ask me, “Hey to become an advocate do I have to sell my entire
identity as a person? Be someone who only lives with mental illness and nothing else?” No. I don’t want my entire life to be all mental health advocacy all the time. That
would just be boring for one thing. But I think it would be obsessive, and it could
be damaging. We need breaks. One of the ways that I avoid letting
this just consume me entirely, is I make sure that I listen to my
friends and family. I go out and do things that aren’t surrounded by the mental health system. I go to the movies. I go have dinner. I have
conversations around other things that are of interest to me. And this helps me
because it’s fun. And because I’m having fun, that recharges my battery so that I
can tackle difficult topics. Topics like, “hey why are we abusing people with
mental illness? Why are we being blamed for all violence in society? Where do I
stand on this political agenda or this legislation?” All of that takes a lot of
time. So I need to make sure that I have some down time. It’s
important to have hobbies and interests outside of the mental health field. It’s
important to know people that you don’t talk about mental health advocacy with. And you talk about anything but. Because you need time to regroup. It’s important. I think my close friends and family, my circle, understand that I’m
so much more than a mental health advocate. My name is Gabe Howard. Visit me
on the web down there at GabeHoward.com to learn more about me and watch lots of
cool things. I’ll see you next time.

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