Monday, June 5, 2017

Interview: Books, Bipolar, & the Brilliant Rebecca Lombardo

I had the pleasure of interviewing author and advocate, Rebecca Lombardo, in short, we were thrilled. She's someone my parts and I have come to adore and respect across the board. Her and her husband, Joe Lombardo, are working hard to bring about change.

They do so together with their many endeavors. The Voices for Change 2.0 podcast, her blog and the re-launch of her book, "It's Not Your Journey" are a few ways they rock the mental health community. What they're doing is an invaluable venture for the mental health community and for those who live with Bipolar --like she does-- and how this impacts the significant other/spouse --like he does!

We had another of our wonderful chats via skype and discussed the unstoppable Lombardo 'rockin' Team, as well as, the profound things Rebecca brings into the light that are so important to draw your attention to in order to bring about change!

Joe & Bekka Lombardo-IMG courtesy of Rebecca

Erika: Hey lady, thanks for chatting with me (us) today!

Rebecca: No problem, thanks for asking.

E: Of course, we adore you as you know (haha) So I'd like to begin by discussing the relaunch of your book, "It's Not Your Journey."

R: Great. Starting at what brought this about... In 2013 I attempted suicide. For me, it was more about punishing myself for all these perceived 'mistakes.' The lie of, "Everybody would be better off without me," it became worse and worse. That day, by the time Joe (husband) got home I was passed the breaking point.

E: I'm sorry but thrilled you're here to discuss it with us.

R: Thanks. It was a difficult time, but I always wrote poetry mostly, and then was blogging from time to time, but that was for me. I thought, lets try blogging again. I wrote a few posts and then decided to make them public to friends and Joe only, but after encouragement I then began to publicize them.

People were really into it! All over the world. I would get messages from people telling me how I was saying everything they were thinking. It was really rewarding for about a year, but then I began wondering... Can you turn a blog into a book?

We began to look at self publishing options. We didn't know then what we do now and that road of self publishing became a nightmare! I kept writing, and sent things to different publishers while a couple were initially interested they later contacted me and withdrew their initial interest. I had another publisher finally on board, it was encouraging, but after waiting four months I was finally contacted again and they declined.

E: Wow, that's shitty! Sorry, love.

R: Thanks and yeah, it took months because I became discouraged. I decided to try one more time. The guy we ended up working with, at that time, had said all the right things, he was newer and wanted to prove himself. So we agreed to work with him and publish through Amazon. During August of 2015 we launched but he was too inexperienced unfortunately and many of the things he said he knew and was doing, he wasn't. He was supposed to be marketing and getting the book out there; I ended up handling that. Other things were difficult with the editing process, again we were told he was going to be handling that, he didn't.

E: Right, you'd think your publisher would handle that aspect of the process and set up a marketing strategy with you.

R: Yes, he never ended up having it proof edited. Added things that weren't necessary, but now I'm loving the new edition. Things are properly handled, the new book is what I envisioned. The things in the previous book that I wasn't happy with have been removed and a few things have now been added.

E: Yes! I love the new cover and can't wait to dive into this version, especially with the changes, we can't wait! I'm excited about the bonus material and poetry section you mentioned.

R: Thanks, I'm much happier with where we are now.

E: We saw you started a new hashtag... #KeepTalkingMH lets discuss it. What's the goal here and your ideas behind it? Hope?

R: I want to keep the conversation going and battle stigma. I had previously registered a # on While I was thinking about this idea "Keep Talking" came into my head. I thought, "Jackpot! I'm getting this. I'm doing it!"

I immediately started talking and got the conversation going. We had some wonderful people tweeting #KeepTalkingMH: Kevin Smith, AJ Brooks, Billy Gardell and Mr. Science Theatre 3000 to name a few.

E: Oh, very cool! Who hasn't seen Clerks or Dogma? haha! Seriously though, how wonderful of all of them to get involved in spreading the conversation of Mental Health!

R: It was great of everyone to help with this movement. It never was actually trending. Eventually I gave up on getting it trending but made it a movement. I know it's being used. It's blowing up now!

My goal for it is to become this mental health movement like #ImNotAshamed.

E: Yes! We've written for them and they're wonderful...

R: I'm hopeful for it and optimistic! We need to keep talking... I know we need to make mental health easier to talk about!

E: Absolutely, we do!

R: I'm going to keep asking people to tweet about it. I'm hoping, now, to get the attention of @WashPostLife

E: That's the starting point. Talking and getting people involved, is so important.

R: Mental Health isn't singular. It opens up the whole realm of mental health. I wanted it to include everyone so I made it as general as possible. I think it can get bigger from here.
 One thing that's kinda inspired me here is, Sarah Fader. She's like a kick in the ass to me. Like, "Oh, I gotta get to work." We're all in this together. We all have to participate.

E: Good way to look at it! Having open and continued conversations about mental illness with those living their lives with MI's and the people in their lives! So, that brings me to my biggest curiosity how does Joe help day to day? How do you work through the tough spots together?

R: It was tough at first. He had to learn the ins and outs. All people are different and we all process differently. He had to learn my pet peeves and we had to learn to manage life together.

E: I love the way you both talk about your lives, you always say "we." Acknowledging the other and each other's struggles. It's very encouraging.

R: It took years of practice. He wasn't ever bad at it. He just knew this was big and took it head on. We had first met and tried to date but it didn't work out. About a year later, we got in touch again and he said, "I can't get you outa my head." I was touched but upfront with him. I was struggling and self-injuring quite frequently at that time.

Joe took everything on. We were and still are in this together. We officially began dating in May of 2001 and August 3rd, 2001 we were married.

E: Oh my! That's fast but hey it worked out great for you both. I guess when ya know that's it, end of...rather beginning of new chapter in the story.

R: Yes. Over the years Joe has only continued to learn and help me with my disorder. He goes behind my back to read up on stuff I think, haha! He'll come outa nowhere with a new thing.

"What Can I do to Make this Better?" -Joe Lombardo, the super hero of supportive spouses!

E: That again is so wonderful and honestly invaluable he'll say that and just knows what you need.

R: In my 20's I didn't ever think I'd find love. I look at this man laying next to me at times and I can't believe I ever loved anyone else. It's us against the world and we're strong together. Everything's great.

"I'm good at being married to Joe & that's good enough for me..." -Rebecca Lombardo, Super Hero Slayer of Stigma

E: Fantastic. I really do find myself often looking to your relationship. So lets chat Voices for Change 2.0!

R: I talked to him about it here and there. I asked him if he thought anyone would listen if I did a podcast? From there it grew. I always wanted to present both perspectives. We began discussing our options what we wanted to discuss and how we wanted to achieve our goals.

With our previous network things were always a nightmare and problematic, but now with Scott and Left of Straight Radio we couldn't be happier with the way things are going. It's such a breeze now, we're booked through September 2017!

E: Holy crap! That's amazing. After such a hellish ordeal with the previous network that's amazing and I'm very excited to be on the podcast next week!

R: Thanks and yes, Joe and I are looking forward to it!

E: Okay...This brings us to my last question for you. What were some of your favorite shows? Those moments we (those tuning in) couldn't hear between you and Joe or your guests on the Voices for Change 2.0 Podcast?

R: Wow. Great question, give me a minute here.

E: No worries. I'm nosey and I know it. (haha)

R: Oh ok! One of my favorite guests was Saphyre Rain. Austin and Amanda...I adore them. I met Amanda on twitter after hearing a song they did about Suicide Prevention-- 2 years ago. We've had them on the show twice now.

E: Yes! I caught that episode and they're wonderful. I'll often "come back" to their music blaring on youtube. Who else or what other moments? Sorry...We were excited for this question haha!

R: Haha! No problem. OH! Our "craziest" guest experience was with Diamond Dallas Page (DDP). He was dropping F bombs and we didn't realize he was going to do that on the show. (Laughter) He was definitely one of my favorites and the most shocking!

And of course when we had Karen Unrue on! Her phone kept dropping the calls. On our previous network we would've been beyond stressed and all freaking out, losing my mind! Not at all what happened with Scott driving the broadcast. There was so much laughter.

E: Haha! YES! I remember that show well. We adore Karen and her new book.

R: Yes! Haha! When we were on messenger with Scott during the show it was back and forth with "Got her!" and "Lost Her." The entire thing, all we could do was push on and laugh about it. You even tweeted us saying, "Karen come back!" We were all full of laughter and talking about it again now is bringing how funny it all was back to me!

E: Oh we so remember that one!  Nooo, Come back, Karen! (at this point Rebecca and I were laughing uncontrollably)

R: Yes! I love listening to Britt's talk and to hear Karen say, "Oh bloody hell" it was too much we couldn't help but just laugh about it and continue trying to get her on the line.

E: Me too, not sure why it's a thing, but it is and yes everyone handled that so well.

R: I felt proud of us --Joe, Scott and I-- afterwards. We held it together.

E: You all really did!

R: Thanks. As for our most popular show that is, Dr. Robbin Zazio from the show Hoarders.

E: Oh awesome I'm so excited to see who else you will have on! And again, we're thrilled you wanted us to be on as well discussing Dissociative Identity Disorder. Can't wait! Thank you again for chatting with us about all the amazing things you're doing.

(You can listen to the show we were apart of here)

R: Yes, we're looking forward to it as well. We've a very busy summer ahead of us!

E: I'm sure we'll talk soon and see you on the twitterverse.

R: Sounds good!

A design made by one of Rebecca's friends-Sylvia Nye


  1. Thank you, Erika this was really well done.

    1. Glad to hear you liked it! We always enjoy talking to you. <3