John Green Shares YouTube Video About What Living With OCD Is Like

Living with a mental illness can feel isolating at times. So when a friend or public figure opens up about their experience, it can help foster conversation as well as reduce stigma.

On Tuesday, author John Green posted a video to the YouTube channel he shares with his brother to share his experience living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

In his video, Green explained how OCD is often trivialized as excessive neatness and a fear of germs — themes commonly portrayed in popular media. However, OCD is more than how it’s stereotypically depicted. “I experience these obsessive thought spirals in which intrusive thoughts — that is like thoughts I don’t want to have that seem to come from outside of me — hijack my consciousness,” Green said.

While thought spirals can be exhausting, they can also be quite scary, Green said, adding, “If I can’t choose my thoughts and I am at least in part, made out of these thoughts, am I actually the captain of the ship I call myself?”

Green also explained how compulsive behaviors — such as repeatedly checking food labels for contamination and googling what will happen if he consumes the product — are ways he comforts and calms himself.

Later in the video, Green explained how he used his experience in his upcoming novelTurtles All the Way Down” to “find a form and expression for this way down, non-censorial experience of living inside of thought spirals.” The main character of his new book, Aza Holmes, lives with these thought spirals as well, all while trying to be a good daughter, student and friend.

Twitter users responded positively to Green’s video, thanking him for his openness and sharing their own experiences.

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