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 novel “Turtles 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.
As someone who also has OCD, all I can say is thank you. It’s nice to be reminded that people understand, that it’s not just “being neat”
— madeline (@mcat159) July 26, 2017
Thank you for sharing how you feel. It’s important to talk about mental health 🙂
— Jen :v (@NoMoreDramababe) July 25, 2017
My son’s OCD intermittently wreaks havoc on his life – & ours – especially since thought spirals = no sleep for days. thanks for this xo
— Nancy Burrows (@nancyb813) July 26, 2017
Thank you for sharing this with us. It really helps young people like me and helps us feel more comfortable to talk about it.
— Just a Thought… (@photography928_) July 25, 2017
I can’t thank you enough for shining a light on this illness that affects so many of us in our day to day lives
— Madi |-/ (@madiwinings) July 26, 2017