The Mighty Logo

The Real Reason Behind My 'Ellen DeGeneres Show' 'Obsession'

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

People who know me are well aware of my love of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” When I give out my phone number, I make sure to mention that I won’t answer when the show is on. (I don’t have a DVR.) Some people have even called me Ellen by mistake, although I take that as a compliment. But there is a reason behind my Ellen obsession, and it may not be what you think.

One day, not long after I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of 15, when I was struggling in school, I came home sobbing. I’d had a more difficult day than usual. So my mom told me to go watch “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” I sobbed over to the TV and turned on her show. Less than a minute into her monologue, I began to smile. Then I was laughing. And soon, I was laughing so hard that I was crying again.

It was at that moment that I knew I would be OK in life. I could survive school, bad days, and even this diagnosis that I didn’t really understand at the time. In those few seconds of an emotional roller coaster ride, the show had already made an impact on my life.

I found comfort in the routine of watching the show every weekday. I enjoyed the sense of humor that seemed to lack any amount of hatred towards others. Each day was rewarded by this show that brought me happiness.

As I have grown older, I’ve continued to follow the show. I still watch it daily. Only now I watch it while wearing my Ellen hoodie (I own three of them!) in my own apartment. I use an Ellen-themed token board with letters of her name for the tokens, to reward myself for doing things that I find difficult. (The final reward is seeing her name fully spelled out with the tokens!)

When I struggled to attend college, I found out Ellen dropped out of college. This didn’t discourage me from attending (I’m in college now!), but it helped me to realize it was OK that I couldn’t at the time.

So, while this whole article may just seem like a person with an obsession writing (and it is), it’s also to highlight the moment I realized I would be OK. Someone else who has become a major success despite (or perhaps because of) her differences made me feel less alone.

Erin’s “Ellen” themed token board

Lead photo source: Screenshot from YouTube video

Originally published: January 5, 2016
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home