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Entertainment Weekly

Books

John Green gets real about living with OCD in new video

vlogbrothers/Youtube

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In a new YouTube video posted to his popular vlogbrothers channel, acclaimed YA author John Green (Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars) details his own personal struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

“So I have obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is mostly seen in the popular imagination as being about excessive hand washing or neatness, or whatever, because those are things you can see,” says Green, “But for me at least, there’s a reason that the ‘obsessive’ comes before the ‘compulsive’ in the name.”

In the video, Green goes on to explain what suffering from OCD means to him in terms of obsessive and intrusive thought spirals that “hijack” his consciousness. For the author, this happens all the time.

Green not only reveals his personal fight but also makes the astute observation that mental illness is not just stigmatized in society and culture, but often overly romanticized. As a response to this, his highly-anticipated new novel Turtles All the Way Down (out Oct. 10), Green’s first since the massive success of The Fault in Our Stars, will deal with these difficult thought spirals head-on through the eyes of a teenage girl.

Of his new novel, Green says, “It began for me by thinking about what it would be like to be this one particular 16-year-old girl, Aza Holmes, who is trying to be a good daughter and a good friend and a good student and maybe even a good detective while also living with terrifying thought spirals that she can not see or hear but are nonetheless very real.”

In a previous statement through his publisher, the author said that Turtles All the Way Down is his first attempt to write about the specific type of OCD that he has suffered from since child. While fictional, Green maintains that the novel is very personal.

Since the video was uploaded, there has been an outpouring of support and thanks from Nerdfighters everywhere for reminding them, and others, that they are not alone:

Green ends his video by poignantly stating, “There is hope, even if your brain tells you there isn’t.”

If you are in need of mental health services in the United States, you can find help by contacting SAMHSA at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and visiting their website at https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/ or calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visiting their website at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.

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