John Green Opens Up About His OCD And Mental Health

8 October 2018, 13:48

John Green
Picture: CBS

By Chandni Sembhi

John Green has opened up about his struggled with mental health in a touching interview.

Mental health is a popular topic among YouTubers, with a lot of them struggling with it. Zoella has spoken out multiple times about her anxiety and how it can affect her at meet and greets, Rose and Rosie have been candid with their experiences of OCD and anxiety, and Kiera Rose opened up about dermatillomania, anxiety and depression.​ The latest YouTuber to share their hardcomings is one half of the Vlogbrothers, and author, John Green.

John Green is arguably one of the most successful YouTubers right now. He's been posting with his brother, Hank, on their Vlogbrothers YouTube channel since 2007, in 2010 they started up the biggest YouTube convention in the world: VidCon, and since then he has published 7 books. His most recent book, 'Turtles All The Way Down' focuses on mental health, with the main character dealing with OCD. He told CBS' 60 Minutes with Jon Wertheim that when he writes, he's writing to his teenage self, who also struggled with OCD.

John said in his new book he wanted to try and put readers inside the shoes of someone experiencing OCD, using the metaphor of a spiral. Spirals can keep tightening forever, never reaching an end point - just like the nature of obsessive thoughts that can just expand and grow, and how he uses compulsive behaviours to deal with it. When asked how he can break free of the spiral, he says that he exercises, because even though he doesn't enjoy it, it stops him from thinking.

In the brutally honest interview, John Green said that speaking up about his disorders is still difficult. He's not totally overcome his issues, and speaking about them makes them more real, so that they're dangerous to talk about for him. John said his disorders are ongoing, "it's not a dragon that I slayed".

People have praised John for being so honest about his experiences, and helping to remove the stigma surrounding mental illnesses.

It isn't just Twitter that's thankful for John speaking out, as John said he met some fans at VidCon who said they were grateful for him writing about anxiety and OCD in 'Turtles All The Way Down'. He explains symptoms of these disorders that most would find difficult to put into words, helping them to understand themselves more, but also helping those who aren't affected by OCD or anxiety to find out what it's like. Hank Green even said it helped him to understand what his brother was going through a lot better.

John ends the interview by saying "I have a really wonderful life. I have a really rich, fulfilling life. I also have a pretty serious chronic mental health problem. Those aren't mutually exclusive. The truth is that lots of people have chronic mental health problems, and still have good lives."