Howie Mandel of America's Got Talent opens up about his battle with OCD. The funny man jokes about the disorder, calling himself a 'professional neurotic.'
According to Popeater, Mandel has suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder for years, and one of the biggest fears he faces is hotel rooms. He avoids them as often as possible, even while on the road.
"This side of the Mississippi I fly back on the same night. If I'm in the northeast I have my own place up in Toronto where I stay," Mandel says.
When asked about bedbugs in hotel rooms in recent years, and how that impacts his OCD, Mandel jokes that since the bedbug epidemic, the rest of the world gets a taste of how he feels 24/7.
"I love that everybody's paranoid and taking precautions. I've been sleeping in a cocoon and not touching the comforters as it was so I've been safe. I check really closely. I travel with a magnifying glass, a black light. I don't touch their sheets. I take mine, everything is sealed in plastic. I take towels and make a path. I'm a professional neurotic," he admits.
Can you imagine living with OCD as Howie Mandel has? He claims the disorder is why he always fist-bumps rather than shaking hands with people. His phobia of germs is always foremost in his mind. It must be difficult to go on tour as a stand up comic and to do TV shows, given the traveling and the many people he comes into contact with.
People often make fun of those suffering from OCD. However the condition "is the fourth most common mental disorder" and is diagnosed as frequently as asthma and diabetes. Most sufferers do realize that the obsessions have little to no merit, however all that seems to do is heighten their stress.
Howie Mandel has opened the door for many OCD sufferers to not only acknowledge, but to also go public with their afflictions. There shouldn't be shame associated with any disorder, so hopefully awareness will help create more tolerance.
The America's Got Talent star jokes that he would be much less stressed if he lived in an Asian country, since they tend to bow to one another rather than shaking hands.
"I feel like I'm a short Asian man trapped in a goofy Jewish body," Howie Mandel says.
He acknowledges the serious aspects of OCD, and fears he could become like Howard Hughes--also a sufferer.
"He functioned and did well in life and it scares me as depicted in the DiCaprio movie, he's in a room at the end naked and peeing in bottles. I've said this many times before I'm really not that far from him. I live on the edge and I can see without the therapy and medicine how that's not so far fetched."
Behind funny man Howie Mandel is a serious disorder, however he successfully perseveres--in public no less! Hopefully other OCD sufferers will find hope in his actions.
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