America’s Got Talent judge Howie Mandel has been open about his struggles with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), and now he’s sharing his wisdom with singer and internet personality Lele Pons.
Lele has a series on YouTube called The Secret Life of Lele Pons, in which she documents her life. In a recent episode, Lele talks about OCD with Howie. She looks up to him as an example of someone who became successful while living with the disorder.
Howie Mandel Talks About Living With OCD
Howie says people would be surprised by how much he struggles, because they’re used to him being funny. “I can’t just lie down and relax, ’cause if I do, it gets noisy, and it gets dark, and it gets scary, and it’s powerfully annoying,” he said.
When he and Lele met up, Howie shared a story of being on his way out for an appointment and spending two and a half hours checking to make sure he locked the door. He ended up breaking the knob off. Lele shared a similar story of breaking the handle in her shower while checking if it was off.
Howie explained that other people might have the thought that they didn’t lock the door or turn off the shower, “but it doesn’t stop your life.” For people with OCD, on the other hand, “my life is stopped.”
He told Lele that she doesn’t have to explain her condition to other people. “They don’t have to understand it,” he said. “You just have to cope. If you spend your time making other people understand it, that’s a waste of energy.”
Howie Explains What His OCD Is Like
Howie told Lele he thinks everyone has the same thoughts they have. “You’ll get a crazy thought, and then it goes away,” he said of other people’s tendencies. “We are like a record that skips. So if we have a crazy thought and identify that crazy thought, then it doesn’t go away. And I can’t get that skipping away, and I have to do something.”
Many people know that Howie has a fear of germs, and prefers giving people fist bumps rather than shaking their hands. He wrote a book about his experience, published in 2009, titled Here’s The Deal: Don’t Touch Me.
In the documentary, Howie went on to say that life is “a fight worth fighting.” He compared it to boxing, and said, “If you’re dealing with a mental health issue, you’re gonna get knocked down, you’re gonna get kicked in the nuts. But you get up.”