Today is Howie Mandel’s Birthday. The Canadian-born comedian is a spokesperson for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). His life is an example of what medication and therapy can allow, even in the face of these crippling conditions.
In 2009, the then Deal or No Deal host went public with his OCD drama in a humorous book entitled, “Here’s the Deal, Don’t Touch Me.” It turns out his famous fist bump on the show was more about avoiding germs than anything else.
The now co-host of America’s Got Talent, Mandel is a beloved actor and king of the stand-up stage. When he finally spoke candidly about his condition, he said, “The biggest fear I have is being triggered, And if I’m triggered and I get some sort of weird thought in my head that can’t go, then my day is, is stopped. My life stops.” This is a common theme for OCD suffers, who are mentally bombarded with obsessive, repetitive thoughts that interfere with normal functioning. The combination of this and ADHD leaves him, in his own words, “highly medicated” at all times when in public.
Mandel’s condition obliterates two pervasive myths:
Myth: Only children have ADHD.
FACT: Many cases are diagnosed in childhood; however, ADHD is not confined to childhood. It severely impairs learning and behavioral control throughout the life span for those who have it.
Myth: A person can either have ADHD or OCD, not both.
FACT: Many psychiatric disorders, including ADHD and OCD can show the same types of symptoms, but can also be present concurrently with completely different affects. According to Mandel, he has a whole list of symptoms.
Howie Mandel Makes Laughter His Connection to The World
In an interview with ABC 2020, Mandel said, “You know, in the middle of a workday, wherever you work in America, if you got up and say, ‘I’m gonna go see my dentist,’ nobody would even flinch; but if you got up in the middle of the day and said, ‘You know what, I gotta go, I’m having a little issue. I’ve gotta go to my psychiatrist. I’ll be back in an hour.’ I think that people would – [react by saying] ‘Did he just say he’s going to the psychiatrist?’ …There’s a stigma.”
Mandel is right. People fear what they do not understand; and mental health seems to be one of the most confusing subjects for society because even when you think you know what you are witnessing, it could be something else. Mandel helps to relieve that stigma by being an advocate of treatment and living a successful life while taking prescribed medications and receiving regular therapy. He is not asking others to do things he has not done. He also remains committed comedy. You might say it is own personal therapy, since being a part of society is one of the main actualization goals that many people with mental health conditions have.
“If I do something funny and I hear a crowd laugh in that moment,” Mandel said, “we’re all sharing the exact same experience and the exact same feeling. And that’s the only time when I feel part of the world.” It brings a whole new meaning to “laughter is the best medicine.”
ABC 2020. “Germs: ‘No Deal’ for Host Howie Mandel” http://abcnews.go.com/2020/howie-mandel-public-obsessive-compulisve-diso… 25 Nov. 2012