Comedian Howie Mandel said that the anxiety and fear that came with the COVID-19 pandemic had been particularly difficult for him to manage in addition to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) he already struggled with.
Mandel described the situation to fellow comedian Bill Maher on Sunday’s episode of the latter’s podcast, “Club Random” — where he complained that the only way he was able to deal with the stress of lockdowns was to “black out” — usually with the aid of alcohol or marijuana in one form or another.
“COVID f***ed me up royally. I was smoking [marijuana] a lot. I can’t do anything in moderation,” Mandel said.
“Is that right?” Maher asked.
“I have to smoke ’til I’m not conscious. And if I can’t get enough pot ’til I’m not conscious, I would take a drink. And then if there wasn’t enough to drink, I would eat like seven gummies,” Mandel elaborated.
Maher pointed out the fact that a reasonably healthy person like Mandel had nothing to fear with regard to COVID, noting that the risk of complications or severe disease was low for him. And that was when Mandel explained that his reaction had nothing to do with fear — but everything to do with his OCD.
“Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is just this — when you are cognizant of the fact that your thoughts and your fears are not making sense, but you can’t stop that thought or that fear. And it becomes repetitive so much so that you have to, it stops your life,” Mandel explained, comparing himself to the reclusive businessman Howard Hughes. “A very intelligent man who ended his final years alone in a room naked, pissing into bottles, right? I can’t tell you how close I am to that. Every waking moment of my life.”
“Misery doesn’t love company. Right. And I was in the most miserable place in the world,” Mandel said of his state of mind during the pandemic. “And it was this nightmare that I couldn’t get out of. And the only way that I could possibly shut down was just to — black out.”
“It’s a kind of exquisite torture when you’re one half of your brain knows something, but the other half can’t follow it,” Maher agreed.
You can watch the full episode of “Club Random” featuring Howie Mandel below: