Niall Horan has previously shared how anxiety and mental health issues have been a factor in his on-stage performances. In 2017, the former One Direction member said he gets “a little anxious,” and in a new interview he said that he has been diagnosed with another form of mental illness — obsessive compulsive disorder.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is estimated to affect 2.2 million people in the United States, and as the Anxiety and Depression Association of America explains, the disorder can cause a person to experience unwanted compulsions and obsessions, ranging from behavior to thoughts. As pointed out by Just Jared Jr., Niall explained in an interview with German magazine ZEIT LEO that doctors call his OCD “mild.”
The performer explained how his OCD causes “tics,” or the need to complete behaviors in a particular way. “I feel like I have to do things in a certain way,” he said in the interview. “For example, if I have a burger with chips on my plate, I always have to eat the chips first and only pick up the burger at the very end.” Niall went on to share how OCD has impacted his performance.
“There are other tics in my life. Even when I go on stage, I only have one fixed sequence. I always have to sing in the same order, move and so on,” he said.
He also previously explained that he practices a breathing technique before he goes on stage to cope with anxiety. It’s called”box breathing,” which is process where you take a deep breath in for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, and then hold your breath for four seconds, and repeat as necessary.
Niall said he’s learned to not be ashamed of his tics, and he shouldn’t be. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, just as someone with a physical illness shouldn’t be ashamed.
“I live with them and they’re mine no matter what others think about it,” he said. “I’m just like — what the hell! Fortunately, I now have enough people around me who understand me.”
As mental health experts have previously explained, there are many people with OCD out there, and you’re not alone in this mental health struggle. Niall’s opening up about his OCD proves that. There are ways to treat and cope with the disorder, and you can always reach out to a trusted adult for help on finding what may work for you.
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