With the coronavirus crisis affecting everyone’s lives, more stars are opening up about their mental health struggles in an effort to help others.
YouTube sensation Lele Pons has taken that a step further with her new YouTube documentary series, The Secret Life of Lele Pons. The series pulls back the curtains on Pons’s fame as she comes forward about dealing with OCD, Tourette syndrome, ADHD, and depression.
The first episode of the series is a vulnerable exploration of the Internet star’s battle with OCD. There are even behind-the-scenes clips of some of her treatment, showing a tearful Pons being coached through her compulsions by a therapist.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, the 23-year-old revealed that she’s actually disappeared to receive treatment without anyone knowing. She said:
“I’ve been doing that for a long time, sometimes my fans don’t even notice when I’m gone. I have things accumulated, like content, but I’ve been to a ranch for a month without anyone [knowing]. When it’s really bad or when there’s a really big project coming, that might trigger a lot of my stuff, I go there to prepare myself.”
The YouTuber is upfront in the documentary about some of her compulsions, which include doing things in threes, holding her breath for a minute at a time, or switching lights on and off. She told ET:
“Everything is so calculated, it’s insane. When it comes to thoughts, I have fear of, ‘If I don’t do this three times, something bad is going to happen.’ And you really, really, truly believe it. It’s not normal, you know? Because I know for a fact that nothing bad’s going to happen, but the feeling is so there that you actually believe it, it’s just hard.”
Lele drew a connection between her OCD and her incredible productivity over the years, starting with her success on Vine to her superstardom today. She explained:
“Like, I’m obsessed with hard work and I’m obsessed with making videos. People are like, ‘Wow, she makes so many videos,’ and I’m like, yup because I can’t stop. There was a point where I’d make three videos a day and if I stopped I felt like my account was gonna be deleted the next day, something bad was gonna happen. So people were like, ‘Wow, she’s such a hardworking person.’ Like, no, it has to do with OCD too.”
Speaking to Billboard, Lele admitted it was hard to watch her own docuseries and see herself struggling:
“It’s very shocking. Right now, I’m not as bad as I was before. Sometimes it just depends on how I’m feeling, what I’m doing, the treatment I’m on that triggers this, and right now, looking at the episodes I’m like, “Wow, was I really that bad?” And I think, “I’m so strong.” When you’re really in pain, you don’t even realize what you’re doing. Seeing myself act that way, I just start crying because I don’t recognize myself.”
Check out the first episode of The Secret Life of Lele Pons (below).
[Image via WENN/Instar]