Social media influencers, celebrities, and even everyday people commonly depict themselves as living perfect lives on social media. Viewing someone’s social media account, in many ways, is similar to viewing their personal highlight reels. They take photographs or record videos of their biggest accomplishments and the most exciting moments of their lives. Failing that, when a highlight reel moment is not available, they can even resort to manufacturing moments by taking photos that portray their lives as much happier and exciting than they are.
Lele Pons is a well-known social media influencer, who is famous for her slap-stick physical comedy and attractive appearance. Viewing her social media would leave one to assume that she is living a “perfect life.” However, in a Youtube Original mini-series she disclosed that she suffers from severe OCD. Lele admitted that as a young child she covered her head with a pillow restricting her breathing for one minute, which she believed would ensure that she would be happy.
People with OCD suffer from irrational obsessions leading to anxiety. They then engage in a ritual or compulsion, such as holding a pillow to their head, to reduce their anxiety.
Lele has struggled with OCD for over a decade. She describes her OCD as “very powerful thoughts” that tell her to do things that she does not want to do. Her father described her as being capable of effortlessly accomplishing amazing things and somehow incapable of taking care of herself. Lele’s compulsions involve rituals related to touching objects, turning lights off and on, and opening and closing doors.
The mini series shows Lele engaging in exposure and response prevention, which is the gold standard treatment of OCD. Lele’s therapist comments that even though at times Lele wants to “get rid of the feelings” their work together involves learning to tolerate the feelings.
Lele’s mini series serves an important function in drawing attention to debilitating mental illnesses such as OCD. If you are interested in learning how CBT and exposure and response prevention via telehealth (online therapy) can address OCD, schedule a free consultation.
Dr. Jason von Stietz specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Sport/Performance Psychology in Torrance, CA. He provides online therapy (telehealth) by way of the Torrance office and is available for a free initial phone consultation. Dr. von Stietz works with individuals from Long Beach, the greater Los Angeles area, and the South Bay including Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo and all over California.