Many know John Green for his hit novel and later movie, The Fault in our Stars. He is a prolific author and has his own successful YouTube channel. However, the topics Green writes about have much more meaning to him than just another story.
Green’s most recent novel, Turtles All the Way Down, is about a teenage girl investigating a fugitive billionaire. For being a sixteen-year-old girl, the main character Aza has a lot more in common with 40-year-old Green than readers think. Her own struggles in the novel with anxiety and obsessive thoughts mirror Green’s own experiences.
Last July, Green posted a vlog about his experiences living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He has also spoken about his struggles with severe anxiety, describing how he “couldn’t escape the spiral of [his] thoughts...like they were coming from the outside.” Green has long advocated for open discussion surrounding mental health, even though he admits that often this requires care for himself. In an interview with Time, Green explained, “the word triggering has become so broadly used in popular culture, but anyone who has experienced an anxiety attack knows how badly they want to avoid it.”
Green uses both therapy and medication to help his anxiety and OCD. Even though Green admits it can be difficult to write about such personal subjects, he sees it as “really empowering” in the face of “how isolating it can be to live with mental illness and also how difficult it can be for the people who are around you because you’re so isolated.”
He describes his own struggles with mental illness “not like a battle I expect to win,” but “something I expect to life with and still have a fulfilling life.”