My Bag


My name is Jameela Jamil. Welcome To I Weigh Community.

Two years ago we started an Instagram account to try to create a safe and radically inclusive space on social media. A lot of us want to help others and change the world for the better, but don’t know where to start.

Activism can seem daunting. Sometimes it’s just hard and lonely. At I Weigh Community, we don’t believe it has to be that way. We believe in brick-by-brick activism, and making a difference in large numbers. We’re going to have to come together and do this as one to really shift the narrative of our society.

I Weigh Community will introduce you to new voices, artists, activists and movements. These are the people we believe we need to listen to. We are still learning, and we’re inviting you to come and learn alongside us so we can all grow together. It’s never too late to want to help and understand each other better.

This movement is so important to me, and I look forward to getting to know you all.

Jam x

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:00:00]

Hello and welcome to another episode of “I Weigh” with Jameela Jamil. I hope you are well. I am fine. I am still in lockdown. I don’t care what is opening back up. I refuse to leave my house. I have somehow been lucky enough to find a way to do pretty much all of my work from within my four walls. I did have a friend over. However, this week and I experienced my first bout of social anxiety in four months. I was very surprised because it’s someone I know very well, who I met at secondary school, so I was 11 and couldn’t be more comfortable with. But she was coming over. I haven’t seen her in ages, months and months and months, and she was bringing a stranger over with her, not a stranger to her. She didn’t find someone random from the street, but someone I didn’t know. And I had like a little panic before they turned up, which I wasn’t prepared for. Suddenly, just wondering, do I know how to engage with people for sustained periods of time? Because I haven’t done all the Zoom quizzes and Zoom parties and Zoom weddings. I’d rather skin myself truly, I, and then dip myself in vinegar. I, I don’t, I don’t feel comfortable in social situations anyway. Never mind ones that involve tech and looking at anything that could be near myself in a screen or other people. Frankly, I’m just not, I’m not a techie guy. So I was just very unprepared socially. It went fine and great and I had a lovely time. And so I just want to reassure anyone else out there who feels like there might be something wrong with them because they suddenly find themselves panicky or unconfident socially now that they’re starting to reenter, quote unquote, “normality”. Don’t worry. It’s happening to me too, and it’s happening to loads of other people. We are human beings adapt very quickly to our environment. So just like we adapted to lock down, we will adapt to reentering society in whatever capacity is safe and and good and easy for our brains. Speaking of brains, today’s episode is one that I love so much. It is with Irish up comedian and podcast host Catherine Bohart. She has this brilliant show called “You’ll Do”, which she hosts with her girlfriend, where different couples come on to their podcast together and talk in depth about their relationship. And it’s funny and it’s insightful and it’s warm and it’s really unlike anything else that you’ll hear. So definitely go and check that out. But today, Catherine and I spent the episode predominantly talking about mental health, about OCD in particular. OCD is something that I’ve struggled with, and many of the people that I love most in the world have really, really suffered through. And I have not yet been able to find someone to publicly come and have this discussion with me. And Catherine goes out of her way to make sure she is educating people around OCD and destigmatizing it by talking about it both in a funny way, but also in a deeply empathetic way. She has so much heart and she knows so much information and she’s so un-judgmental in the way that she communicates it and careful in the way that she talks about this condition. And she’s also incredibly hopeful. I mean, just her existence gives me hope for the people that I love to see this woman thrive through what is a very, very tricky condition that not enough people know enough about or understand. And so this episode is for you if you are someone who struggles with OCD, and I know that the pandemic in particular has definitely provoked more symptoms of OCD. And a lot of people around the world are be that around hygiene or thought. You know, I think generally people have been struggling with their mental health through everything that’s been happening. So you aren’t alone and there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re not abnormal for struggling with a part of your anatomy, whether it’s your brain or your body. It doesn’t make a difference. And so I want that to be very clear. But I also think this episode is important for anyone who know someone with OCD, who doesn’t understand exactly how this condition works and what it feels like to live with it. And so hopefully it could help you better support the people that you love who might be going through this at the moment. So please enjoy the incredibly funny, the incredibly strong and wonderful Catherine Bohart. Catherine Bohart, welcome to “I Weigh”. How are you?


I’m good. Thank you for having me. How are you?

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:04:37]

I’m all right. I’m fine. Yeah, I’m fine. No one should care how the fuck I am. I am. I am comfortable and safe. More worried about everyone else.


I mean, I don’t know that one has to be mutually exclusive from the other. You can, you can worry about other people and other people can worry about you. Sure. If anything, I feel like a few more people should maybe occasionally think how you are. But that’s just, I’ll rant about men on the Internet later. For now, hello.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:05:07]

Yeah. I’ve just come off a one hour news binge and it always makes me feel very disorientated. Are you watching the news all the time at the moment or be giving yourself a break?


I mean, I try not to be, but then I’m on Twitter all the time, so, yes, basically. But I do find, like if you do for too long, you get not just like disoriented, but sort of it’s either one of extremes for me. It’s either I’m incredibly, like disconnected from the world. Like it feels like a film I just watched and I have to remind myself, it’s the actual world or I feel too many feelings all at once and I can’t really cope, both of which I think are probably not that helpful.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:05:47]

No. How is your quarantine been so far. You are living-? I, I just saw your girlfriend earlier.


Yes. My teeny tiny lady. She came-.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:05:56]

On the video.


Yeah, because she is five years younger than me. So I had to command, show me how to do the podcast, internet, phone, computer stuff because I’m hopeless. But we’re all right. We live in a flat in London and it is thankful that we do because we, two months before this started, we moved out of a house share. And I’m very grateful that it’s just the two of us.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:20]

Yes, oh my word.


Yeah, I feel like had it been, I think had we still been in a house share, I would be in jail. So I’m glad that’s not the case.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:29]

But that’s fucking intense. When you first take that step to no longer live with all these different buffers, even if they can create, like combined, sort of mutual enemies for the two of you, it can be quite bonding to live with other people because you can bond over your hatred of other people. But also-.


Well, that’s true.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:47]

Yeah. But also to then finally take that leap. I presume this is the first time you two have ever lived alone together.


Yeah, I mean, the buff-.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:56]

Yeah. To be stuck in “Castaway” essentially together. Where she is your ball Wilson, or you are her ball Wilson.


She’s the ball.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:07:06]



Here’s the thing. It’s just like I feel like with, you’re right, with buffers, you can dilute the blame to a degree like now I know, I know exactly whose fault what is, but I equally think that we are relatively-. The thing is, with your partner, you can say, I need you to get away from me now. I will be alone in this room until I feel better. You can’t really say that to house mates. You have to be like, “What a fascinating detail about your life. Please tell me more. Because that is the mannerly British thing to do”.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:07:34]

You do a show, you have a show that is about people’s relationships where they tell you deeply personal things, right?


Yeah, we do. We have a podcast called “You’ll Do”. And it’s basically, because we were incredibly frustrated by the overwhelming amount of hashtag couples goals, perfect depictions of love that you see either on social media or in film, a lot of the time, you get to the end of the movie and everyone’s in love, but you never see any of the actual like day to day boredom or frustration and-.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:08:03]

Or shit sex or.


Oh, my God. Exactly. Like Sarah and I adore each other, but we also hate at least 10 things about one another like that, and that, those can coexist. And those are true of people who have lasting relationships. So we wanted to talk about that truthfully. And thankfully, people have been incredibly honest, which is, it makes for a great podcast.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:08:25]

I find it startling when people can be honest about their relationships publicly. I love it, but freaks me out.


I think it’s a largely comics. So they’re used to just saying everything they think out loud for money. But I also think that that’s kind of the point of it, is to say that like it, because I think the opposite, where everyone depicts their relationship as ideal is so nauseating and also so frustrating because you’re like, does nobody else go for two months without having sex? Does nobody else argue like every day about the same thing, but never think about leaving? Just like, there’s, has no one else considered leaving their partner in IKEA? Like what is? Like would we be happier if we had to lose? Like just I don’t know how people are not thinking this all the time, so it’s actually quite refreshing to get it off our chests.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:09:18]

I wanted to talk to you today because this is a mental health podcast and you have been very open about your own journey with mental health. And, and there are things that you are currently going through that not everyone is willing to talk about openly. And I wondered if you would come here and do that with me.


I’d love to. I will. I am. I feel like for such an off-, I mean, so, it’s been said a million times, but we have spent so long as a group of people, I think not talking about our mental health. And it hasn’t gotten us any good. So I figured we should go. Let’s go the other way for a while and give it a shot, will we?

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:10:00]

Exactly. So tell me exactly what it is that has been your biggest struggle with your mental health throughout your life?


So 8 years ago, I was diagnosed with OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder. A specific type of that, because there are multiple types. Mine specifically was a consistent obsession with perfection and order. So that type of OCD is called perfectionism, which I appreciate. Sounds like a white lady answering an interview like, “Oh, me”? Just, but it is actually a thing.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:10:33]

A lot of people hear the words OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder, and they think only of cleanliness because that’s the only way that it’s ever been portrayed. If portrayed at all. It’s obsessive cleaning. And, you know, or maybe we see people counting a lot, you know? Like or trying not to step on the cracks of the pavement. We always see just kind of one side of physical OCD. I don’t know that people always understand psychological OCD.


Yep. I-.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:10:55]

And sort of thought OCD. Would you explain a little bit about what those thoughts and feelings kind of were?


Absolutely. But I would also say that mine had both. So some people have intrusive thoughts where they cannot push away thoughts that they otherwise would not wish to have. So like an obvious example of this is sexual thoughts, but it can be obsessions around God or fears. And those have stemmed from completely, they can seem illogical, but they feel tremendously real. If you have something like checking, where you have to check, that is another type of OCD, where you have to check the door is locked safe 50, 100 times. Check to turn off the oven. Check that the lights have been done maybe or counting where things have to be done in numerical sequences, all of which sound like, oh, what’s the big deal, but then if you have to do those things and cannot eat, sleep, leave your house without having done them. And if there is no real point of end that’s ever enough for your OCD brain. Then those all become debilitating. In, in relation to, so those are, I guess, our compulsions. But in relation to my OCD, it was an inability to think about anything other than disorder. I, things not being exactly where I placed them or being more, less actually about obsessive cleanliness and more ob-, about obsessive tidiness in a weird way. And so it was about constantly going over my space to make sure things were as they were. And also being tremendously, as I had placed them, but also being tremendously emotionally affected if they weren’t. So.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:12:35]

How the fuck did you survive a flat share?


Well, listen, the flat share came after the diagnosis, but-.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:12:43]

Right. Okay.


I would say not well, is the answer. Yes. So basically, it got to a place where I couldn’t really function. And then I was diagnosed. Well, actually. So I knew that I was definitely, I thought I was depressed. I specifically, though, had developed, because my, ’cause OCD is a shapeshifter. Right? So the second you get a handle on it in some way, it will start to behave, like get you to behave in different ways so that it can, like it can. It can change a little bit, is what I’m saying. So you might be obsessed about your bedroom. But then if you have a bigger house, it might be your fridge. Or if you in my case, a fun addition was obsessing over my food and specifically about trying to have a perfectly symmetrical body, which I understood, not knowing what OCD was and what was going on with me as an eating disorder. And I think with eating disorders occasionally or indeed all mental health issues, you can occasionally have what I guess I would describe as like above water moments. So, like, you can be so in it, but then, it’s not like you don’t know what’s wrong. It’s just that you care more about doing the thing that you want to.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:14:01]



Yeah. So occasionally you have like above water moments where I, there was, I have such a visceral memory of going home one weekend. And I knew I kind of had an hour to tell my mom what was going on or I wouldn’t. Like if I didn’t ask, I had to ask for help then, or it could be six more months before I would allow myself to. So I told her that I wasn’t really eating and that I thought that it was an eating disorder. And my mom, thankfully, takes mental health very seriously and was worried about me anyway. So got me to a psychologist. And he was very quick to be like, this is an, a symptom rather than the, than just an eating disorder.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:14:43]

A cause.


Yeah, exactly. So thank you for the word. Yes. And so, and so then I was assessed by a few other people and then I was very lucky because one, I had parents who take mental health seriously. Two, they had health insurance at which even in Ireland was the difference between, you know, consistent long term treatment and sporadic or delayed treatment. So I was then in a hospital program in Ireland for four months and I’ve had medication and therapy. And, you know, I really had to admit it in the last two weeks I was like, man, therapy is really working because 8 years ago, this entire situation, the pandemic, would have floored me. And I’m actually proud of myself for doing well.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:15:39]

No, I’m really proud of you. I know that this moment is incredibly triggering to people with OCD. I’ve had a lot of friends with OCD, and they have, in particular the ones who have the germophobia type of obsessive compulsive disorder. This is this is such a triggering time for them. And their hands are just even, I mean, everyone’s hands are red raw, but right now they are just, it’s, they can’t sleep. They can’t eat. They’re too afraid to move.


It’s horrific.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:16:02]

It’s such a triggering moment and no one can really easily access any mental health care. Do you have any advice for those people?


That is very true. Well, I guess I can only speak to the U.K., but OCD Action, Action OCD, OCD Action is a brilliant website that has an awful lot of, a lot of services, access to services, but also an awful lot of information that I find really helpful. Also, if you’re lucky enough to be able, if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford therapy. Then you can access it online in a lot of places now.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:16:40]

What kind of-? What kind of therapy works for OCD? Because I know that this has been a huge struggle for loads of people to find the right therapy. And there are all kinds of different ones. Some people I know have tried almost in a way giving very mild and medically supervised electric shocks to their brain.


Oh, my gosh.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:16:59]

That’s the type of treatment that you can have OCD. Some people have tried CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy. What worked for you? Because it’s a really fucking slippery bugger to catch.


It is. It rea-. Like I say, it’s a shapeshifter. And it’s so, it’s, I had, I had a real, like, watershed moment in-. So first of all, I was very lucky. I had very intense treatment and also multiple forms of approach within that. So when I initially was treated with, in the hospital, you would start the day with group therapy and then you would have one-on-one cognitive behavioral therapy. And then in the afternoons, they would occasionally do this thing, which is dubious, I think, in terms of people’s perspectives on it. It did not particularly work for me. I found CBT to be so helpful for me. But-.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:17:48]

What was the afternoon therapy? Can you talk about it?


Yeah, it’s called flooding.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:17:54]



Where I am-, flooding. Don’t worry. There was no waterboarding. It’s more that-. Don’t worry. It is that, that where you do the thing like in an extreme sense of which you are afraid. So-.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:18:09]

Is this like aversion therapy? Where they make people who have hygiene issues like lick a toilet bowl.



JAMEELA JAMIL [00:18:15]

Oh, my God.


Exactly. And it-.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:18:16]

So what kind of things would they do? Or does that trigger you to bring that up?


Oh, no, no, it’s OK. But say like it would be, if people are scared of public transport, it’s going on public transport. If you’re scared of touching other people, it’s everyone queuing up in a line to hug you. It’s traumatic and it’s not very, what’s the word I’m looking for? It’s not very, doesn’t have any stages of progression. It’s very aggressive. And it’s very I find it, it was very confronting and I didn’t particularly find it helpful. I think CBT is really good. I also had a particularly good group therapy, psychologist around group therapy, who said something that for me at least was a real turning point with my OCD, which was that it’s a liar. And I don’t know why, but I’ve never heard that and I needed to hear it like I made it, it isn’t on your side and it’s like having a manipulative partner or a, it’s just a lot, like it’s always about doing the compulsions, it’s never for you. So once you like, once you realize that and I don’t know why, but for me, that was a really simple thing, but thinking about it that way suddenly meant I knew how to take it on as well, because I was like, OK, cool, I just need to call the bullshit, that’s, I’m good at that in other aspects of my life.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:19:45]

Matt Haig, who’s an activist and writer that I love so much, who talks about mental health, also describes depression as fake news, which is, which is something that I love so much as an expression that it’s just lying to you about yourself and what hopes and expectations you can have for your life. I had that aversion therapy once, I, not for OCD. I have a like a crippling phobia of bees and wasps.


Oh my gosh.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:20:12]

It’s just like to the point where most summers I wouldn’t go outside at all. I wouldn’t leave the house for the whole summer. So school holidays, I would just stay indoors, close every window. And, you know, we don’t have any air conditioning or anything in London. So I just sit there like a little-.


Yeah, we’re not built for it.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:20:27]

With a shitty little Argos fan, just, just not, not feeling any breeze on my face. As soon as I would know that we were kind of entering a moment where there would be lots of bees and wasps around. I didn’t go near a bush throughout my teens. That’s not to say, I don’t mean it as a euphemism. It’s not a euphemism.


I was like, my many commiserations.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:20:46]

I actually didn’t get to go near bush, either male or female. Or non-binary. I’m-.


Oh, I’m so sorry.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:20:52]

I was 21 before I got near any kind of, any kind of pubes whatsoever. But. That weren’t my own. I couldn’t go near any kind of flowers. I wouldn’t hold flowers. I wouldn’t wear bright colors. I wouldn’t wear anything that had a flower on it. I, I was, I wouldn’t eat outdoors because I was afraid that food would draw att-, would attract some sort of a bee. And so I have like a long running and now there’s like all these Internet jokes about me and bees and people think that I lie about being chased by bees. But I went to try and get therapy for this phobia of bees because it’s becoming insane. Like I wasn’t, I was now old enough to have a job and I couldn’t, I couldn’t just not leave the house for an entire summer. But otherwise I wouldn’t make rent. So I went and they put me in a park in a bush like near, near a bush. Near a bush, ’cause there were loads of bees, all around.


Oh, my God. Did it work?

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:21:51]

No. It made me so much more traumatized by fucking bees. Because I hadn’t been that close and it was too much. I’ve always thought that was, that was a fucking, I understand the idea behind it, but I think it’s barbaric.


It is. And it also like, it just, the lack, it’s so much-. I just don’t understand why it wouldn’t be incremental. Like, obviously that’s going to be horrific. Obviously that’s going to be traumatizing. And also maybe it works for like whatever percentage of people, but for the others, surely it just leaves you so much worse off than you were to begin with. I’m very sorry.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:22:23]

No, it was awful. Will you-.


I’m glad you can go outside now.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:22:26]

I can go outside now. Yeah, that came more from just sort of, I think cognitive behavioral therapy helped somewhat. But also it was just allowing myself to know that there isn’t always a speedy approach. In fact, there is rarely a speedy approach to dealing with an issue. And I still have a phobia of bees and wasps. I’m still so incredibly afraid of them. I think maybe it’s because of “My Girl”. I think that film just fucked me up.


That is, oh my gosh.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:22:50]

I really, I genuinely think it fucked me up.


That is. As soon as you said that, I was like, oh my God, of course. Of course, that’s it. Of course, that’s it.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:22:57]

I watched that film so many times. And I’m sure that that is the birth of my obsession, like obsessive fear of bees and wasps.


Also all of our bisexuality.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:07]

Yeah. Oh, for sure. For sure. Because which, which, which of them were we in love with?



JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:15]

I completely agree with that. You’ve revolutionized my journey.


See? There we go.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:22]

But it’s okay to take these things in steps and within your own comfort zone. I want to ask you about cognitive behavioral therapy and exactly what it is, because a lot of people out there don’t know and should know about it. But I’ll ask you about it right after this. And we’re back. OK. So cognitive behavioral therapy. Would you please tell me what exactly it is?


I will explain it to you as the layman that I am.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:50]



Which is to say, not a therapist or a psychologist. So let me just flag that. I don’t know if anyone gathered that from the opening.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:54]

Thank you. Thank you for the disclaimer.


Hello. I’m not.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:59]

Dr. Catherine Bohart.


I bloody wish. I could still make some money, it would be amazing. I am. Here’s the thing. To my mind, it is less of a talking therapy and more of a doing, which is to say that you analyze the ways in which you think about things that might stop you from doing them or might cause you to do them. And instead of necessarily starting by changing the thought. You start by changing the behavior and that changes the thought. For example, it’s particularly effective with OCD because my brain would say if you don’t clean the house 12 times or just repeatedly, except for when you’re asleep, you’re a failu-, a failure. You’re-, you can’t function. You’re worthless. You won’t be able to think. And then if I, if I tried to think through that, I could talk my way around that, to be honest with you, that was the problem. I’m articulate enough to be able to actually make the case for that level of irrational behavior. But-.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:25:01]

Well, you’re also a woman. So therefore, we are trained from birth to be able to justify terrible thoughts about ourselves.


Better believe it. And so the better thing, in that case, to do is not to clean and see if it’s true. You challenge the thought by not doing it. And if the world doesn’t fall apart and it won’t because that’s not how it works, then someho-, that, that casts doubt on the credibility of your OCD.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:25:27]

And that’s the kind of aversion therapy that worked for me, was just baby steps.



JAMEELA JAMIL [00:25:32]

Baby steps of like let’s, I’m now so uncomfortable in living the way that I live that I’m actually willing to risk the worst case scenario by just trying, bit by bit, these different steps to, you know, just being able to carry on a life that is less stressful. It is that, isn’t it? Is that kind of moment of like I’m so desperate to be, to be rid of this controlling force that-.


That’s exactly it.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:25:55]

I’m now willing to try anything.


That’s actually exactly right. I don’t think I would have gotten better had I been dia-, maybe. I don’t believe I would have gotten better in the way that I did as, as, as quickly. I mean, it took years, but, but as quickly as I did, had I necessarily been diagnosed earlier. But I got to a place where I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t cope. I couldn’t. I just was so miserable that it, that the thought of. Yeah. Like you say, risking it, wasn’t as scary anymore because life, life had sort of stalled to a halt. And it was like, well, what am I even doing?

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:26:39]

I definitely do not endorse crashing and burning. But it is the way that a lot of people that I found like that is often when people tend to be the most likely to get help. It is always, I coasted for such a long time as a very, very, very mentally ill person. And it wasn’t until I completely just destroyed everything in my life and had no real reason to live, that suddenly there was a bravery to me that I’d never seen before. Where it was like, I just chuck it in the fuck it bucket. So let’s get back to you. So cognitive behavioral therapy, you found that very effective.


Yes, I did. And I still do. And I also can’t, and I’m not going to understate it for anybody, and I also would say that it’s not for everybody, but for me, medication helps. And it has always helped. And we’ll continue to help. And it is likely something that I will be on for all of my life. And I used to be so embarrassed about that because you say that and people have immediate opinions. Oh, but surely if you’re well, you wouldn’t need to be. Which is a bit like saying surely you could take out your like-.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:27:44]

Cholesterol medicine.


Yes, or exactly. Or just like, oh, you have a pain in your arm, surely you can take that right now? Like it’s no, no, that’s actually really maintaining the stability of the arm. And I would say, similarly, it is maintaining the stability of me. And I used to be so ashamed of it. Also, like, very fearful of it being my long term state. And now I’m like, oh, I will speak exclusively to doctors about this and I will continue to get their ongoing input. But that is all, that they’re the only people whose opinions I have any, give any weight to anymore, which is such a refreshing thing because most of the people who have opinions about medication about that either are not qualified to do so or don’t know me, or most often I think have never tried it themselves. And to have that as some sort of character like, like I suppose, statement. So it’s like I, it’s as though medication is indicative of weakness. And I just I feel like I finally let go of that and I’m OK with it and it really helps me. And it, like I say, it isn’t for everyone and it takes a long time to find the right one. I would say I was definitely on the wrong medication to begin with. And now I’m very glad that I found it and I don’t ever wish to give it up. Thank you very much. I mean, unless I’m recommended to do so.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:29:08]

No, I think that’s great. I wish that we would have more people talk openly about being on medication. How does OCD medication work? Because I’m just curious because I’ve never tried it.


Yeah. So inherent, like it’s obviously dependent on each individual. And, but in my particular case, I’m on SSRIs, so anti-anxiety and depression medication. Initially, I was on much heavier anti-depression because when I was diagnosed, I was in my worst possible state and the OCD had made me clinically depressed. And so for me, I don’t, I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know that I should speak to the science of it, but for me, it’s like having, it’s like I’d used up all of my energy coping, like I just ran out of steam and it was like having my batteries charged, not fully. But some of the way so that I could hear myself again, like I could hear myself think. And I had, also doing the kind of work it takes to get over a mental illness. And you can do it. But people don’t talk about the fact that doing it is exhausting and it’s confronting. And it’s often means like bringing up trauma or just doing the work. Like, it’s exhaus-, it’s not like-.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:30:21]

It’s constant work, as well.


Yeah. If you think of it like physiotherapy, it’s that kind of that like you just have to keep working the muscles to learn to show yourself empathy, to learn to confront things that are difficult to do, things that are scary to, to change the messaging in your brain. And so it was just like having a little bit more energy and a little bit more calm in the storm to be able to hear myself to work through that. And yeah, I guess I only realized, I’m very much over apologizing for taking it. It really helps me.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:30:54]

No, I don’t think you’re apol-, over apolog-. I mean, I personally don’t perceive it as an apology, just for whatever that’s worth. I just think your reasoning to other people why, you know, and also we only hear the stories of the bad side effects of medication, not knowing that there are hundreds or thousands, maybe even, of different types of medications which work differently on different people. There are always alternatives that you can find. We hear about weight gain, which terrifies, in particular, women. We hear about impotence, potentially, or, you know, just like a lower sex drive. Yes. Those things can happen, but, A, sometimes it’s OK to, I mean, it’s always OK to fucking gain weight and have a lower sex drive, it’s constantly OK to do that. But I’m just saying that, that sometimes first of all, even if a medication that is right for you, does cause those things. That’s OK, because we’re dealing with your long term survival. And if that’s what gets you through this moment, then that’s what you need to do. It’s a bit like, in the same way with health, I, I suffer from asthma. So sometimes I go on steroids a very la-, for a very long period of time. The last time I was on a serious course of steroids, I gained 75 pounds. That’s five stone.



JAMEELA JAMIL [00:31:59]

It was like eight years ago, I think. And it was the choice between okay, well, either you will gain weight and be able to breathe, or not gain weight and not be able to breathe. What would you like to choose? It was a very clear cut answer for me. And so it’s the same with any kind of mental health medication, in my opinion.


Yes. I completely agree. And also I feel like, I mean, first of all, my, obviously, my mental health had meant that I wasn’t really eating. So I couldn’t, I can’t necessarily tell you whether or not I gained weight because I was, I’d sorted through a lot and I can eat now or if it’s because of, if there’s an added element of having gained some because of my medication. But I realized probably a bit, in the last two years that I was so afraid, so afraid for my entire teenage years and early 20s of gaining weight. Some part of my brain still is, but was petrified of it. And, because I would be a failure when weirdly I’ve never been more successful than when I started eating.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:33:05]

Mmhmm. Well, ’cause you got fucking energy. You’ve got brain food.



JAMEELA JAMIL [00:33:09]

You’ve nutrients.



JAMEELA JAMIL [00:33:11]

You’re probably sleeping better.


Yep. And also, funnily enough, when I do my job, people are like, if I’m funny, I’m funny. No one’s like, but like, what, but what exactly are the size of her jeans? Just like, just to clarify, what did she have for lunch? People are just like, oh cool, she’s funny.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:33:30]

Yeah, I am-. But my point anyway, just being that don’t listen to all of the bad press about medication. Don’t listen to all of the, the worst case scenarios. There are plenty of people who are on medication for their entire lives that don’t feel tremendous side effects other than ones of tremendous relief and solace. And so I, I urge anyone out there who’s wrestling with that idea. Please, please, please consider and be open to trying them. I tried medication for the first time in February this year after a particularly bad month. And it was for anxiety because my, my anxiety gets very, very out of control sometimes. And it just, it felt like stepping out of a nightclub at 3:00 a.m., you know where. It’s only then in the peace of the quiet street that you realize how loud it was in the club.


That is such a good description.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:34:21]

Do you know where it came from? How old were you when it started to really show signs?


I mean, as early as I can remember. Like my earliest memor-.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:34:28]



My earliest memories are like cousins coming to stay and I had to give up my bedroom. And I took a pencil and drew a pencil line around every single thing in and out of cupboards so that I would know if they moved anything. I have like very strong emotional memories of my dad occasionally making my bed or opening my curtains, you know, in a nice, fatherly, generous way and me losing all control over my emotions because I did them in a certain way and no one else was to do them. And I was like a little child. So I think it was early.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:35:04]

Yeah, I think I was probably about a teenager when, I’ve only ever had one obsessive compulsive habit. I wouldn’t say that I’m necessarily someone who has OCD, but I definitely have struggled with for about 7 years, I had to eat around the outside of everything. I could never eat the middle of anything. Otherwise, I thought something terrible was gonna happen to me. And so I could only eat the outside and I could also only take food apart and then eat it separately. So I would buy food that was bonded rather than just buying food separately. That then I could eat separately, I would buy food that was bonded and would spend entire hours, entire evenings. This is like when I was on T4, like on television, spending my days with like A-list celebrities and DJ-ing at parties and putting my fucking peace sign up as if I’m in the 70s. Why did I do that? There are so many embarrassing pictures of me with a fucking peace sign up as if I’m just come back to Vietnam fucking war. Like an asshole. I don’t know what I was doing, I was such a dick. And I was, you know, I was, you know, on magazine covers and doing all this shit and going home and buying like packets of Malteser which are just sort of malt balls wrapped in chocolate and just bending the entire night, separating the chocolate, like peeling off the chocolate until it’s completely off. And then eating the malt balls, sorry, and then putting the malt balls in a separate bowl and the chocolate in a separate bowl. And I could never eat them as one. And then I would only eat the chocolate. I would, just buy a fucking chocolate bar. But I couldn’t do it.



JAMEELA JAMIL [00:36:30]

I would buy 100 blueberry muffins and just eat the blueberry from out of it. I could never eat the muffin or I would eat, once I was bought for my birthday, like I spent my 20th birthday, 21st birthday, I was bought like about 50 amazing mini cakes because I love mini cakes. And I think it was my dad who lifted the box one day in the fridge and realized I’d eaten the outside of every single one of the cakes.


No, you’re missing out. You were missing out.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:36:59]

I know. Now I eat almost exclusively the middle, but I-.


Ok, great.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:37:02]

But it took-. It was it was many, many years of just thinking that if I ate the middle of anything, I would be very, very fat the next day. And-.


This is the thing is like it’s hard to explain to people who don’t understand it, but it is, it is the most justifiable, irrational thought. So like for, for the person with the fear, it’s like it’s such a real fear.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:37:25]

Oh, you don’t think you have a choice.


No, exactly. It is so, it is so coercive and so all consuming and so can, so terrifying that, really petrified that I can’t, I don’t know how to articulate that to people who haven’t felt it, but it is a surety that whatever irrational thing you’ve decided will occur and to do and to take that risk that like that your family might die. It’s, it’s, yeah, it’s petrifying. But it can be that you’d, you need never eat raspberries unless you want your family to disappear.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:00]

The other thing that people don’t know is that it, OCD is, is often interwoven with other conditions.



JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:07]

So for example, mine was interwoven in that moment. I wouldn’t say my OCD, but my obsessive compulsive pattern was interwoven with my eating disorder. So therefore I just thought it was my eating disorder, in certain ways, so was yours.



JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:20]

The one, the part that wasn’t about tidying was about your body. It was about, you know, body fat and symmetry and so I think that’s-.


Oh, and self-loathing. 100 percent.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:28]

Which is why these conversations are important, which is why you’re such a legend for coming on and talking about it so personally.


Thanks for having me.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:33]

We’re going to get another break. OK. So I was wondering if we can now change gears, because I’ve, I’ve rinsed you dry of OCD.


Not something I thought you would say today, but OK. All right. I’m changing gears. How exciting

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:53]

Also you can’t rinse someone dry. I’m going to say that again. Doesn’t make any sense.


You said it, I like it. No. Commit to it. Come on. This is like Twitter. Just commit. You rinsed me dry.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:39:02]

My boyfriend makes fun of me all the time ’cause of my malapropism obsession. I just can’t. I’m always guilty of fucking up. I think I used to say I kick it, I don’t kick a gift horse in the mouth. And I said that. Like why the fuck would you ever kick a horse in the mouth? It’s don’t look a gift horse in the mouth is the expression.


Yeah. Well-.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:39:23]

I thought it was, I thought it was don’t kick a gift horse in the mouth. And I said this for at least the last decade. And no one’s ever corrected me because I’ve been famous. So they just let me, they just let me say all of this dumb shit that I’ve never learned from.


What a metric for your fame. No one tells me when I’m wrong. I’m so famous. What a great way to measure it.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:39:44]

I’m not even that famous. If you’re just at all, if you are at all successful in this business.


How dare you T4 is peak.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:39:52]



How dare you.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:39:54]

Me with my little peace sign. So I want to talk to you a little bit about your sexuality. You are living with a woman and you describe yourself as bisexual. And your story about coming out to your parents made me laugh very much. And I wonder if you would tell it to our audience right now.


I’d love to. I mean, I was so anxious to come out to my mother.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:40:18]



So anxious. I come from a very, very Catholic family. My dad’s a Catholic deacon. So they are religious, but also like liberal, left leaning socialist-ly, like socialist of mine. And it’s like their view on religion is that it’s a way of like redistributing wealth. But I was petrified. And I worked up to it for so long. And I told my mom and she was like, “Uh huh. Yeah. I mean, me too”. And I was like, “I’m sorry, did you hear the words that I said before you said that? Because I said that I’m, I like, I’m attracted to men and women. I’m bi”. And my mom was like, “I mean, please, who isn’t”? And I was like, “Lots of, lots of people are not or not, would not say that. I’m sorry. What? Are you bi”? And she was like, “Oh I don’t look, I, look I’m not going to leave your father. Right? I wouldn’t leave him for a woman. It’s just that were he to die, then, then, of course, I’d be with a woman”. And I was, now it had gone from me coming out to be like thinking about my dad dying and my mom hitting on the wom-, on the women at the funeral. I was like, how has this become about you and Dad dying and what is going on? And are you bi? Here’s what I would say is the, she definitely stole my thunder. But I’d say my mom wouldn’t identify as bi. But equally, every time I bring home a short haired lesbian, she really gets her flirt on, so you know.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:44]

Ok. That, I mean, that’s, that’s one of the better coming out stories I’ve ever heard. As in more peaceful.


Yeah, to be fair.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:51]

Peaceful and accepting and, and someone jumping right in with you.


Yeah, no, if anything too keen, I thought she could have been a little bit disapproving. You know what I mean? Just a, just give me a moment. So I had something to push against. But instead, no. So rude.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:42:07]

But you came out at a time where, where you were living, gay marriage and abortion rights, etc., were still illegal. So.


Yeah. So I came out-.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:42:16]

This was not a time that was like the most empowering for women or people who are on the LGBTQ journey.


No, I mean, I make light of it. But it was, first of all, I mean, more difficult for my dad and a longer process for my mom and dad than I am like re-letting on to process what I had told them. But also, yeah, I came out when gay marriage wasn’t legal and adoption was not legal. And so 12 years ago in Ireland. And to be honest, the most common thing that I was told when I said I was bi and had I had the language, the language did not exist then, I’d have probably said pan, insofar as bi now feels binary in the sense that it feels like you’re trying to men and women as opposed to all types of people. So-.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:43:03]

I figured that out during, during a Times interview. During an interview with The Times.


Oh fun!

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:43:10]



I’m so sorry.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:43:10]

And she published every single, I guess, I think, that I said and then that became I guess I fancy everyone. And that quote, like it was a very long kind of description I gave as I was starting to work this out live. And because I don’t have a filter, I didn’t have the correct thought which would have been shut the fuck up. Don’t answer the question. Move on. You don’t have to answer the question, but I, this idiot inside of me was just felt way too safe and started talking about it. And I was like, I guess, I was like, well, I’d say I’m, I’m bisexual. But then as I started to say that I was like, but actually, there are plenty of people that I’ve been incredibly attracted to or had feelings for that were not on the binary, they didn’t exist within the binary or they were trans like or they were people who existed outside of the cis. And so unfortunately for me, I worked that out in real time live on Skype with a Times reporter.


Oh, we’ve all, I mean, I don’t think as many people, nearly as many people would have read the interviews I did that in. But there were many where I’ve been asked questions where I should have just gone, “That’s an abhorrent question, I won’t be answering that”.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:44:16]

Right. I know I was asked to define what is queer and I just, and what my, what my, how I would identify as queer and I just, I fucked it up. And then the headline became, “I guess I’m”, as if I’m one of those girls who’s like, “Yeah, I would, I would kiss a girl”. It wasn’t, it no longer, you know what I mean? Those just awful interviews, it’s like, “Yeah, I can play. I can’t see everyone”, like it was part of a bigger dialog, which I was explaining that I’m attracted to people outside of the binary of bisexuality. And so-.


It’s so hard.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:44:45]

And but I mean, yeah, I, the headlines are brutal about that conversation where I look like a fucking turd of a human being.


But we all, no, but everybody else gets to discover those things in private. And so I think, like, had you replayed some of the things I said when I was 18, 19, 20, 20-. Trying to discern what language to use and how to explain myself to people. I would also be canceled. What I would say, though, is I didn’t have queer and pan at my disposal, so bi was it. But the thing that I was going to say is when I came out the most frequent thing I was told, the most common response I got was, “No, you’re not”.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:45:22]

So much crazy biphobia and the way that it’s looked at as greed or a lack of decisiveness.


Yeah. No, you’re not. Nope. No, you’re not. And that came from both sides as well. Like I had, I would come out to friends and they’d be like, “No, you’re not”. As if I had said it for attention or as though my hair itself should be reason enough for me to know that couldn’t possibly be true.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:45:45]

What? Because it’s long?


Yeah. Or, or I would say it to female partners and they’d be like, “No, you’re not”. Because I’d shown some level of enthusiasm for the sex we were having. And I was like, “No, no, I, I’m telling you. I’m telling you”.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:00]



“I am”. But it’s also, the other thing they’ll do is react like it’s a survey. “Oh, not for me. Oh, I couldn’t. Maybe I could kiss a woman, but I couldn’t, not, not the bottom half”. And you go like, “Oh no I wasn’t”. This isn’t a census, do you, and if it were, that would be an inappropriate one. But you don’t, you don’t have to be. I am. And it’s weird how people feel the need to, they have to comment, they can’t just receive the information. When you say you’re queer, which is I think like coming out repeatedly is a part of being a queer person. But it wouldn’t be so bad if you could just go, “Oh, I’m queer” and people go, “Cool”.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:37]



But it’s the fact that you’re like, oh, and here we go.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:40]

Yeah, I, oh, God, I so, I so feel you. I didn’t say anything to anyone until like a year ago. I was 33 when I first started to tell my, all of my friends. I didn’t even tell any of the women that I was in love with that I was in love with them at the time.



JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:53]

I’ve told one of them now, that I was in love with them many, many, many years ago.


Oh, that would be so annoying. I would be absolutely livid if. I would be so annoyed if you were like, “FYI. Catherine, four years ago, I was in love with you”. I be like, “I hate you. How dare you? How dare you”?

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:47:11]

It also bring the thought of, why did you stop being in love with me?



JAMEELA JAMIL [00:47:14]

It’s like it’s never, it’s never a great bit of information to deliver. But I was afraid of the conversations. And again, we didn’t have anyone talking about it. And it was so fucking ridiculed and being, and it, and also it felt for the last 10 years. It it made me afraid that I looked like I was jumping on a trendy bandwagon. So that made me even more afraid of saying it.


Which is actually-.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:47:39]

Especially because I engaged within like activism spaces. It’s like, oh, fuck off. Okay. Brown woman, also queer, had a disability when you were younger, like, stop ticking all the boxes.


But that narrative comes from the presumption that it makes your life easier to be those things which is such nonsense, right? It constru-, it’s construed in favor of like the narrative where men, white men are being attacked at the moment, which statistically does not bear out. So jog on. But I think also weirdly, when you come out as a bi woman, people are like, especially, look, I came out and I’ve only been with boys. So people were like, “Prove it”. And I was like, no, I don’t. I don’t have to. I don’t have to. If I had never had sex with a woman, I would still be bi if I tell you I’m bi. The end of conversation.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:26]

Thats like saying a virgin has no sexuality for anyone. You know what I mean?



JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:29]

It’s like it doesn’t, it’s the exact same concept. Some people find it hot because of porn. Some people worry that bi people are going to cheat, which is so ridiculous just because there’s a bigger pool of people that they are attracted to.


Yeah. And also, I cheat because I’m sometimes a bad person, not because I’m bi. Can I just clarify?

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:54]

Yeah. Completely floored me.



JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:02]

Yeah. I think that, it’s so ridiculous. Like, if you think I might cheat on you with a woman, then you should also think I might cheat on you with a man. Like there’s no, there are 7 billion people on this planet.



JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:13]

And so, you know, it’s just it’s ridiculous to think that there is something inherently greedy or untrustworthy about someone who won’t pick a side. And.



JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:22]

So god help us with us pans out there.


Oh, my goodness.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:27]

Nightmare. Yeah.


Well, I mean, this is why monogamy is dead, Jameela. So you know, it’s, that and why the weather is so bad. So it’s all very complicated. And our fault.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:38]

Well, I’m very-. I’m sorry. Now go on. Finish your sentence.


No, it wasn’t important.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:43]

Oh ok. I just want to say I’m really happy that you found a wonderful relationship and, and love and you can be so open and go on TV with your girlfriend. With your partner.


It’s cool.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:54]

And so I think that that’s really fabulous. And, and it’s been really wonderful to be able to watch your stuff together online and just feel like so many, so many young-. Do you get so many messages from young people saying they feel seen?


I mean, Sarah gets a lot of messages. ‘Cause Sarah looks like the quintessential like androgynous boy, which I think like baby gays absolutely adore. I get more like, “Thank you for showing that we can wear lipstick and eat women out”. Which I think are meant well, but read more aggressively. You know what I mean?

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:50:32]



It doesn’t feel like the same level, level of warmth. But no, we do. And, you know what? Also, we are, it’s so not lost on us that we grew up and that was not there. And that the only weird TV we watched was “Sugar Rush” and “The L Word”. If I could manage to tape it at night and watch it when nobody else was in. And so we-.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:50:55]

And now. Yeah, sorry. Go on. Sorry. We’re on a delay. So sometimes I cut over you. Sorry.


Oh I’m sorry. No, I just, yeah, I’m-. It’s not lost on us that we get to be on TV openly talking about our lives and it’s exciting. And that also, it’s suddenly people want to hear about it because people have been starved of stories that are their own and it’s exciting.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:51:17]

And now we have “Feel Good” on Netflix.


Oh, my gosh. So exciting.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:51:20]

Such a great story. Oh, my gosh. Such a great show. It’s by, it’s by Mae Martin. A wonderful standup, a wonderful Canadian standup comedian, that felt like a tongue twister, really, who is talking about how her own-.


I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:51:34]

No, who’s talking about her own life experiences and her relationship with a woman who is only experiencing her first gay relationship. And so that is, that is wonderful.


It really is. And it’s actually nuanced and a version of queer life for women. We haven’t really seen much of it. It’s great.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:51:53]

Absolutely. All right. Okay. So, Catherine, thank you so much for coming on and talking to me so openly about everything.


Thank you for having me.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:52:01]

I wonder if before you go, you would tell me, what do you weigh?


What do I weigh? I guess I weigh being funny. I think I’m a funny gal and I’m smart and I think that I am empathetic and I think I’m a good sister and daughter. And I weigh, I make really good desserts. That is, that is, I, yeah, that that’s I think that’s what I weigh.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:52:34]

That’s how you sum yourself up on your deathbed?


A great lemon meringue pie and not altogether unfunny.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:52:41]

That’s great. Fabulous.


Thank you.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:52:44]

Well, it was a pleasure to get to talk to you today and have, have a safe and happy quarantine. In this bizarre moment.


You too. You too. Enjoy the middle of cakes for as long as you can.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:52:57]

Oh, I will. I will. I can’t believe it. It’s so nice to be able to eat the inside of a pizza. Jesus Christ. Just the dry. The dry bun crusts. That’s all I ate.


No! I’m so pleased for you. Oh, my gosh. Good. Thank you for having me.

JAMEELA JAMIL [00:53:11]

No, this is really fun. Thanks. Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. I just want to give an extra massive thank you to people who helped me make this. Sophia Jennings, my producer and researcher. Kimmie Lucas, my producer. Andrew Carson, my editor. James Blake, my boyfriend who made the beautiful music for this show. And now I’d like to leave you by passing the mic to a member of our community, sharing their “I Weigh”.


I weigh a strong female who’s short, animal loving and active, kind. A sister, a daughter, has OCD, moderate anxiety. Funny. A singer. A feminist. Silly. Weird. Friendly. Unique. And I weigh me.