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Luke Combs Says His OCD Triggers \u2018Obsessive\u2019 Fears of Having a Heart Attack
Luke Combs may be a CMA-winning country star, but he wants fans to know that he’s just like us. “I like to think I’m a regular guy. There isn’t this big gap between me and the guy in the front row,” he recently told Dan Rather in a new episode of The Big Interview. Like millions of Americans, Combs revealed that he too has battled with mental health issues over the years.
More specifically, he struggles with purely obsessional OCD. Also known as Pure O, this form of OCD causes intrusive thoughts coupled with mental rituals to minimize stress, which can be very distressing to those living with the condition. Thoughts vary among individuals, but may include overwhelming fears around sexuality, health, or relationships.
“I know when you think of people that have OCD, you think of them messing with the blinds or straightening the carpet,” Combs explained. “Essentially, my version of fixing the blinds or straightening the carpet is thoughts that play over and over in my head.”
Those relentless thoughts are typically centered around his wellbeing. “It comes in waves. It’ll be something about my health. I’ll be worried that I’m about to have a heart attack or a stroke. It becomes this very obsessive thing that you literally can never have an answer to,” Combs said. “That’s the awful part of it. You have to teach yourself to become comfortable with the fact that you’ll never get an answer and that it is a super uncertain thing.”
The singer also shared that he struggles with anxiety, which has “always” affected him. “The first time I can probably remember is middle school up to the end of college,” he recalls.
OCD and anxiety typically go hand in hand, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, and many people can experience both conditions at the same time. For example, people diagnosed with Pure O have obsessions that may cause distressing emotions. Anxiety then becomes associated with the ruminating thoughts, which can make treating both conditions a bit difficult.
Combs said he still experiences anxiety from time to time, but is in a much better place to handle his mental health than in earlier years. “It’s been great to feel free from those things for a long time now,” he said. “Arming yourself with the knowledge of exactly what’s going on is the most important thing, I’ve found.”
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