Howie Mandel delved into the mental anguish he felt while quarantining with COVID-19 in a video chat with TMZ on Wednesday.
The 66-year-old America’s Got Talent judge admitted that he felt as if he was going ‘insane’ when he was forced to stay alone in a room for 10 days straight after contracting the illness earlier this month.
Luckily, the comedian’s symptoms were relatively mild since he was up to date on his vaccinations and booster shot, but it was the negative mental symptoms that he found most disturbing.
Bad days: Howie Mandel, 66, told TMZ on Wednesday that his mental health took a plunge earlier this month when he had to quarantine for 10 days alone in a room after coming down with COVID-19; seen April 9 at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards
Although he couldn’t be certain, Howie believed that he had contracted COVID-19 while attending the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards ceremony in Santa Monica, California, on April 9, as it was the only time close enough to his illness when he had been inside with many unmasked people.
Although Howie and his fellow AGT judges won an award at the ceremony, Howie said he would have rather been ‘slimed.’
‘But I was, with a virus, apparently,’ he said. Although they ‘won,’ Howie said he felt as if he had ‘lost’ by getting sick.
‘I’m vaxxed, and I’m boosted, so my symptoms weren’t terrible,’ he explained. ‘But knowing me… I would have rather taken the mental pain of me being locked in a room for 10 days, not going near anybody.
Down in the dumps: Howie, who thought he got COVID at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards on April 9, said he got ‘depressed’ and ‘neurotic’ from being by himself for so long; publicity still for AGT Season 16
Nowhere to hide: ‘My only panacea to my physical health and my mental health is distracting myself,’ he said. ‘You can’t distract yourself for 10 days alone in a room’; seen in September in Hollywood
Doing his part: The comic said he was open about his mental health in order to help reduce the stigma around the subject; seen with (L–R) Alesha Dixon, Terry Crews, Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell on AGT
‘I went insane,’ he added bluntly. ‘I still feel like I’m recovering from that, the insanity. And I’m not joking. I got incredibly depressed, incredibly neurotic.
‘My only panacea to my physical health and my mental health is distracting myself,’ he added. ‘You can’t distract yourself for 10 days alone in a room.’
But the competition host wasn’t just venting, but also trying to help decrease mental health stigma by opening up about the emotional toll that his COVID diagnose came with.
‘I’m in therapy, and I take medication and I do things. But for years and years, there was a stigma — and I think there still is — a stigma attached to mental health,’ he said, before adding that it’s ‘healing to talk about it.’
‘It’s just good to be out of the room!’ he concluded on an upbeat note.
Out and about: Howie was seen with his wife Terry in Calabasas on Wednesday
Loved up: The happy couple enjoyed a lunch outing together
Howie’s mental health struggles haven’t been confined to when he got sick, as he admitted earlier in the still-ongoing pandemic that he had dealt with depression while isolating and social distancing to keep himself safe.
Elsewhere in the interview, Howie chatted about his new gig hosting the Netflix series Bullsh*t The Game Show.
The game is inspired by a game of the same name in which contestants have to answer trivia questions, but they can still win even if they don’t know as long as they can fool their fellow contestants into believing that their incorrect answers are true.
The host also shared his grief at losing a number of his iconic comedy peers — including Bob Saget, Louie Anderson and Gilbert Gottfried — in such a short period of time.
Missing them: The host also shared his grief at losing his comedy peers Bob Saget, Louie Anderson and Gilbert Gottfried in such a short period of time; (L–R) Robin Williams, Saget and Gottfried seen in 2007