Bowen Yang‘s podcast Las Culturistas has paused production while the comedian and host addresses what he described as “bad bouts of depersonalization.”
“Taking a very short break from [the podcast]. Bad bouts of depersonalization are fucking me up bad but I am doing my best to get better!” Yang wrote in a recent Instagram Story post. “Please take care, be back soon.”
Depersonalization is described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fifth edition as “experiences of unreality, detachment, or being an outside observer with respect to one’s thoughts, feelings, sensations, body, or actions.” People who experience this often describe having a distorted sense of time, perceptual alterations, an absent or unreal sense of self, and emotional or physical numbing, if not both, according to the DSM-5.
The disorder is largely considered to be related to sustained trauma and severe stress. In a recent Rolling Stone interview, the Saturday Night Live cast member opened up about his experience attending conversion therapy at the request of his parents when he was younger. He said it’s something that he’s still actively trying to process.
“I still have to pull that part of myself, turn it at a different angle, and understand it a different way. I think ultimately that made me value and, in a literal sense, appreciate what I’m able to withstand and survive. You get this sense that you can overcome,” Yang explained. “I know that sounds kind of dramatic, but I think nowadays that’s pretty important. If I can anecdotally even be like, “Well, I went through this thing, so I’m sure I can get through a hard day on set” — not that those two things are comparable at all — it puts a frame around why you do what you do.”
And when he’s generally feeling overwhelmed, Yang said he seeks out mind-numbing outlets, like watching terrible reality TV or doing nothing at all, to get a break. “I feel a little overstimulated — or temporally congested, we’ll say, because my time is pretty jammed up right now — and the only way I can push the accordion out on that is to truly shut my brain off,” he shared. “I know this is not unique to me at all, but I really could stay at home tonight and watch paint dry. I really could just stare at a wall and that would be an amazing night for me. I know that sounds a little concerning, but I would like to be in a sensory-deprivation tank without paying for that experience.”