Now, on his solo press tour for his album Flicker, Niall shares that he still has tics on stage that come from his OCD.
“I have a mild obsessive-compulsive disorder, that’s what doctors call it.” When asked to describe what his tics were, he said, “I feel like I have to do things in a certain way. For example, if I have a burger with chips on my plate, I always have to eat the chips first and only pick up the burger at the very end.”
Of course, that was merely an example of what he has to go through. It may not be bothersome to most people, but there are different ways his ‘tics’ come out.
“There are other tics in my life. Even when I go on stage, I only have one fixed sequence. I always have to sing in the same order, move and so on.”
What happens when that doesn’t go his way?
“I have to do things very quickly, otherwise, I’ll get nervous very quickly,” Niall said.
Living with mild OCD
Niall still deals with his mild OCD, but it doesn’t hinder him from doing what he loves.
Back when he was still in school, he says that his classmates didn’t like him for his tics. They also found him strange for wanting to become a musician when everyone else was interested in sports.
“They said to me, ‘oh that won’t work.'” But with Niall’s growing career in music, he also found people around him that understood him.
“I noticed: I may not be like most normal people – but most musicians are like me! Some have much stronger tics than I do. A friend has to, for example, always exactly do things three times when he washes his hand: soap three times, rinse three times, dry off three times.”
Niall is fortunate that his mental health disorder isn’t as bad as other people, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t struggle with it. When someone has OCD, they get caught in cycles or urges that may trigger distress and anxiety.
When asked how Niall is doing today with his tics, he said: “I live with them and they’re mine no matter what others think about it. I’m just like – what the hell!”