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Uninvisible Pod with Lauren Freedman

Dec 8, 2021

Pooja C. Danay is a South Asian mental health advocate who lives with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). An actor, entrepreneur, and dancer who specializes in Bollywood dancing (been doing it since she was 5 years old!), she loves traveling and spending time with family and friends. Born and raised in New Jersey and currently living in NYC with her husband, she attended Pace University and the Lubin School of Business. She is proud of her culture: where her family comes from (India) and its rich traditions. She is a huge believer in advocating for what you believe in, and hopes that speaking up and sharing her story can help others and inspire hope. 

Tune in as Pooja shares:

  • that she was diagnosed with OCD at the age of 13, but recognized symptoms earlier than that
  • that her symptoms manifested with obsessive thoughts, compulsions, depression, and anxiety
  • that OCD is an anxiety disorder, and the compulsions are usually designed to give someone a sense of control when they don’t feel they have it
  • how her background influenced her approach to mental health care — because mental health and illness can be a taboo topic in South Asian cultures
  • one of the biggest challenges of her diagnosis: finding an appropriate therapist
  • how her diagnosis affected her relationships, especially as a teen
  • why dealing with mental illness is such a lonely experience, especially early on
  • why support and community is as vital as finding the right care providers
  • what ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) is, and how it has helped her mitigate the negative aspects of her disorder
  • how stress can influence her symptoms
  • how OCD affected her in the workplace early in her career, and how it influences her treatment of employees now
  • what we most desperately need to change about American healthcare in order to best serve patients in need
  • her thoughts on using medication to manage her illness
  • her advice for others living with chronic and/or mental illness
  • why we need to destigmatize conversations about mental health and illness