Braunwyn Windham-Burke opened up about her daughter Rowan’s experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) on The Real Housewives of Orange County in 2019. Now, Rowan is sharing her story in her own words.
The 17-year-old took to YouTube to create a series of videos outlining her experience, including how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected her mental health, and how Braunwyn helped her see things from a new perspective.
On August 10, Rowan began telling her story on YouTube. In the first video, she explained, “I’ve had OCD my entire life, or as far as I can remember. That has a big role in my eating disorder, or the fact that I even got an eating disorder in the first place. I’ve struggled with it for as long as I can remember.”
She explained that during her sophomore year of high school she “started getting really depressed,” and began to struggle with self-harm and an eating disorder. Eventually, Rowan ended up going to a treatment center for six weeks, an experience she detailed in her second YouTube video, which she shared on August 14. In her third video on August 16, Rowan said that the uncertainty of coronavirus had a major effect on her, especially considering the fact that the pandemic derailed her senior year of high school.
“I didn’t get to do prom, I didn’t get to do graduation. I kind of say f--k it about that stuff, but it does get to me, the fact that I never really got closure for high school, which I guess kind of sucked, I’m sure all 2020 graduates can relate to this. There’s a lot of people that went through that. It’s hard, it sucked,” she said.
During quarantine, Rowan spent much of her time exercising. However, her workout routine got out of hand.
“My workout routine got so long, that I was doing four hours of the same goddamn workout routine every single morning, every single day of quarantine. It was exhausting, because I would do nothing else the rest of the day. It would just pass by, and then I would have to wake up and work out again, and I f--king hated it,” she explained. “It’s the numbers, and the counting how much I do, and just all of this. It’s hell. It really is. It’s hell.”
Rowan then said she had “a breakdown” over the workout routine, to which Braunwyn suggested that the next morning, instead of working out, the duo would hop in the car and drive somewhere far away to try to prevent Rowan from feeling the need to go through her routine. Although it was initially difficult for Rowan to agree to it, they went to Palm Desert the next morning, which ended up being an incredible experience.
“It was the first time I didn’t work out at all in a day,” said Rowan. “It was the most freeing, amazing day that I’ve had in so long.”
Braunwyn and Rowan both documented the day on Instagram through their Instagram Stories, below. “OCD is hard, quarantine has been tough, but if you’re struggling, know you aren’t alone,” wrote Braunwyn.
Rowan also documented that after their road trip, she woke up and worked out “in whatever way I want” for “only an hour.” Braunwyn shared Rowan’s Instagram Story to her own, adding, “This is a huge day for her!! So proud of you baby girl.”
At the end of her third video, which was filmed before the “freeing” day she shared with Braunwyn, Rowan described how she is currently doing.
“As you can tell, I’m still struggling. And I have been struggling for a really long time, and I think that it’s OK to show that you struggle,” she said. “It just sucks, because it takes so much from your life. It’s taken so much from me. It takes your friends, it takes what you like to do for fun. It takes your hobbies and your interests, and just destroys them all. And I don’t want it to destroy any of that anymore.”
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