For the month of May, it’s fitting to explore some celebrities and famous people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Not only is May Mental Health Awareness Month, but it is also Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month.
It’s a natural human behavior to struggle with emotions. For instance, we may unexpectedly tear up in a sad moment or accidentally say something out of anger and then immediately regret it.
Even temporary bouts of depression are common because life can be difficult and disappointing at times. What’s important, though, is how we cope with these emotions and, over time, get back to a more neutral state of mind and wellbeing.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition in which a person feels “emotions intensely and for extended periods of time, and it is harder for them to return to a stable baseline after an emotionally triggering incident,” reports the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
The pain and chaos this disorder causes those who suffer from it, as well as their loved ones, can be incredibly difficult. Some of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder include:
- Intense bouts of depression or anxiety
- Uncontrollable fear of abandonment by friends, family or loved ones
- Distorted self-image
- Severe mood swings, irritability and fits of rage
- Destructive behavior, such as substance abuse, spending-sprees, or out of character promiscuity and unsafe-sex
- Suicidal thoughts, ideations or even actual attempts to take one’s own life
Though the root cause of BPD is unclear, research indicates that the condition is generally brought on by a combination of genetics, brain chemistry, and traumatic life experiences, such as physical, verbal or sexual abuse, especially during childhood.
The stigma associated with BPD is often one reason people do not seek the help they need. NAMI suggests an estimated 1.4 percent of the U.S. population struggles with BPD.
That number is likely underreported because men with BPD are often misdiagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression.
BPD is a treatable condition and many people living with the disorder are able to lead healthy and normal lives. In fact, there are several famous people and celebrities with BPD who have opened up about their mental health battles with the illness.
Many others haven’t received an official diagnosis of BPD, but there is speculation and rumors online that point to them living with the disorder or exhibiting the symptoms. It’s important to clear up some of the confusion.
Celebrities and Famous People With Borderline Personality Disorder
Brandon Marshall is an NFL wide receiver who has played professional football for the Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, and several other teams. He holds the NFL record for most receptions in a single game with 21 catches.
Marshall is officially one of only several famous people with borderline personality disorder who has been diagnosed and publicly opened up about his illness.
In fact, he has been very outspoken it and helped to spread awareness about mental illness. He is the founder of Project 365, an organization dedicated to educating others about mental health.
Doug Ferrari is a San Francisco comedian and writer known by many as, “Dougzilla.” His struggles with addiction and mental illness led him to be homeless for some time before receiving treatment and returning to the comedy stage.
Doug has been open about his BPD diagnosis and has stated that it was part of the reason he was homeless for a period. Since his return, he has been active with homeless charities.
The following celebrities are often mentioned in articles as having borderline personality disorder but they haven’t publicly said they were diagnosed with BPD and some people in the media have merely stated they exhibit signs of the disorder without actually having it.
Though he’s an icon for making audiences laugh, Jim Carrey, has been uniquely open in interviews and on social media about his struggles with depression, although he has never mentioned a diagnosis of BPD.
In recent years, the actor and comedian has taken to the meditative and expressive practice of painting, while putting much of his work out on his Instagram account.
Sadly, Amy Winehouse, famous for her smoky voice and heartfelt songs like “Rehab,” overdosed in July 2011, becoming yet another member of the infamous 27 Club of musicians that died at the young age of 27.
Winehouse publicly struggled with addiction, depression and a number of other hallmarks of untreated borderline personality disorder, although doctors only speculated after she died that she may have had BPD.
British pop star Robbie Williams didn’t “pull any punches” when talking about his mental health in a 2018 interview, saying, “I’ve got a disease that wants to kill me and it’s in my head, so I have to guard against that.”
Even though he went public with his struggles, he hasn’t mentioned a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.
Author Elizabeth Wurtzel, who sadly died of cancer in January 2020, was famous for writing “Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America.” She penned this memoir at the ripe old age of 26.
Wurtzel battled serious mental health issues, but was able to open a dialogue with the public about these common struggles through her storytelling, though nothing was ever mentioned about BPD.
Singer and global mega-star Britney Spears has too many hits and awards to list. The pop-icon and artist is also famous for her very public struggles, and it is only speculated that some of her issues resemble the signs of BPD without an official diagnosis.
A breakdown in 2008 was caught on camera, which lead her family to get a legal conservatorship over many of her financial and personal affairs.
Though she has struggled at times over the years, she remains a top-selling-artist. At her fans’ request, Spears recently released new cover art for her 2016 album “Glory.”
It’s possible there are other famous people and celebrities with borderline personality disorder that haven’t been diagnosed or come forward publicly about it.
The fact remains, nobody should ever succumb to the stigma of mental illness, and anyone who feels they are struggling with mental health issues should seek treatment to receive the help they need and deserve.
Brandon Marshall by Jeffrey Beall
Jim Carrey by Ian Smith
Amy Winehouse by Rama
Robbie Williams by Jeanie Mackinder
Elizabeth Wurtzel by David Shankbone
Britney Spears by loveyousave