Borderline Personality Disorder in the News

In the news (and movies): Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) doesn’t get a lot of “press” or screen time.

We have all seen movies and news stories about people with bipolar disorder. (Girl Interrupted, Mad Love, Borderline Personality Disorder Newsand the unforgettable Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, drug addiction) (Chris Farley, Philip Seymore Hoffman, and Anna Nicole Smith), and major depression (Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, and Princess Diana).  Many of these movies or real-life examples also show how mental disorders are intertwined.

Depression comes with alcoholism, bipolar disorder comes with drug addiction, bipolar disorder comes with a lot of issues – but not much attention gets paid to Borderline Personality Disorder.

Borderline Personality Disorder has a few issues:

  1. It is a personality disorder and not a psychiatric disorder that can be treated with medication
  2. It is hard to diagnose and can often be confused with other disorders
  3. Borderline patients may misrepresent their behavior to medical professionals
  4. Borderline patients are often “difficult” to be around
  5. Borderline personality disorder is not well known – make it not well known… and, for this reason, there is no reason to write a news story or make a movie about it.

“Good news”;

I put that in parentheses because the diagnosis is not great – but it is good that BPD is getting a bit of attention.  Two notable examples – one not so great and one which may or may not be great.

Not So Great;

The trial of Jodi Arias.  In 2008, Travis Alexander was brutally murdered.  He was stabbed over 20 times, shot, and photographed after his death.  The alleged perpetrator: his girlfriend, Jodi Arias.

The case has been pending for many years – one of the reasons may be the development of a clear understanding of why Arias acted the way that she did after the murder.  Reportedly, Arias was witnessed immediately after Alexander’s memorial (including explicit text messages sent for “flirting”), and she has been pegged as a possible borderline patient.  This is in addition to Alexander’s former friends that reported her stalking behavior, and her statements that the boyfriend was a pedophile and a domestic abuser.

Arias’ own friends and a court psychologist have reported erratic behavior, similar to that of BPD.  No verdict has been issued as of yet, and we may never know, but it does bring BPD into the news (not in a nice way but into the light, however).

In fact, some mental health professionals have expressed the belief that BPD patients may be more dangerous – both emotionally and physically – than most other mental disorders, some likening it to a form of sociopathy.

Possibly good news;

Borderline Personality Disorder in the NewsOn the movie front, Kristen Wiig (of Bridesmaids –and the new, all-female Ghostbusters) has starred in a”dramedy”. Dramedy is  a combination of a comedy and drama that is centered around a woman with BPD.   In Welcome to Me, the character, portrayed by Wiig, wins the lottery and uses part of the money to start a talk show.

Along the way, she skips out on treatment, quits taking her meds and ends up living in a casino.  No word on reviews for the show, but it has some big names including Joan Cusack and Tim Robbins. It is produced in part by Will Farrell, and even though it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, theater showings have not been announced.

If you know a BPD patient – imagine what he or she might do after winning the lottery.  BPD is hard to diagnose, hard to predict and even tougher to be around.

Whether the movie is any good, whether the trial comes to a just end…

Melissa Lind

Borderline Personality Disorder has gotten some attention!


3 thoughts on “Borderline Personality Disorder in the News

  1. I have Borderline Personality Disorder, Chronic Depression and GAD. So many points I’d love to address lol but I’ll keep it as short as possible… First off; BPD is a common disorder. Bipolar affects about 2-3 percent of the US population where as BPD affects about 4-5 percent of the US population. BPD is often misdiagnosed (purposefully) as Bipolar for the main reason of the Doctors don’t want to deal with them; Bipolar can medically be treated. BPD takes commitment, hard work and can be a lengthy ordeal. I had this happen to me personally; a doctor said her diagnosis was Bipolar and I asked about BPD because I’d heard of it and her response was: “Well yes, that too. But there’s no cure for Borderline so let’s just go with Bipolar”.
    I have a severe dislike for the Stigma that people with BPD are scary, mean, dangerous people and have little to no empathy. The only danger, in most cases are to the person suffering. Yes we can be difficult at times but that is because people with BPD think and feel in black/white, good/evil. There is no grey area. It has been proven and shown that we feel much more intensely. So if someone says for example I didn’t like what you made for dinner tonight, a person with BPD might take it as they are a terrible cook and should never cook again etc.
    Not only does this Disorder need more attention and awareness, it also needs a lot of the stigma addressed as well. Welcome to Me did a decent job, much better than Girl Interrupted which was based on BPD. Welcome to Me was able to show the softer side to BPD as well as touched on the positive aspects of the disorder. Kristen Wigg must’ve spent time with a low/non functioning Borderline, because her portrayal was a bit exaggerated of a typical person with BPD. Still, hopefully it’s the good exposure that is needed and opens the way for more realistic portrayals in the future.

  2. […] we think about addiction, it’s all too common that we focus on the negative aspects of the story: the toll that it […]

  3. […] Nevertheless; we should not eliminate the need for bipolar chat medical use of drugs. […]

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