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, and 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.
Borderline Personality Disorder has a few issues:
- It is a personality disorder and not a psychiatric disorder that can be treated with medication
- It is hard to diagnose and can often be confused with other disorders
- Borderline patients may misrepresent their behavior to medical professionals
- Borderline patients are often “difficult” to be around
- 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.
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;
On 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…