Pete Davidson, Sinead O’Connor, and 3 Other Celebrities Living With Borderline Personality Disorder
Mental health is a major issue on a global level. Luckily, the past few years have seen the conversation about living with mental health grow, including with celebrities, helping to normalize these issues. Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one such illness that is getting increased attention, mostly thanks to the efforts of those who live with it.
The disorder is marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior, which can result in impulsive actions and problems in relationships, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Nonetheless, it can be managed in a variety of ways, and one key solution is destigmatizing it. Here are five celebrities who have shared their experience of living with BPD, and how they cope with it.
Millennial actor and comedian, Pete Davidson is known for his over-the-top delivery and work on Saturday Night Live. Diagnosed with BPD a few years ago, he discussed with Variety how prior to diagnosis, he “was always just so confused all the time, and just thought something was wrong and didn’t know how to deal with it.”
Since then, he has worked hard on managing his illness with medication and DBT therapy and worked to destigmatize it for others. In addition to discussing his condition openly, Davidson’s semi-autobiographical movie The King of Staten Island addresses the challenges of mental health issues, according to The Mighty.
He has worked to try and live a sober lifestyle since 2017, heading to rehab in 2019 to further address his mental health. Mentioning how he feels he needs to get “readjusted” from time to time, he has praised rehab as a “really strong, powerful thing” in addressing his mental health.
A popular musician in the ’90s, Sinead O’Connor has long been known for some of her more scandalous moments, like ripping up a photo of the pope on Saturday Night Live. However, people often wondered about her mental health, and as it turned out, O’Connor lives with BPD and complex PTSD (C-PTSD), according to The New York Times.
After years of struggle, including time in and out of mental health facilities, she has finally arrived at a place of greater solitude. She shunned the spotlight, moved back to a remote town in her native Ireland, and has recently finished her memoir. Most importantly, however, she does not regret the actions of her past, despite the ensuing struggles she endured.
For years, she struggled to remember the post-SNL years, stating:
“It was a very lonesome, lonesome 10 years … I really trust the subconscious … If it doesn’t want you to remember something, there’s a very good reason for that.”
Now, she revels in the fact that in her village, no one cares who she is, “which is beautiful for me,” she said. “It’s lovely having friends.”
Another comedic favorite, Darrell Hammond appeared on Saturday Night Live from 1999 to 2009. Known for his outstanding Alex Trebek and Bill Clinton impersonations, Hammond had a darker history of addiction, suicide attempts, childhood trauma, and years of diagnoses, including BPD, according to Variety.
In an effort to bring these struggles to light, he released his memoir God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F—– in 2011, followed by a documentary Cracked Up in 2019. Despite his struggles, it’s clear Hammond hasn’t lost his sense of humor as seen with his recent works.
He’s further gone on to share some wisdom of his mental health experience with others. In particular, he said that “he became sold on the idea that the way I was behaving was best described as a mental injury rather than a mental illness […] that’s the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus of my whole life,” according to the NY Post.
A young star from the recent TV hit Outer Banks, Madison Bailey is another celebrity living with BPD. Diagnosed with the illness at 17, she has been working to figure things out “day by day.” When therapy didn’t resonate, Bailey turned to self-education and identifying her personal triggers, using those to help manage her condition.
Another important facet of learning to live with her condition has been connecting with others. According to The Might, she has stated, “I’m able to put myself in other people’s shoes easily and deliver empathy with authenticity.”
As a member of Generation Z, Bailey is definitely working hard to be a face of mental health struggles in young people, a key aspect to destigmatizing these issues.
A successful wide receiver for many NFL teams over a 12-year span, Brandon Marshall seemed to have it all. However, he has previously shared how his experience with BPD prevented him from enjoying the benefits of his hard work. Thankfully, after years of therapy, personal struggles, and ultimately inpatient treatment, Marshall received a diagnosis.
Since then, Marshall has worked to educate himself and others on how BPD affects those who have it and their loved ones. He and his wife speak out about the stigma surrounding mental illness and have even started their own non-profit, Project 375, dedicated to this mission. After a highly successful career at the NFL, Marshall has recently been tapped to host a talk show called The Toughest Opponent, which is intended to address mental health in sports, according to NBC Sports.
BPD is just one of many mental health struggles that a huge portion of the population faces. However, we have arrived at a watershed moment where more people are opening up and sharing their experiences. Thanks to celebrities like the ones in this article, the movement for mental health awareness will only continue to strengthen.
How to get help: In the U.S. and Canada, text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 to reach a crisis counselor for support.