May is borderline personality disorder awareness month, and as someone who struggles with quiet/discouraged borderline personality disorder, I love spreading awareness and education on this personality disorder. There are still so many stereotypes and such a strong stigma following this mental health condition, but awareness is increasing. While there aren’t a plethora of borderline personality disorder activists or stars who have spoken out about their experiences with the illness, there are four who stand out to me. I was excited to find a few famous men open and willing to discuss their experiences with borderline personality disorder in particular, as this fights the stereotype that borderline personality disorder only affects women. Coming forward with your diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is often scary and many fear pushback or the negative consequences that may come when you are in the spotlight and you share your story– however, I am thankful to the following stars and activists for their work in creating awareness, understanding and expanding treatment.
1. Marsha M. Linehan
Our first activist is the creator of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), Marsha M. Linehan. Linehan has borderline personality disorder herself, and she developed DBT as a form of treatment that has proven extremely effective for those living with the disorder. I am so grateful to Linehan for her contributions to the treatment and awareness of borderline personality disorder, as DBT has helped me as well. Without her, we might not have as much knowledge about the disorder, or a treatment that has been effective for so many people.
2. Pete Davidson
Pete Davidson is a comedian on Saturday Night Live as well as an actor. He has been very open about his diagnosis of borderline personality disorder and has brought awareness to mental illness through the movie “The King of Staten Island,” which is a semi-autobiographical look into Davidson’s life. If you have not yet seen this movie, I highly recommend it. Davidson has also been open about his struggle with drug use and has been trying to live a sober lifestyle since 2017.
3. Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall is an NFL receiver and is very passionate about mental health conditions and borderline personality disorder. Marshall and his wife both speak out against the stigma that surrounds mental illness, and they even created their own non-profit called PROJECT 375 that works to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness, while also helping individuals find mental health help when they may be too fearful to seek it.
4. Darrell Hammond
Darrell Hammond is also an actor on Saturday Night Live, and has struggled with his mental health, self-harm and alcohol abuse for many years. Doctors have diagnosed him over the years as having schizophrenia, manic depression, borderline personality disorder, major depressive disorder and multiple personality disorder. Hammond has been open about his past abuse, and even created a documentary about his life and past abuse called “Cracked Up” (available on Netflix).
While there is still stigma surrounding borderline personality disorder, it is enlightening to see how much awareness has grown. I also love seeing how individuals are more willing to speak up about their diagnoses– particularly men–when borderline personality disorder was previously stereotyped as a mental illness affecting women. The more stories we share of our experiences, the more voices we will have to break down the stigma surrounding not only mental illness, but this personality disorder in particular. If you are comfortable, I urge you to consider speaking out this month if you struggle with borderline personality disorder to continue and increase the conversation. I look forward to hearing what you have to say!