What’s more shocking than Charlie Sheen being the highest paid actor on TV? Or more shocking than Two and a Half Men being the highest rated TV show? How about Charlie Sheen saying he’s fine as he’s walking out of a psych evaluation. Can you say, “denial”?

He’s probably right, when he said his latest hotel incident was overblown, but come on. Charlie is the poster child for sex, drug and alcohol addiction. A man who threatened his wife with a knife. He’s anything but fine. Dr. Drew, celebrity addiction specialist, was on Larry King last night. The good doctor basically said if Charlie doesn’t take time off for treatment, they will probably find his dead body in a hotel room. Dr. Drew reminded the audience that Robert Downing Jr. took 2 years off to sober up.

Charlie Sheen is what you call a high-functioning disordered personality. Despite all his dysfunction, he is able to succeed at a very high level. Which means he is more at risk, because he has the resources to feed his addictions. And because he’s a Hollywood A-Lister, people are more likely to look the other way. Some even look forward to reading about his antics in the gossip pubs. LA LA Land is the mothership for high-functioning disordered personalities. Mel Gibson and Michael Jackson are just a few examples.

The pressure of work and success can only add to their stress. Stress that leads to them acting out in all sorts of self-destructive ways. Imagine what the pressure is like for someone who is the highest paid actor on TV. Someone who has to live up to a famous father. People with personality disorders will sometimes keep their schedules busy just to avoid dealing with their issues. But as Dr Drew noted, that will probably be Charlie Sheen’s downfall. It’s a reminder to all of us that we need to slow down every once and a while to regain our sanity.

I just read an article, where a film director/friend said Lindsay was not happy about being ordered to rehab. Awww. Dear Lindsay, just be glad you weren’t sentenced to prison time. Instead you get to spend time in lovely Rancho Mirage. But Lindsay wanted everybody to know how rough she has it and that she is “not at a spa”. You’re not suppose to be happy my dear LiLo, you’re suppose to be sober. You should thank the judge for saving your life. But Lindsay is complaining that this stint in rehab will cause her financial hardship. She has money for a limitless supply of Blow, but she doesn’t have money to clean up her life.

I’m sure emotionally distraught individuals will accuse me of amateur speculation, but it’s pretty obvious that LiLo is a classic Borderline/Histrionic Personality. The common signs are all there: cutting of wrists, substance/alcohol abuse, cheating parent, wild behavior, hyper/confused sexuality, mood swings, attention-seeking, weak moral boundaries, and clearly self-victimization.

Lohan is outperforming her BPD idol Marilyn Monroe as far as behind-the-scenes drama is concerned. (Above pic- Lohan doing her best Marilyn impersonation). Sadly, the media is content to portray LiLo as a Hollywood girl gone wild, but makes no attempt to get to the root of her behavioral problems.

So what’s the moral of this story? No amount of beauty and glamor can cover up a personality disorder. The more wealthy and successful a BP is, the more excuses they have for why they avoid rehab/therapy. Though advocacy groups like to say that people with BPD know what’s best for themselves. They are flat out wrong.

Left to their own devices, a BP always chooses to repeat destructive patterns. BPs are notorious for ignoring the mountain of evidence suggesting they are not well. Even Lohan’s dysfunctional father has pleaded for LiLo to get help. It is usually not until a BP faces death, the prospect of losing a loved one, or a court order, that they finally get some help. But even that is not a guarantee.

I know it seems like I have a thing for Tila Tequila. I swear it’s nothing personal. But a high-profile C-lebrity is a good way to bring attention to mental disorders. I promise I’m not picking on her for shits and giggles. Although a lot of things she does are pretty hilarious. Apparently, she wants to be the ambassador of Vietnam. But ultimately, this is not funny. Because mental disorders can have tragic consequences.

For a lot of confused women, she is a role-model. And quite frankly that alarms me. A lot of these fans are semi-intelligent women too and that scares the shit out of me. A lot of them are in denial or just plain ignorant about personality disorders. I recently discovered Ms Magazine caters to this demographic. But thank god one progressive publication has seen through Ms Tequila’s act. A lesbian online mag called AutoStraddle commented on Tequila’s condition:

Bipolar Disorder, schizophrenia, sleep deprivation, severe clinical depression and stress is known to contribute to and trigger psychotic states. A history of psychologically traumatic events, and the recent experience of a stressful event, can both contribute to the development of psychosis…

I hope someone in Tila’s life is getting her some treatment, but it seems like everyone is either attacking her on Twitter or in the media, or just abandoning her altogether. If any of her enemies really want this behavior to stop, there is a guaranteed solution: therapy, perhaps Lithium, Seroquel, Ativan, Effexor… and the professional care provided at a mental hospital.

…perhaps Tila will finally get the care & help she needs and get some counseling during a trying time. She’s a human being, and in this psychological state she will not seek help herself or admit she has a problem (that’s part of the illness), and she needs rest. Otherwise she will likely become a physical danger to herself and others very, very, very soon.

One commenter, a woman who works in the mental health profession, corrected the mag’s initial evaluation:

While I definitely could see the hypomania/bipolar action happening with Tila, I think ultimately she might be the kind of girl that gives Borderline Personality Disorder such a terrible stigma. And such a cartoonishly wild, female and promiscuous characterization in popular media. Also, as a note, I would prefer she not check into my psychiatry department, assuming she veers (careens?) toward a mental health resource in the foreseeable future. I think she lives in LA, but if she makes it anywhere near the Bellevue hospital system, I’m heading West.

I’d have to agree with this commenter. Tila Tequila is a poster child for BPD gone wild. But BPs can often display other symptoms along with BPD – such as those associated with bipolar disorder, narcissism, mania, etc. Let’s hope someone from Ms. Magazine will be brave enough to do a follow up article on Tequila’s mental health.  Then maybe their misguided readers will realize how emotionally troubled their media goddess is. Maybe they will realize that outing someone with mental disorders is not slanderous or malicious, but a much needed education on how such disorders can adversely affect someone’s life and the lives of those around them.

If you know someone like this, please get them some help. Whether they want it or not. Not acting could be a matter of life or death.

Who Killed Princess Diana?

September 6, 2010

When Princess Diana died in a horrific car crash, the masses and the media were quick to blame it on overzealous paparazzi.  Some even concocted conspiracy plots by the Royal Family. But why didn’t anybody blame Borderline Personality Disorder? Sure, the belief that Princess Di was suffering from BPD is pure speculation, but the evidence is pretty convincing. After all, borderlines are notorious for their risky and impulsive behavior. If they are not suicidal, they are engaging in self-destructive behavior. This might have led to her hasty decision to try to outrun the paparazzi. BPD might have even explained overwhelming feelings that she was being victimized by the paparazzi and the Royal Family.

In a review of Diana in Search of Herself : Portrait of a Troubled Princess by Sally Bedell Smith, the author questions what purpose it serves to diagnose Diana after her death. The author also takes offense to people labeling Princess Di as “barking mad”. But if the princess did indeed suffer from BPD, then don’t we have an opportunity to bring this serious mental disorder to the public’s attention? By criticizing those who would talk about her illness, aren’t you perpetuating the shame and the stigma that prevents people with BPD from seeking help? The point of this speculation shouldn’t be to deride the tragic princess, but to learn from her struggles. The public fell in love with the glitz and the glamor, but very few knew about the dark reality of her life:

The effects of Diana’s parents’ divorce were certainly traumatic and led to lifelong problems with issues of abandonment, anxiety, and insecurity. Diana often wept before and after public engagements due to both her own high expectations for herself and the public’s expectations of her. She was prone to mood swings, bulimia, self-mutilation, lying, and inattention.

One has to wonder if her decision to marry a prince was just her way of escaping her issues. BPs use the excitement of new love as a band aid for all that ails them. But when that honeymoon feeling fizzles out, the relationship no longer serves its purpose. And that means the old one must be discarded, even if he is a prince. BPs need the excitement of a new love to fill a void that can’t be filled.

Borderlines are good at covering up their disorder. Denial is one of their most potent coping mechanisms.  When it comes to the appearance of well-being, BPs are good at faking it. Her adoring fans were more than willing to buy into the illusion that she was tormented by Charles and the Royal Family. We can only wonder how Diana’s life would have been different had she been diagnosed with BPD and received treatment for it. Unfortunately, her friends and family never encouraged her to get help. They were more concerned about protecting her good name. BPs surround themselves with enablers, people who help cover up the evidence. Conversely, BPs alienate those who attempt to help them or criticize their inappropriate behavior:

Throughout Ms. Smith’s book, it becomes clear that the British, especially the upper classes, view psychiatry with intense skepticism and disdain. Raised as a member of the aristocracy, Diana was supposed to keep a stiff upper lip—to sort herself out, rather than seek psychiatric help. To his credit, Prince Charles did try to get Diana professional help while they were still on their honeymoon. He arranged for his bride to see a psychiatrist, who prescribed tranquilizers, which she rejected. Later Diana was given Prozac, which she took for only a short time. Instead, the Princess chose to take sleeping pills for many years, and Ms. Smith never discusses how the side effects of this medication might have affected Diana’s behavior.

One could argue that the mistrust of psychiatry, is not exclusive to the British or the upper class. It is all part of a BP’s self-destructive make-up. The author suggests Diana often made bad choices because of her BPD.:

Instead, she relied on her instincts and wound up repeating the same mistakes over and over.

BPD adversely affects normal cognitive function. It makes otherwise intelligent people do stupid things. Their strange behavior is also influenced by bouts of paranoia. Their denial protects their self-esteem (or rather their self-created image) but prevents them from seeing the big picture and limits self-awareness. And therefore prevents them from getting better.

Is it preposterous to say that the adverse affects of BPD led to the demise of Princess Di? Is this any more preposterous than blaming the paparazzi or the Royal Family? BPs are good at finding scapegoats to take the blame for their suffering. They are even better at convincing others of their victimhood. But first consider that Diana’s life was troubled, long before the paparazzi took their first photo. She suffered from emotional instability, long before she married the prince. Consider that the drama and chaos that ruled her life, created a downward spiral of shame and depression long before her tragic death. Perhaps the best way to honor the memory and good works of Princess Diana is to make sure others, like her, get the help they desperately need.

The Troubled Princess

August 31, 2010

Once upon a time, there was a princess who felt like her relationship was a prison. She was a Beauty married to a Beast. At least, that was her side of the story. Turns out that princess might have suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. Is it possible the beast and the prison were all in her troubled mind? The author below seems to think so.

excerpt from Publisher’s Weekly review of Diana in Search of Herself : Portrait of a Troubled Princess by Sally Bedell Smith:

Devotees who remember Princess Diana as a beautiful, warm-hearted mother dedicated to good works, whom an adulterous husband and the British Royal family unfairly victimized, will find little comfort in this treatment of her life. Smith relentlessly but convincingly portrays Diana as a woman with severe psychological problems (characterized here as a “”borderline personality””) who never overcame a serious eating disorder and was unable to sustain relationships. Based on research and interviews with Diana’s friends, Smith (Reflected Glory: The Life of Pamela Harriman) carefully presents Diana’s childhood as darkened by divorce and neglect, leaving Diana with deep feelings of unworthiness; by the time of her marriage she was, Smith contends, not only a bulimic but also a pathological liar. According to Smith, Prince Charles had completely severed relations with Camilla Parker-Bowles out of determination to make his marriage work, and did not revive his affair with her until the relationship with his wife fell apart. Diana, certain that Charles was still seeing Camilla from the date of their wedding, retaliated with a series of tawdry romances, and also engaged in self-mutilation, binge eating and other erratic behaviors that alienated Charles. Though Smith acknowledges that the princess dearly loved her sons, she also describes occasions when Diana placed emotional demands on them that they were too young to handle. This is a sharply etched and engrossing study of an insecure and emotionally damaged woman coming apart at the seams.

With borderlines (even famous ones), any meaningful relationship will eventually feel like a prison.  They blame the relationship. They blame their partners. But rarely do they blame themselves. In this state of mind, no serious relationship is worth “sticking out”. When BPs run from relationships, they are actually running from their own insecurities and their past demons.