Famous people with mental illnesses have always intrigued those of us who also have a mental illness. It’s interesting to find out which celebrities have our particular mental disorder, and maybe even to compare ourselves to them. There are a few famous people with Borderline Personality Disorder; the most famous one being Princess Diana.
The lists of famous people that I found who have had or do have mental illness were many and long. Looking at these lists, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that famous people with mental illness are some of the most intelligent, creative, outspoken, and outgoing people known. It was easy to find lists of famous people with mental illness; however, it was difficult to find a list of famous people with just Borderline Personality Disorder.
Famous people aren’t the only people with the special characteristics listed above, however. Some of us, diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, are just as intelligent, creative, etc., as the people on those lists; we just don’t share their fame and fortune. Those special characteristics, though, are some of the characteristics that can lead to success in any field, whether the person is famous or not.
Adolph Hitler supposedly had Borderline Personality Disorder. He is a perfect example of how Borderline Personality Disorder got its name – as the border between neuroses and psychoses.
Biographer and journalist Sally Bedell-Smith says of Diana, Princess of Wales, “While one cannot say with certainty that Diana had a borderline personality disorder, the evidence is compelling.” The author continues, “The most important factor setting the borderline personality apart from those with other disorders is early parental loss—in Diana’s case the departure of her mother and the emotional withdrawal of her father for several years following the Spencer divorce.” During Diana’s lifetime, someone close to Prince Charles consulted both a psychiatrist and a psychologist, who agreed that her behavior “fit the description of the borderline personality in quite extraordinary detail.” 1
It has been speculated that Marilyn Monroe had Borderline Personality Disorder, due to the fact that people with the disorder usually have turbulent relationships, rapid mood swings, great anxiety over real or imagined abandonment, and suicide attempts, and she fit this profile.
Girl, Interrupted is an Academy Award-winning film adapted from the memoir by Susanna Kaysen. In the book, Susanna relates her true experiences as a patient with Borderline Personality Disorder in a psychiatric hospital in the 1960’s.
Famous people with mental disorders may not be in the same social circle as we are, so we may not be able to relate to their fame/celebrity in some ways, but we do share the common bond of having a mental illness. We cannot relate to their having unlimited financial resources, while we may lose our jobs and have to fight just to get Social Security Disability. However, we do share the same struggle as far as the problems and symptoms that are characteristic of Borderline Personality Disorder itself—in that way, we are all the same, famous or not.
Diana in Search of Herself, Bedell-Smith, Sally; New York City, Times Books, 1999
About the Author
David Oliver is the founder of BorderlineCentral.com a one stop source of information on how to cope and deal with borderline personality disorder.