5 TV series that portray Borderline Personality Disorder (mostly) right

TV series with BPD characters

We’ve previously talked about the top 5 BPD movies that we’ve found interesting and assertive regarding BPD symptoms and the overall way of living when having Borderline Personality Disorder. On the other hand, we must admit that there are not many TV series that portray Borderline Personality Disorder, but there are 5 TV shows that have characters with some BPD traits.

Skins

This British television drama follows a group of teenagers. Skins explores complex issues like bullying, dysfunctional family dynamics, and mental illness. Effy’s character, in particular, exhibits mental health symptoms people with BPD can identify with.

Effy is really scared when it comes to trust —and love— people, so, she engages in self-destructive behaviors and has a lot of sudden mood changes. This girl also shows impulsive behaviors and willingly engages in things that are bad for her to try to fill some kind of void.

Effy is one of the most popular Skins characters because she is portrayed as beautiful and complicated. But, there’s a huuuge downside: her storylines glamorize mental health problems as something that will make you increasingly desirable to boys who want to “fix” you. Her portrayal of mental health —although at times it’s realistic— is mostly based around an unreal perception in which mental problems make you increasingly attractive and interesting.

Love

Love is a romantic comedy series on Netflix that follows Mickey and Gus. This show explores male and female perspectives on love. Though Mickey is never given the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, many viewers with BPD relate to her actions and most believe that they could be influenced by BPD symptoms. 

Mickey can be veeery impulsive. She also has many fears and works hard to avoid abandonment. She also has a history of unstable relationships and substance abuse issues. She’s constantly trying to get her life together but slips up a lot. While it’s great to see a humanizing take on some BPD symptoms, it’s also notable that the show doesn’t go overboard and romanticize living with these symptoms. 

Love gives viewers a glimpse into the daily turmoil of life with borderline personality disorder. Mickey is not necessarily a lovable character, but the audience is able to see her perspective in a way that doesn’t necessarily justify or excuse her behavior.

Riverdale

This Netflix series is based on the Archie comics and, though not diagnosed with any mental illness in particular, some people with BPD have identified with Betty Cooper, one of the main characters in Riverdale. Betty’s mental health struggles are displayed with perfectionism and self-harm, but people with ‘quiet’ BPD may also be able to relate to the subtle way her intense emotions appear to implode, rather than explode.

Betty definitely has traits of BPD, such isolating herself, having an alternative persona —she uses when she’s scared and angry—, obvious signs of anxiety, self-harm and feeling an immense pressure to be perfect.

Crazy Ex-girlfriend

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a comedy-drama series following Rebecca as she moves from New York to California to follow and try to win back her childhood ex-boyfriend. In season 3, Rebecca is officially diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

The most obvious symptom of BPD portrayed in the series is emotional intensity, which we can see in Rebecca’s relationship with her ex. And, while many agree BPD and the symptom of emotional intensity is well portrayed in the show, some believe it falls short in picturing how debilitating BPD can be to live with. The reality is a looot more painful.

Suits

This legal drama has a character —not a main one though— that may exhibit some symptoms that are typical of borderline personality disorder. Louis Litt fits the BPD profile. He is widely emotional and has huge bursts of anger, he pushes people away when he is most vulnerable and yet is deathly afraid of rejection and abandonment. He’s also impulsive and gets very caught in his own mind torturing himself out of self-loathing.Though Louis does not have the diagnosis of BPD, it is important to see a man go through mental health struggles in popular culture. Thank you for that, Suits

Besides these 5 TV series, have you ever felt identified with another TV show character that may have BPD or, at least, some traits? Tell us about it and we’ll check it out. 

* Do you have a friend or family member with BPD? Do you want to share your story with us? Remember you can write us here. We’re here, contact us! 

One thought on “5 TV series that portray Borderline Personality Disorder (mostly) right

  1. PsychDoc says:

    I have recently started watching Crazy Ex Girlfriend. I am blown away by how many aspects I recognize and relate to! I’m not as impulsive as the lead but I still feel like I can related and understand. I even asked my wife to watch it with me to get a better look inside my head and she feels like she’s getting a lot out of it too. It’s not perfect, but we the Borderline of the world are a varied group, so just because her BPD doesn’t look exactly like mine, doesn’t make it an less valuable a depiction.

    Liked by 1 person

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