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Actor with borderline personality disorder shares biggest misconception about the illness

Actor with borderline personality disorder shares biggest misconception about the illness

Former Hollyoaks star Joe Tracini has opened up about living with borderline personality disorder (BPD)

Warning: This article contains discussion of addiction and suicide which some readers may find distressing.

On top of being an actor, presenter and author, former Hollyoaks star Joe Tracini is one of the few people in the world with borderline personality disorder, which is often referred to as BPD.

The mental illness is said to only affect two percent of the global population, and comes with a series of harrowing symptoms. Some of these include upsetting thoughts, long-term feelings of emptiness and loneliness, as well as impulsive behaviour.

Joe, a comedian and actor, has long experienced many of these symptoms after having been diagnosed with BPD ten years ago.

While BPD is an undeniably debilitating condition, Joe told LADbible that it was a 'good day' when he was given the diagnosis.

Discussing what led him to seeking help, Joe explained: "I'd been going to the doctor's for a few years previous to that to fix the problems that I thought I had. I was a drug addict and alcoholic and I thought they were my problems."

Joe was under the impression that once he was clean and sober - which he has been for eleven and nine years retrospectively - that he'd start to feel better, but he didn't.

"If anything, when I got clean and sober my life got worse," he shared. "It was only after quite a bit of time that I realised there was another problem and that it wasn't the stuff that I was putting in me.

"That's when I eventually got diagnosed with BPD, which was a good day."

As to why it was a 'good day', Joe said it gave him a 'reason' for the way he was feeling.

The ex Hollyoaks star said: "I felt like the worst person that had ever existed, so for somebody to say 'you're a thing' and this is it... that was great."

Joe Tracini's new documentary comes out 13th May (Jack Barnes)
Joe Tracini's new documentary comes out 13th May (Jack Barnes)

After learning that he had a mental illness, Joe went on to say that it made him realise that he's not always the person that's 'responsible' for the way he feels.

While awareness of mental health conditions, anxiety and depression in particular, has increased in recent years, a lot of people still don't know much about BPD. With this in mind, Joe fears that others presume that those with the illness are 'bad people' - which he feels is the biggest misconception people have about the disorder.

Some high-profile names who are known to have the condition include serial killers Jeffrey Dahmer and Aileen Wuornos - both of whom have had films and TV shows made about them.

Joe blames the likes Dahmer for the prejudices that people with BPD might face, as well as because others with the condition aren't usually open about it.

"Something that I've learned come to BPD is that it's quite difficult to be outwardly self reflective," he said. "Whenever I do meet a psychiatrist, they either want to run away from me, or put their pen down and just listen for hours. It's quite weird that I'm able speak about it in the way that I can."

Joe's documentary introduces 'Mick' - the voice inside his head who wants to constantly hurt him (Hungry Bear / Channel 4)
Joe's documentary introduces 'Mick' - the voice inside his head who wants to constantly hurt him (Hungry Bear / Channel 4)

Joe went on: "The only expectation people have is 'bad person'. [...] If you say my personality disordered, they're going to think you're probably bad."

But Joe's new documentary, Joe Tracini: Me and the Voice Inside My Head, wants to change that.

In the harrowing but enlightening Channel 4 programme, Joe discusses how BPD has affected his life, career and relationships, as well as giving some insight into BPD in general.

Devastatingly, 15 percent of those with the illness die by suicide, while another 40 percent of sufferers try to take their own lives at some point.

Joe himself has tried six times - but luckily he's still here. His sobriety might not have necessarily fixed all his problems at first, but he does credit it for him still being alive.

"The fact that I don't drink is the number one reason that I'm not dead," he said. "Because if I did drink, I wouldn't be, I wouldn't be able to cope."

Joe continued to share that he feels 'lucky' that he's learnt that drink and drugs were a 'symptom of his BPD'.

"Drinking is not a thing for me any more, or drugs, anything like that," he went on. "I'm grateful for that because I know that on my worst days, that's that's the thing that would push me over the edge.

"I'm very glad that I was able to get to that point in my life."

Joe Tracini: Me and the Voice Inside My Head airs tonight (Monday, 13 May) at 10pm on Channel 4.

If you're experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They're open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58 and they also have a webchat service if you're not comfortable talking on the phone.

Featured Image Credit: Supplied

Topics: Mental Health, Documentaries, Health, Originals, Channel 4