Liberal Logic 101: Don’t Say I Have the Mental Health Issue I Actually Have

The Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard defamation trial has been going on longer than a liberal temper tantrum, both sides doing their utmost to make the other appear subhuman. Or, at the least, deficient in proper toilet technique. It’s tempting to write the matter off as nothing more than another episode of Lifestyles of the Ridiculous and Fatuous. Still, the depth of hatred Depp and Heard exhibit toward one another make the trial something of a car crash. You know you shouldn’t watch, yet you can’t look away.


The trial has been manna for pop psychologists and pop culture aficionados alike. Social media is ablaze with feverish content from Team Depp and Team Heard. Each side has its battle plans with detailed counterplots. This is, of course, important, as everyone knows court cases are decided not by a judge or jury but by TikTok influencers.

One recent post on the trial caught my attention. Bearing the title The Heard-Depp Case Illustrates the Stigma Around Borderline Personality Disorder, it attempts to make the case that Heard is likely suffering from BPD or HPD (Histrionic Personality Disorder). The story then transforms into the Mad Tea Party.

The article starts with the author doing a wonderful job of cutting and pasting the Mayo Clinic’s summary of the two conditions.

Borderline personality disorder

  • Impulsive and risky behavior, such as having unsafe sex, gambling or binge eating
  • Unstable or fragile self-image
  • Unstable and intense relationships
  • Up and down moods, often as a reaction to interpersonal stress
  • Suicidal behavior or threats of self-injury
  • Intense fear of being alone or abandoned
  • Ongoing feelings of emptiness
  • Frequent, intense displays of anger
  • Stress-related paranoia that comes and goes

Histrionic personality disorder

  • Constantly seeking attention
  • Excessively emotional, dramatic or sexually provocative to gain attention
  • Speaks dramatically with strong opinions, but few facts or details to back them up
  • Easily influenced by others
  • Shallow, rapidly changing emotions
  • Excessive concern with physical appearance
  • Thinks relationships with others are closer than they really are

Ignoring how the HPD symptoms ominously sound like AOC on a day ending in y, the two describe Ms. Heard quite well, or at least how Team Depp portrays her. Risking oversimplification, Heard is lovely on the outside but immensely damaged on the inside, the kind of damage needing both Jesus (literally) and serious therapy to unwind. Ditto, Mr. Depp. However, their war of the roses is a side issue to the real problem. It is the article in question’s author’s effort to excuse aberrant behavior by those who have a personality disorder. Yet at the same time, she demands someone suffering from one hear anything, from everyone, other than the truth about his or her condition. Why? Because — take a deep breath — it’s wrong to say someone who has a problem affecting his or her behavior … has a problem affecting his or her behavior. No, really.

Here’s where the problems start, though: While on the stand, Dr. Curry said that BPD is commonly “a predictive factor in women who implement violence against their partner.” Then she stated that women with HPD are obsessed with their looks, often using them to their advantage to get what they want. She added that when people with these disorders weren’t manipulating through looks (note that she doesn’t specify which disorder), they played “a victim or princess role.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but I also wasn’t surprised. And given how highly publicized the trial has been, I knew that there was a strong chance that personality disorders — and the type of misinformation and stigmatizing language that often surrounds them — would soon become a trending topic.

After all, this exact language is part of the reason why I was so mortified when I learned of my own BPD diagnosis in 2019. I didn’t want to be diagnosed with a condition that called me “manipulative” or “dangerous.”


Let’s run this through. You are diagnosed with a mental health condition evidenced by certain negative behaviors. Yet, you shouldn’t be, even though you have the condition, because it’s terrible saying you have behavior issues that you have. Don’t think it over too much; you’ll run out of aspirin.

In Realville, mental health issues are not dismissed as figments of an overactive imagination but accepted at face value and professionally treated through medicine, therapy, or both. They are as legitimate as noticeable physical ailments. You will always have dunderheads who believe a mental health issue sufferer should be able to get over it unassisted, anything else being a weakness. But their number grows thankfully more minor by the day. As Naomi Judd’s suicide tells us, mental health issues can cause seemingly rational people to do irrational things.

The worst mental health issue sufferers can do is deny they have a problem even as their life amply demonstrates they have a problem. Demanding others deny it as well makes a bad situation worse. Tell the truth about yourself, especially to yourself. If others don’t understand, it’s not your stigma to bear. It’s their stupidity showing.

The author then offers this piece of head-scratching inducement.

In my own relationships, I’ll admit, I have a terrible temper. I personally suffer with awful mood swings, often accompanied by rage and hysteria. Does that sound extreme? Yes. Does that make me a bad person? No.

Other than noting to not look her up on eHarmony anytime soon, no, it does not make her a bad person. It does make her a person with a significant problem needing major help. She should know that. However, insisting her situation isn’t a problem ranks right alongside saying Lizzo’s morbid obesity isn’t a physical health concern.


No one is okay because they say they are. Admitting you have a problem is the first step toward healing. However, admitting you have a problem while shouting it’s not a problem … yes, that is a problem.



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