BPD Comedy can be funny in the right hands

I don’t think I have ever written anything even remotely critical of another person’s work or blog but the other night I read an article published on The Mighty by Kyle Alexander in which he profiles a comedian in the United Kingdom named Joe Tracini who Alexander says has “lifted the veil on Borderline Personality Disorder in a way he has never seen before. I will certainly agree with that statement.

Is it okay to take a money making stance when it comes to BPD

Tranciini’s schtick is that he makes videos which show a split screen of “him” being his  “normal self while on the other side of the split screen is him being his “BPD self,” and they argue back and forth.“Normal Joe” documents all his symptoms and “BPD Joe” argues with him and contradicts everything he says..“Normal Joe” starts talking about why he wants to talk about BPD and “BPD Joe” says “We’re ashamed of you, voicing what many families actually think about their family member who has been diagnosed with BPD.

This video perpetuates the stigma that people with BPD face all the time

from our families, our friends, and ourhealth care providers, including even our mental health care providers.Many people think of those of us diagnosed with BPD as having a “split personality” and seeing “Normal Joe” sharing a split screen with “BPD Joe” certainly doesn’t dispel that notion.They think we are “crazy” and so seeing a grown man arguing with himself on a video screen while filming in front of his bathroom mirror further perpetuates this idea. Honestly, I don’t see anything funny at all with this man’s work. Yes, I get that he’s doing “dark comedy” probably using it as a way to cope with his symptoms  much the same way that Pete Davison did when he posted his video about his BPD in which he addressed his breakup with Ariana Grande. But Davidson did that in a way that was dignified and gracious. Davidson went on later to detail his illness in an article that appeared on Today in which he talked openly about BPD as a way to help decrease the stigma of it. This is effective partly because of his star status. This kind of piece dramatically helps reduce the stigma around BPD whereas Joe Trancini’s comedy video  radically takes away from all the achievements of mental health advocates over the past number of years who have been trying to shine a more compassionate light and foster more understanding about this very misunderstood disorder. Poking fun at it, doesn’t do that, in my opinion.

People with BPD have huge anger issues

Trancini talks about his anger with “BPD Joe” and “BPD Joe” essentially confirms that Joe is angry all the time. There is some truth to that but what “BPD Joe” is doing is talking in Black and White terms which is something else that contributes to the stigma around BPD. Yes, it’s true. Most of us have huge anger issues.

But what is funny about a video that disparages BPD?

But is that funny? I hardly think so. Our anger causes tremendous upheaval in our lives and alienates our loved ones and friends and acquaintances from us. It results in us being fired from our jobs and terminating our therapy prematurely. It causes enormous emotional pain. I don’t think that’s funny at all.Trancini talks about the way he used to self-harm a lot. Yes, many of us self-harm but that’s not ALL we do. We also raise children, do laundry, go to the grocery store, mail letters, cook dinners and drive the carpool. We’re not always sitting in the dark in our bedrooms carving up our arms. In fact, some of us, like me, have never engaged in that kind of self-harming behavior. And I don’t see why someone wants to make a comedy routine about talking about the huge emotional pain most of us deal with every single day.Trancini goes further to say that even though he is suicidal that he isn’t at risk because he is “telling us about it.” And this is not true. Risk of suicide depends on many factors. Simply talking about it (in a video, no less!) does not mean a person is no longer at risk for committing suicide so this makes  this video a bit of a dangerous loose canon on in the world of mental health and BPD. Someone can show up at the hospital saying that they are suicidal because they want to talk to someone then spend a few hours talking to an intern or even an ER doctor, go home and still commit suicide once they are alone again.BPD has to do with dysregulated emotions. Those dysregulated emotions cause us to do things we wouldn’t normally do like yell at a bank teller because they are not working fast enough or use road rage to deal with someone who cut us off in traffic. To take this kind of emotional pain and self-invalidate it so horribly and make videos about it that get uploaded to YouTube strikes me that Joe Trancini is trying to “cash in” on  his diagnosis and that’s just not funny at all to me.