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Comedian Argues With Borderline Personality Disorder in Painfully Relatable Videos

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

British comedian Joe Tracini has lifted the veil on borderline personality disorder (BPD) in a way I’ve never seen before. His extremely unique blend of comedy and hard-hitting content left me feeling inspired but also slightly triggered. I related to his story and his various descriptions of BPD far more than I expected. 

Joe has been on the acting scene in the UK for years, appearing in popular shows like “Hollyoaks” and “The Dengeneers.” Despite being extremely unwell throughout much of these years, Tracini managed to continue to work all while facing an ever-growing addiction to drugs and alcohol. During his recent interview with The Guardian, he reflected on the period of time where he gave up drugs only to become a severe alcoholic. According to The Guardian, “He attempted suicide multiple times, although he counts only one attempt as genuine.” Thankfully he still had the support of his family and close friends and today is eight years clean.

During the pandemic, Joe, like many of us, was looking for something to do and a way to use his creativity as an outlet. He initially started making videos just for himself. Joe mentions that he reached a point with his mental health where he was fighting so hard, he simply couldn’t be bothered lying about it anymore, so he uploaded the video to Twitter to see what would happen.

Most of the videos are a split-screen of Joe on the left, Joe as BPD on the right. Everything Joe says, BPD counterpunches with something. For example, when Joe is explaining exactly what BPD is, he gets to a well-known symptom, impulsiveness. Before Joe has had a chance to explain anything further, “BPD Joe” grabs an iPad and says “New York is booked.”

The talent of him expertly weaving his comedy throughout describing the symptoms of BPD has made Joe go viral around the world. Here are a few examples of what Joe is trying to get across, all while BPD is interrupting, telling him to kill himself.

“I feel empty inside all the time.”

“I’m scared people will leave me all the time.”

“I’ve self-harmed, a lot, but it hasn’t been for a long time”.

“I’m suicidal, which is a mindset, not an event. Because I’m telling you about it so it doesn’t happen.”

It is perhaps Joe’s candid discussion around suicidal ideology that is both sad and fascinating. He says by telling someone how you feel, you lessen the likelihood of something happening. So by him telling us, an audience on Twitter, he has to stay and keep fighting. His understanding is that if he holds himself accountable to someone, anyone, then he has a reason to keep moving forward. He is also very clear on the fact that BPD is trying to kill him. He is unapologetic about his mental health and states, “I’m not ashamed of the thoughts my brain makes me have”

For someone like myself with BPD, who looks for ways to express myself while also fighting against stigma, this was incredibly refreshing and just wonderful to see someone like Joe unashamed and making people laugh at the same time as educating them. There are absolutely some hard videos to watch that were quite triggering for me. I thought about how different I would look at these videos compared to someone to doesn’t have BPD. I think they would definitely laugh more — which is not to say I didn’t enjoy his humor, but some of the content came a little too close to home. Joe does not shy away from uploading videos when he is struggling and it can be difficult to watch as someone with BPD. 

Joe Tracini has made a bold and brave decision to take his comedy in a new direction. Rather than campaigning, this is mental health as comedy. To see BPD represented in this medium is refreshing, to say the least, because through comedy Tracini can talk about extremely uncomfortable topics, educating people in the process. 

“I only ever take one test, I take it every day, and it is me. Somedays I don’t pass, but I always show up” — Joe Tracini

Image via @joetracini on Twitter

Originally published: August 19, 2020
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