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Johnny Depp's trial put a spotlight on personality disorders and we need to talk about it

Johnny Depp at Pirates of the Caribbean event 2003.

By now, everyone has become intimately familiar with the details surrounding Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's trial and relationship. Opinions have been shared in support of one star or the other, but since the testimony of Dr. Shannon Curry, a clinical and forensic psychologist who completed a 12 hour evaluation of Heard over the course of two days, people have been talking about personality disorders.

Dr. Curry diagnosed Amber Heard with two separate personality disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder. Both disorders have symptoms of exaggeration and volatile mood changes and some believe with BPD that can sometimes turn violent but having BPD isn't itself an indicator of violence. Curry testified to this in court and set the internet ablaze with further speculation, which unfortunately casts more stigma onto people living with these personality disorders.

Borderline Personality Disorder already has such a deep stigma, even within the mental health community among therapists that either don’t fully understand the disorder, or prefer not to treat the disorder. To be clear, therapists have specialties and every therapist is not qualified to treat all disorders to the degree that certain disorders may require. Personality disorders in general are often treated by people that specialize in personality disorders, but the stigma attached to BPD specifically is difficult to overlook.


People living with BPD are often stigmatized as difficult, volatile, manipulative, and unpleasant to be around for long periods of time. Symptoms of the disorder can make this true for some people that live with it, but Borderline Personality Disorder is also a symptom in and of itself, which isn’t talked about much. People that have BPD are often people that have experienced abuse and trauma, or were neglected, mistreated or abandoned by a parent but genetic and environmental factors can also determine predisposition to the disorder. It’s important to look at what people call “manipulation” from a different perspective. In most instances of BPD and other personality disorders such as Histrionic Personality Disorder, people aren’t necessarily attempting to manipulate, they’re trying to get a need met in a way that has worked in the past.

One of the common symptoms of BPD is fear of abandonment, and this fear may cause people to behave in ways that damage relationships in order to make people stay. While the intention is to get people to stay, maladaptive behaviors actually do the opposite, which in turn increases insecurity in relationships because another person has left. This can lead to more feelings of abandonment and symptoms of depression. These behaviors are often not done out of spite, but an attempt at keeping their loved ones close. It can feel like a push pull dynamic, and the person living with the disorder is just as internally conflicted, if not more so than the people in their lives. They want and deserve to be loved, respected and valued just as everyone else.

While violence is not unheard of in people that experience personality disorders like BPD, it doesn’t mean everyone with BPD is violent, or prone to violent tenancies. Oftentimes when we can take a step back and look at the person, where they’ve come from and what they’ve been through instead of the disorder, we can better learn how that particular person seeks validation and do our best to honor that within reason.

Abuse is never OK under any circumstances, and having a mental health condition such as the two Heard was diagnosed with is not an excuse to inflict physical or emotional pain on someone. Personality disorders are treatable with therapy, sometimes intensive therapy and medication to treat accompanying symptoms. There are areas of coping that need to be relearned and thoughts that have to be challenged by a professional, but as a society we also need to relearn a few things about these disorders to stop the shame and rejection that can come along with them.

Like many other mental health conditions, personality disorders need to be destigmatized. No one asks to have these disorders, just as no one wakes up and decides they’re going to have an asthma attack. So it’s on us as a society to increase our understanding of these disorders so we can increase our empathy and allow people to talk openly about their healing journeys. As long as there’s a deep stigma the less likely that the people that need the help the most will seek it. We have to do better.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic violence you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233 or plan for safety online at thehotline.org.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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