BPD TikTok Community Responds to Amber Heard Diagnosis

The third week of the Johnny Depp versus Amber Heard trial has come to an end after a week of bizarre testimonies, legal gaffes, viral moments and a personality disorder diagnosis.

Dr. Shannon Curry, a psychologist hired by Depp's legal team to evaluate Heard, took to the stand as an expert witness on Tuesday as the $50 million defamation trial continues in Fairfax, Va. Her testimony about Heard's mental health sparked a wave of discussion on TikTok, where many creators discuss borderline personality disorder in an attempt to reduce the stigma around it.

A licensed clinical and forensic psychologist in California and Hawaii, Dr. Curry said she carried out a psychological evaluation of Heard using case documents, medical records, mental health treatments, and audio and video records, eventually concluding that she met the criteria for histrionic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder (BPD).

"It's an emotion dysregulation disorder that can cause extreme emotional shifts, impulsivity, a fear of abandonment, unstable relationships with ourselves and others, as well as intense anger and dissociative feelings," BPD advocate, TikTok creator and YouTuber Michi Mavros told Newsweek.

@thisisbpd if you relate to these symptoms plz see your doctor! this is a general overview #fypシ #mentalhealthmatters #endthestigma #bpdawareness ♬ original sound - michi mavros

Mavros runs an account dedicated to raising awareness about the disorder called @thisisbpd. She considers the news of Heard's diagnosis an opportunity for her to educate others about it and attempt to help lift the stigma that's often attached to certain mental illnesses.

"I believe that it's wrong to make assumptions based off BPD and any mental illness off of one severe case because we are all very different," Mavros said. "There are over 250 combinations of BPD so there is a spectrum when it comes to symptoms."

Mavros said that Heard's "case is also a result of not being treated, and fortunately, we've seen Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) do wonderful things in treating BPD because it teaches us emotion regulation, distress tolerance and mindfulness."

DBT is a modified type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

The court proceedings have seen ugly details of the former couple's volatile relationship aired before the world, with Depp accusing Heard of being abusive, and detailing disturbing incidents such as when his finger was severed during an argument.

Amber Heard
US actress Amber Heard during the 50 million US dollar Depp vs Heard defamation trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia, on April 28, 2022. - US actor Johnny Depp sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse." MICHAEL REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

Heard herself is yet to take to the stand, but her legal team has argued that Depp's drug and alcohol abuse led to such dark moments in their relationship.

"If Amber had gotten treatment earlier she may not have acted the way she did, and hopefully people will do more research about personality disorders before deciding that we all act the same way," Mavros said.

Similarly, another TikTok creator who runs the account @bpdrelatable said she is worried that BPD will be associated with Heard and the ugly details of this trial.

Mavros continued: "I believe there is a stigma attached to borderline personality disorder because it is not often talked about in mainstream media except for in these extreme cases of abuse, and even professionals are still learning more about exactly what causes them and how to treat them."

The social media creator added that the "scarier" symptoms of BPD such as the anger and mood swings are not indicative of the entire illness and that seeing someone famous diagnosed with it will create more conversation around it.

"I think everyone has the capacity to be good or bad, and people with BPD much like many others need help to heal and accessible resources," she said. "I hope that this discussion about Amber Heard's diagnosis leads to a more open dialogue surrounding BPD in more than just a negative light."

Carole Lieberman, M.D., a forensic psychiatrist and expert witness, told Newsweek that Heard appears to be "a classic case" of a person with BPD.

"People with this diagnosis have unstable personal relationships, in part because they alternate between idealizing someone and then devaluating them in the blink of an eye," she said. "They're also impulsive, angry, volatile in their moods and behavior, and so on. All of these have been illustrated in Depp's testimony about their relationship."

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp
(L-R) Amber Heard and Johnny Depp's defamation trial has seen a number of allegations about drug and alcohol use come to the fore. Depp sued his ex-wife Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court after she wrote an op-ed piece in "The Washington Post" in 2018 referring to herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse." MICHAEL REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Dr. Lieberman said that the "most important Borderline trait" in terms of Depp and Heard's relationship, is fear of abandonment.

"Depp's long childhood pattern of surviving his mother's physical and emotional or verbal abuse, has been to run and hide. It was psychologically programmed for him to do the same when Amber was physically and emotionally or verbally abusive," she said.

"But, when Depp ran away, this triggered Amber's fear of abandonment and made her feel as though her whole world was collapsing. So, she accelerated her abuse of him and the cycle continued. This was the toxic cycle of their relationship."

The trial continues.