Madison Bailey is speaking up about living with borderline personality disorder (BPD). The Outer Banks star recently sat down with Entertainment Tonight for an interview about her experience with coming out as pansexual, and after discussing her new relationship with UNC basketball player Mariah Linney, she got on the topic of having BPD. Around the age of 17, Bailey was diagnosed with the mental health disorder, which has a wide range of symptoms but is often characterized by intense mood swings, a tendency to view situations in extremes, impulsive behavior, and unstable self-image. Since her diagnosis, it’s become “such a huge part” of who she is.
“I think it’s really important to speak from a voice of this is just something I’m going through. It’s not something that I know everything about. I’m figuring it out day by day on my own,” the 21-year-old actress said, reiterating that she’s not a mental health expert. This day-by-day learning led her to realize that therapy, a common treatment for BPD, isn’t her preferred cup of tea.
“I’m not a therapy person,” she told ET. “I’m very internal with the way that I like to deal with things. Therapy isn’t for me; it’s never something I connected with. I didn’t feel like I benefitted from it.” She referenced how her former therapist’s suggestion to try group therapy wound up giving her more anxiety, and she wants others who’ve experienced similar feelings to know they aren’t alone. “I know a lot of other people feel that way — what do I do when I don’t want to be on medication or don’t want to go to therapy?” she said.
So what does Bailey do to cope with BPD on a daily basis? Acting has been a great outlet for her, because, as she put it, “on days when it’s really hard to be myself, it’s really easy to be somebody else.” Plus, she regularly practices “a lot of self-care” like meditating and using healing crystals, the latter of which have given her a better understanding of her emotions.
“The bright side is that it allows me to connect with so many more people.”
The actress touched on the fact that she’s discovered “a lot of pros” to living with BPD. “One of the main things is that likes and dislikes change often. So my aesthetic changes often, my music taste changes often,” she explained. “I feel like I have a very broad personality, which allows me to connect with a lot of people. Being sensitive was such a hard thing. That’s another one of the main components of this disorder is having an exposed nerve to every emotion and every feeling. But the bright side is that it allows me to connect with so many more people. I’m able to put myself in other people’s shoes very easily and deliver empathy with authenticity.”