Tallulah Willis is openly sharing her mental health journey and what led her to being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
The youngest daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, now 29, penned an essay for Vogue detailing her journey that includes battling an eating disorder, past trauma, ADHD, and how her father’s early symptoms of frontotemporal dementia affected her.
Tallulah Willis Opened Up About Her Mental Health Journey
Tallulah explained that when people first learned about her getting mental health help years ago, it wasn’t her choice, but now it is.
“The first time I entered psychiatric treatment, at age 20, my medical information found its way to the Daily Mail,” she wrote in her essay. “Back then the choice to tell my story was taken from me. Now, nine years and a whole lot of therapy later, I get to make that decision myself.”
She continued to explain why she sometimes wonders if it’s okay for her to be so open about her struggles.
“And the fact that, although I believe that everyone’s suffering is real, I have always felt afraid of looking like a spoiled, insensitive, whining jerk,” she continued. “I was reared to keep my mouth shut.”
Tallulah Revealed The Struggles She’s Had With Her Father’s Symptoms
The family announced Bruce was suffering from aphasia in early 2022, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that they learned “that symptom was a feature of frontotemporal dementia, a progressive neurological disorder that chips away at his cognition and behavior day by day.” Tallulah shared that she knew something wasn’t right for a long time though.
She admitted that she’s had her share of denial and avoidance when it came to her father’s decline, but also said she “was too sick” to handle it herself.
“For the last four years, I have suffered from anorexia nervosa, which I’ve been reluctant to talk about because, after getting sober at age 20, restricting food has felt like the last vice that I got to hold on to,” she wrote.
“When I was 25, I was admitted to a residential treatment facility in Malibu to address the depression that I had lived with through my adolescence. It was a largely therapeutic experience; for the first time, I grieved the 15-year-old misfit me, the ugly duckling. I was also diagnosed with ADHD and started on stimulant medication, which was transformative.”
Tallulah Willis Received A New Diagnosis Last Summer
Last June, Tallulah‘s relationship with her then fiancé ended, and her family sent her to Driftwood Recovery in Texas. It was there that she was given a new diagnosis.
“I was introduced to a variety of therapies, my medication was retooled, and I was given a new diagnosis: borderline personality disorder, an illness that impairs the ability to regulate emotions and find stability in relationships,” she revealed.
“By the time I left Texas, in October, I felt a lot better. I realized that what I wanted more than harmony with my body was harmony with my family—to no longer worry them, to bring a levity to my sisters and my parents.”
Tallulah shared her diagnosis on Instagram with her followers and many took to the comments to thank her for being open about a subject that is sometimes hidden from the public.
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“🙋🏼♀️Had no idea you had BPD. welcome to the club. thx for contributing to making it NORMAL,” one person wrote.
“I too have BPD and I think it’s brave of you to be so forthcoming. I don’t usually share my diagnosis’ with others due to misunderstanding of them. But Bravo and kudos to you! Also DBT will do you wonders if and when you’re ready for it,” another follower shared.
Tallulah Willis Is Now “Present In All Facets” Of Her Life
Tallulah realizes that recovery will likely be a lifelong process, but she’s now armed with the knowledge and tools necessary to be “present in all facets of my life,” especially when it comes to the relationship she has with her father.
“I can bring him an energy that’s bright and sunny, no matter where I’ve been. In the past I was so afraid of being destroyed by sadness, but finally I feel that I can show up and be relied upon,” she said.
“I can savor that time, hold my dad’s hand, and feel that it’s wonderful. I know that trials are looming, that this is the beginning of grief, but that whole thing about loving yourself before you can love somebody else—it’s real.”
Now that Tallulah is feeling better, she can focus on trying to make her dad more comfortable. Her sister’s baby is helping the family along in the journey as well, and Tallulah is grateful for being present for that.
“In April, my older sister Rumer had a baby girl, Louetta, and Bruce and Demi became grandparents. There’s this little creature changing by the hour, and there’s this thing happening with my dad that can shift so quickly and unpredictably,” she said.
“It feels like a unique and special time in my family, and I’m just so glad to be here for it.”