'Days of Our Lives' Actress Linsey Godfrey Opens Up About Life with Mental Illness: 'I Knew I Wasn't OK'

Godfrey was diagnosed with borderpolar, which refers to individuals with bipolar and borderline personality disorder, in December 2019

When Linsey Godfrey was diagnosed with borderpolar in December 2019, the Days of Our Lives actress felt a sense of calm after suffering in silence for years.

"I had been struggling for so long, and I knew I wasn't okay," Godfrey, 33, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "Even though it was a big, awful pill to swallow, I was relieved to finally have an answer and not just, 'You're a s----- person.' "

According to Dr. Mark Zimmerman, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University who helped coin the word, "Borderpolar refers to individuals with borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder." Some 20 percent of individuals with one diagnosis have the other.

Godfrey's experience includes episodes of major depression and hypomania (milder than mania) characteristic of bipolar II. Borderline personality disorder (BPD), generally considered harder to treat, is diagnosed when at least five of nine symptoms — including unstable mood with sudden shifts, significant ups and downs in relationships, feelings of emptiness and worthlessness, difficulties regulating temper and impulsiveness — are present. Godfrey says she has all nine.

Paul Telfer, Linsey Godfrey, Suzanne Rogers "Days of our Lives" Set NBC Studios Burbank 09/13/21

Now, Godfrey says she is happy and healthy thanks to medication, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and a strong network of family and friends — and she's determined to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Linsey Godfrey
Paul Smith

Last year she announced her diagnosis on social media. "It was nerve-racking, and I genuinely thought I would never work again," she says. "[But] as soon as I did it, someone commented, 'Thank you.' It was worth it to know that one person went, 'Oh my God. It's not just me.' "

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Linsey Godfrey Instagram
Linsey Godfrey/Instagram

While Godfrey did not set out to be a poster child for borderpolar, she's happy to take on the role if it helps others.

"Mental illness doesn't discriminate," she says. "It doesn't care who you are, or what family you were born into, or what your experiences were. The more we talk about it, the less alone everybody would feel."

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