Tallulah Willis discusses her father’s diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia
In a first-person essay for Vogue magazine published on Wednesday, Tallulah Willis reveals her struggles coming to terms with her father Bruce Willis’s diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). She also shares intimate details about the impact of FTD on her family’s lives.
Early signs of Bruce Willis’s illness
Tallulah recalled the initial signs of her father’s illness which the family initially billed as aphasia. The family has since shared that the actor lives with FTD, which affects areas of the brain generally associated with personality, behavior, and language.
The impact on Tallulah’s own health
Tallulah also shares candidly about her own health, including diagnoses of ADHD and borderline personality disorder, and her battle with anorexia nervosa. She recalls struggling with the weight of her father’s illness, saying, “I had managed to put an epidural in my central channel of feelings for Dad.”
Tallulah’s road to recovery
After spending time at a recovery center in Texas, Tallulah says she’s felt “so much better” and now has “the tools to be there for everyone.” She documents her time with her dad, even saving all of his voicemails on a hard drive.
Learning to savor the moment
Tallulah concludes her essay by saying, “I realize that I am trying to document, to create a record for the day that he is not there to remember him and us.” She adds that she finally feels like she can savor the moment and hold her father’s hand and feel how wonderful it is.