Pete Davidson has experienced the extremes of life. On a positive note, Pete is living his dream. He was born and raised in New York, and now, he is a member in one of its iconic institutions: Saturday Night Live. On a more challenging note, Pete has opened up recently about his struggle with mental health and being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Pete took to the stage, and Colin Jost interviewed him on the show’s segment, Weekend Update. Like most comedians, Pete made a few jokes, but he also raised awareness—telling about his struggles and the help he has received. He also encouraged other to reach out, saying, “first of all, if you think you’re depressed, see a doctor and talk to them about medication, and also be healthy. Eating right and exercise can make a huge difference. And finally, if you are in the cast of a late-night comedy show, it might help, if they, ya know, do more of your sketches.” The piece about a late-night comedy show may not be applicable to most people, but the piece about seeking help and taking care is. Borderline Personality Disorder can cause significant harm to an individual’s life, but therapy has helped many people learn how to manage their symptoms and live the balanced life they want.
Thriveworks Philadelphia has helped many people who are struggling with the instability that Borderline Personality Disorder can cause. We know that with therapy, many people are learning how to push back against BPD and live a balanced life.
Signs of Borderline Personality Disorder
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) groups BPD under the category of personality disorder. There are ten mental illnesses that fall into this division. All ten are characterized by a distinguishing maladaptive behavior—that is, some pattern of behavior that undermines an individual’s well-being. For those with Borderline Personality Disorder, volatility is the maladaptive behavior that can sabotage their lives. This volatility is present in every area of people’s lives and can look like these signs…
- Swinging quickly between opposite and extreme emotions: happiness to frustration to anger to euphoria and more.
- Living with a deep and abiding fear of abandonment and separation.
- The inability to receive criticism of any kind (even constructive).
- Volatile relationships—often people with BPD have a pattern of broken relationships wherein they idealize others and then villainize them when they do not live up to expectations.
- Feeling empty on a regular and on-going basis.
- Risky behavior that puts others and oneself in harm’s way: spending sprees, daredevil driving, drug use, gambling, binge eating, unsafe sex, self-sabotage, and more.
- Attempted suicide, suicide ideation, self-harm, and other self-injurious behaviors that are used as coping skills for handling rejection, disappointment, and other difficult circumstances and feelings.
- Belligerence, explosions of anger, aggression, and more.
Syliva Plath described her BPD symptoms this way, “It is as if my life were magically run by two electric currents: joyous positive and despairing negative —whichever is running at the moment dominates my life, floods it.”
Risk Factors for BPD
Just over 1 percent of people in the US have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. It is unclear to mental health professionals exactly what causes BPD, but there are certain emotional, physical, and circumstantial factors that may raise an individual’s risk of BPD developing. Such factors include…
- Having a smaller than average hippocampus (area of the brain that controls emotion and stress responses).
- Losing a parent or caretaker as a child.
- Living through childhood trauma (especially emotional, physical, or sexual, abuse or neglect by a parent or caregiver).
- A genetic predisposition and family history of mental illness, including BPD.
Treatment for BPD
“There’s a special therapy developed for people with borderline personality disorder called dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT. It’s very practical, focusing on teaching the patients coping skills to keep in their back pocket, like a neurological cheat sheet to pull out in situations where we want our behavior to be different.”
“I Have Borderline Personality Disorder.
Here Are 6 Things I Wish People Understood.”
Borderline Personality Disorder can disrupt people’s lives, but there are ways to fight its effects. In particular, Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a form of treatment that has helped many people with BPD. This therapy teaches people important skills like…
- Mindfulness – teaches people how to observe their own feelings, thoughts, and sensations without judgement or shame. People begin to notice themselves.
- Interpersonal effectiveness – teaches people how to form many different relationships in a number of contexts, such as acquaintances, professional connections, deep friendships, romantic relationships, and more.
- Emotional regulation – teaches people how to feel deeply and maintain control of their actions at the same time.
- Distress tolerance – teaches people healthy ways to deal with life’s inevitable hardships, setbacks, disappointments, and more.
Therapy for Borderline Personality at Thriveworks Philadelphia
If you have Borderline Personality Disorder or if you think that you may have it, consider reaching out. Thriveworks Philadelphia offer treatment for BPD, and we have appointments available. When you contact our office, one of our scheduling specialist (e.g., a real person) will answer your call and help you make an appointment. New clients often meet with their therapist within 24 hours of their first call. We accept many different forms of insurance, and we offer evening and weekend appointments. Call today.