Pete Davidson is a New Yorker, through and through. He was born and raised there, and now, Pete is a member in one of its iconic institutions: Saturday Night Live. There is another way that Pete’s life is intertwined with New York. As a child, he lost his dad, a firefighter who died on September 11, 2001 when he responded to the attacks on the Twin Towers. Pete has spoken openly about the beauty and the brokenness in his life, and recently, he revealed that he has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. As a comedian, Pete raised awareness about mental health challenges with honesty, vulnerability, and (obviously) jokes. He told Colin Jost on Weekend Update, “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.” While the advice about being on a comedy show may not be universally applicable, the idea of reaching out for help is. Borderline Personality is marked by bringing volatility into people’s lives, but therapy can often help people regain balance and control.
“This heart of mine has just two setting: nothing at all or too much.
There is no in between.”
Thriveworks Woodbridge borderline personality disorder counselors have helped many people fighting the effects of Borderline Personality Disorder. Our therapists have given them the support and structure they needed to live their lives instead of living with the instability of BPD.
Borderline Personality Disorder and Instability
There are ten mental illnesses that The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders groups into the category of “Personality Disorder.” Each is characterized by some maladjusted behavior—that is, a pattern of behavior that does not serve the individual. Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by volatility. That instability can show up in a number of ways, including…
- Living with an abiding and deep fear of abandonment.
- An antagonistic personality: bitter, easily angered, sarcastic, quarrelsome, and more.
- A pattern of fractured personal and professional relationships: often BPD causes people to glorify others at first and then vilify them when they do not live up to expectations.
- Shifting between identities, goals, values, and perceptions easily.
- Moving quickly from emotion to emotion: irritability to euphoria to anxiety to joy to anger and so on.
- Dealing with paranoia—times when one is unable to tell what is real.
- An inability to receive any kind of negative feedback or criticism, even when given constructively and appropriately.
- Experiencing suicide ideation, attempting suicide, self-harming, threatening to hurt oneself (especially as a coping mechanism).
- Living with an abiding and deep feeling of emptiness.
- Taking poorly calculated and needless risks that could seriously harm themselves or others: substance abuse, engaging in unsafe sex, reckless driving, unchecked gambling, and more.
The signs of Borderline Personality Disorder give a clear picture of the harm it can bring into a person’s life. These signs, however, are only part of the story. BPD can also raise the risk that an individual experiences other mental health disorders. It frequently co-occurs with difficult mental health diagnoses like depression, eating disorders, addiction, substance abuse, and self-harm.
In between 1 to 2 percent of adults in the US are diagnosed with BPD. There are not clear reasons as to why Borderline Personality Disorder develops, but there are social, physical, and circumstantial factors that can aid its development. For example, these can increase an individual’s risk of BPD:
- A family history of mental health disorders, especially BPD.
- Experiencing abuse (physical, emotional, and/or sexual) or neglect as a child, particularly if a parent or caregiver perpetrated it.
- A hippocampus (area of the brain that handles emotional regulation and stress response) that is below average size.
- Experience the abandonment by or the death of a caregiver or parent as a child.
Treatment for BPD
Borderline Personality Disorder is a serious mental disorder, but it is also an illness that has treatment. Skilled therapists can tailor interventions to each individual’s needs, but often, treatment plans include Dialectical Behavior Therapy—a form of treatment that was created specifically for BPD. It focuses upon helping people learn key skills for overcoming BPD, skills like…
- Mindfulness helps people notice what is happening in their minds, their emotions, and their bodies. It is the art of paying attention without judgment or shame.
- Emotional regulation is about feeling any emotion that arises without losing control in the process.
- Distress tolerance works on the skills necessary to respond to difficulties with resiliency. Hardship, setbacks, and challenges are normal, and distress tolerance allows people to experience the highs and lows of life without becoming stuck.
- Interpersonal effectiveness seeks to enrich people’s life through helping them make strong relationships across a variety of contexts.
Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder at Thriveworks Woodbridge—Scheduling an Appointment
If you recognized any of the symptoms of BPD, consider reaching out for help. Thriveworks Woodbridge treats BPD, and we have appointments available. When you call to make an appointment, a scheduling specialist will answer (no voicemail!), and help you schedule a session. That appointment may be the following day. We also accept many different insurance plans, and weekend and evening sessions are offered.