Everything Pete Davidson Has Said About His BPD Diagnosis

The following article includes discussions of mental illness and suicide.

Pete Davidson has always been unabashedly honest when it comes to his mental and physical illnesses.

In 2016, Davidson revealed his Crohn's disease diagnosis, an autoimmune disorder in which parts of the digestive system become inflamed (via People). He's also been very candid about his depression, telling Charlamagne Tha God in 2020: "I'm always depressed, all the time. I have to constantly bring myself out of it. I wake up depressed, but now I know my steps. I have to go outside and be in sun ... or go for a walk. It's all just programming yourself to trick your brain" (via YouTube).

Davidson's candidness about his mental health struggles is a breath of fresh air, especially in a society where mental illness can still feel like a taboo topic. In addition to being honest about his depression, he's also talked openly about his borderline personality disorder (BPD). According to the Mayo Clinic, BPD is a mental health condition that changes the way a person thinks about and relates to themself and other people. This can make it difficult for those with BDP to function well in their daily lives. As a result, they may deal with mood swings, erratic behavior, low self-esteem, and tumultuous relationships.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

On what his diagnosis meant to him

Because BPD can lead to suicidal ideation, when Davidson got his diagnosis, it was a saving grace.

"I got diagnosed with BPD a few years ago [in 2017] ... I was always just so confused all the time ... thought something was wrong and didn't know how to deal with it," Davidson told Glenn Close in an Interview for Variety. "Then, when somebody finally tells you, the weight of the world feels lifted off your shoulders. You feel so much better."

In 2017, he brought up his BPD diagnosis on "Saturday Night Live."

"As some of you know, I was recently diagnosed with borderline personality disorder ... If you think you're depressed, see a doctor and talk to them about medication ... And finally, if you're in the cast of a late-night comedy show, it might help if they, you know, do more of your sketches," Davidson joked during a "Weekend Update" segment.

Sadly, with Davidson's openness came bullying. In a now-deleted Instagram post from December 2018, Davidson wrote, "I've been getting online bullied and in public by people for 9 months. I've spoken about BPD and being suicidal publicly only in the hopes that it will help bring awareness and help kids like myself who don't want to be on this earth... No matter how hard the internet or anyone tries to make me kill myself. I won't. I'm upset I even have to say this" (via NBC News).

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

On the symptoms that come with BPD

The emotional instability caused by BDP can lead sufferers to experience uncontrollable anger, fear of abandonment and acts to prevent abandonment, feelings of intense loneliness, and self-destructive behavior (via John Hopkins Medicine). This has certainly been the case for Davidson, who suffered personal trauma that exacerbated these symptoms. Davidson's father was one of the 343 New York City firefighters who died during the terrorist attacks on 9/11 (via Fire Rescue 1).

"My big thing is trust," Davidson told Marc Maron in 2017 on his "WTF" podcast. "One day [my dad] was here, and the next day he's gone. I would have trouble sometimes when my mom would say, 'I'm going out.' When people say they're leaving and coming back, I get a really big fear, like that they're not gonna come back."

During the same interview, Davidson addressed the rage that comes with BPD.

"I started having these mental breakdowns, where I would like to freak out. Rage. And then not remember what happened after... Later on, I would remember it in pictures kind of, and like, kind of remember it like in a fog. I wouldn't know what happened until after I broke something or after I 'came to.'"

Davidson also opened up about the manipulation that some with BPD are capable of exhibiting.

"I think the manipulation thing I definitely had, where I would try to make someone feel a certain type of way," he told Maron. "And then if they felt that way, I would feel good, and then if they didn't feel that way, I would think something's wrong and that they're mad at me. So with words, I would try to sway people into saying the exact thing I needed to hear."

On being in a relationship with BPD

No matter what type of mental health issues someone has, relationships can be difficult. With borderline personality disorder, emotions are so strong and erratic that trying to maintain a relationship can be trying. Those with the condition feel rejection deeper than those who don't have BPD, and their mood swings can go in all directions (via Medical News Today).

Davidson has a lengthy relationship history, but none of these partnerships have lasted very long. When he started dating Ariana Grande, who he would eventually get engaged to, the bullying Davidson received was so bad that he posted a response in one of his Instagram stories in May of 2018.

"Normally I wouldn't comment on something like this 'cause, like, f*** you. I [have] been hearing a lot of 'people with BPD can't be in relationships' talk. I just wanna let you know that's not true. Just because someone has a mental illness does not mean they can't be happy and in a relationship. It also doesn't mean that person makes the relationship toxic. Everybody is different and there are a lot of treatments for mental illnesses and I have done/am doing all of them... For all those struggling, I want you to know that I love you, and I understand you, and it is going to be OK" (via The Mighty).

Although Davidson has been so honest about his struggles with BPD, it's important to realize that he, like everyone with a mental illness, is so much more than his diagnosis. He appears to be a talented, sweet, down-to-earth guy with a bright future in front of him. That's what we should think of when we think of Pete Davidson.