Pete Davidson Talking About His Mental Health Struggles On 'SNL' Was A Huge Step In Raising Awareness
Last month, Saturday Night Live's Pete Davidson said that he had been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, a form of depression. While mental health is a serious topic and one that should be approached with compassion, that doesn't mean people with mental illnesses can't use humor to help raise awareness. In fact, on this Saturday's sketch on "Weekend Update," Davidson talked about his mental health struggles on SNL in the most epic way.
Sitting down with Colin Jost, he began by explaining that BPD is a personality disorder often linked to depression. (Depression and BPD are two different things, but it's rare that BPD exists without depression.) He offered some advice to people who think they might be depressed. He said, according to People, as himself:
Depression affects more than 16 million people in this country and there’s no cure, per se. But for anyone dealing with it, there are treatments that can help. 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.
All good tips, right? He added, "Finally, if you’re in the cast of a late-night comedy show, it might help if they, you know, do more of your comedy sketches."
When Jost asked him to explain whether he was depressed because he wasn't getting enough airtime, Davidson explained. "No, I was born depressed. This would just make me feel better."
He then continued, joking that he has great sketch ideas but needed Jost to write them for him, "I'm depressed," he said. Davidson took the joke even further by saying that Lorne Michaels said his sketches were no good because they're written by a depressed person. Davidson then brought out a "note" from his doctor:
To whom it may concern: Please use Pete in more sketches where he gets to kiss the host, and use more of his rap videos which I hear are actually really good... Also: He should play Rex Tillerson a lot. Signed, Pete Davidson’s Doctor.
People really responded to the sketch and how open Davidson was about BPD, making it something that people could laugh about. Sometimes, finding the comedy in the things people never talk about is just the trick.
Here's how Twitter reacted:
It's so important to raise awareness and talk about depression or any mental health illness, since silence can be so isolating. Having a personality disorder or a diagnosed mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. Davidson was on Marc Maron's WTF Podcast earlier this year and opened up about he got his diagnosis, saying that he used to smoke a lot of pot, "since forever."
Davidson explained on the podcast, "Around October [or] September last year, I started having these mental breakdowns where I would, like, freak out and then not remember what happened after. Blind rage.” He thought the breakdowns were due to using marijuana, so he checked himself into rehab in December. It was there that the doctors suggested he might be bipolar, according to Vanity Fair.
Doctors then put him on medication, according to Vanity Fair, but when he got out of rehab he started smoking weed again. In February, he told Maron, he "just snapped" and had a "really bad" breakdown. He cut out pot altogether and stuck to just meds, noting that it was the first time in eight years he was completely sober, according to People. For him, it seems that whatever he's doing is working.
And obviously feeling pretty good, if he's able to go on air and turn the whole thing into a sketch. While pleading for more airtime from Lorne, he joked, "The show is like eight hours long, and there’s like 50 sketches a week. It seems weird you wouldn’t use one of them to fight mental illness, but I guess that’s not your style.”
But the jokes on Lorne, then, since this sketch was just what the doctor ordered for mental health awareness. And considering the response it got and how much good this kind of awareness can do, hopefully, there's more where that one came from.
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