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Pete Davidson's 'Weekend Update' About Kevin Love's Panic Attack Gets Mixed Reactions

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Basketball player Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers has gotten a lot of positive attention this month for an essay he published in The Players’ Tribune called “Everyone Is Going Through Something.” In the piece, he admits he once had a panic attack in the middle of a basketball game, and reminds everyone that “you’re not weird or different for sharing what you’re going through.”

The piece was also the topic of one of “Saturday Night Live’s” Weekend Update segments last Saturday, performed by “SNL” cast member Pete Davidson, who has a history of speaking up about mental health himself. Last September, he revealed on Marc Mahon’s “WTF” podcast he had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Ever since, he’s frequently used his spot on Weekend Update to talk about his experiences with mental health.

But some thought Davidson’s bit — which advised Love to “stay in his lane” when it came to writing about mental health — was unfairly critical of Love’s impact.

There are often mixed feelings when a celebrity opens up about an experience with mental health. While of course, more mental health talk and more vulnerability is never a bad thing, it can leave some feeling like you can only get recognized if you’re well-known — or like less common or more severe mental illnesses get left out of the conversation. In a piece about this very thing, Mighty community member Emily D. said:

I feel conflicted. On one hand, I feel empowered that mental health is being discussed on a larger stage. On the other, it’s not often broken down and only discussed on a surface level. In addition, there’s some issues of romanticizing mental illness, especially anxiety and depression. Overall, it depends on a lot of factors.

Community member Ian S. was a little more critical:

It annoys me, as I think well, why is their mental health taken with overwhelming sympathy and empathy, and mine is taken with a view that I’m just lazy or a benefit scrounger? It doesn’t change people’s perception of mental illness, it just enhances a more endearing approach to the given celebrity. Just my opinion.

Davidson took a similar cynical view in his segment, explaining that while he was glad Love opened up about having a panic attack, he wasn’t that impressed by the essay as a whole.

It’s totally cool that he had a panic attack, but if you’re going to write an article about being unstable, leave it to the big boys, alright? I’m sorry you missed your three-pointer Kev, but I’ve been in therapy since I was 6 years old and I wanted to kill myself when I was 8. Tough news about your rebounds though.

Some felt Davidson meant Love’s panic attack wasn’t a big deal, and therefore having anxiety wasn’t a big deal. “Pete Davidson’s during the Weekend Update making fun of Kevin Love’s anxiety and panic attack disgusted me. Everyone’s mental health matters, no matter the severity,” –>.

Others saw the segment differently. While many celebrities have opened up about anxiety in the past few years, people with borderline personality disorder don’t often see themselves represented in the media,  Some thought Davidson’s comments were relatable, and that brushing off Love’s essay was making a point about how we tend to pay more attention to those whose disorders have become more “acceptable.”

What did you think of Davidson’s segment? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Originally published: March 21, 2018
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