If there was someone who captured the headlines and made it to the controversy list throughout July, it has to be Kanye West. He announced his presidential candidacy for the 2020 elections and even went on to conduct his first Presidential rally in South Carolina. However, concerns were raised after the rapper/singer suffered a meltdown at the rally and looked devastated.
He promoted anti-abortion ideology and also said that his wife, Kim Kardashian, wanted to abort their first child, North West. The following day saw his breakdown on Twitter where he posted a series of tweets claiming that Kim Kardashian West and her mother, Kris Jenner, tried to lock him up. Although the tweets were deleted later, it sure raised concerns among his fans.
At first, this behavior can be linked to just celebrity things that famous people often do to stay relevant and make it to the headlines. However, scrolling through his Twitter profile would reveal that a series of distressing tweets put that Kanye West was not in control. He was not well.
Kanye was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016, something that he has been quite open about. He has also accepted that he experiences manic episodes that typically include paranoia.
Bipolar Disorder is a neurological brain disease that affects around 3 million Americans. It is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood fluctuations between the highs (manic episodes) and lows (depression). The one who suffers from bipolar disorder often experiences high tides of emotions that they are unable to control. The symptoms of this condition include recklessness, impulsiveness, loss of control, delusions, psychosis, aggression, etc.
Beyond Blue states that although the exact cause of this mental health condition is hard to know, it can be said that genetics and other events can be responsible for triggering it. Any situation of extreme stress, traumatic event, or alcohol/drug abuse can result in this neurological brain disease.
There are two stages of bipolar disorder – the highs and the lows. The former is often called a maniac state which is described as an episode where the patient operates at a high speed. Meaning, they have high energy levels that reflect in their speech and movements. While in this state, the patient can also experience insomnia, irritability, and even hallucinations.
The low state is similar to experiencing an emotional low that causes depression-like symptoms in the patient. While in this state, those suffering lack motivation, and energy to do anything and often shut everyone out of their life.
Kanye West and Bipolar Disorder
Kim wrote in one of her Instagram stories that people who have had bipolar disorder, or if someone around us has suffered from this disease, they know how complicated and painful it is to understand.
During an interview with David Letterman in 2019, Kanye West was quite candid about his mental health. In Letterman’s My Guest Needs No Introduction, West said that he “feels a heightened connection with the universe when I’m ramping up”.
He continued by saying that bipolar disorder is a health issue just like any other disease out there. He said, “this is like a sprained brain, like having a sprained ankle. And if someone has a sprained ankle, you’re not gonna push on him more. With us, once our brain gets to the point of spraining, people do everything to make it worse.”
West also agreed that during this maniac episodes, he suffered from irritability, heightened energy levels, racing thoughts, paranoia, and psychosis. He also added that while in this state, you feel like you can’t trust anyone around. It’s the state when you think you’re being tracked and recorded.
The artist has also taken a different treatment path to manage his bipolar disorder. While he does believe that medications may work for others, he prefers to stay away from it. Kim Kardashian also said that he doesn’t like being on medications because it changes who he is. Kanye West has also slid his mental health issue in his music in the 2018 song Yikes.
Although he has previously spoken about his mental health, the 2018 album Ye made it even more clear about his condition. The album featured a line “I hate being bipolar. It’s awesome.” Later in an interview, West said that he was diagnosed when he was 39, and as he said in the album, having a bipolar disorder is not a disability but a superpower.
His wife, Kim Kardashian West, has also been quite vocal about this issue and has always shown her support for the rapper/singer. She said that she has never spoken about how this has affected them because she is protective of her husband’s right to privacy and about their children. Also, she felt the need to comment on it because of all the misconceptions and stigma around mental health issues.
Kim also said that having an underlying mental health condition doesn’t stop him from pursuing his ambitions. She said that “living with bipolar disorder does not diminish or invalidate his dreams and his creative ideas, no matter how big or unobtainable they may feel to some.”
Doctor’s Take On Kanye’s Mental Health
The recent breakdown of Kanye West in his presidential rally is viewed in the context of his bipolar disorder. Dr. Sally Satel, a psychiatrist told USA Today that Kanye’s actions at the rally were irrational and are linked to his mental health condition.
She said that Kanye is trying to run for president, which is something momentous and is a sure shot symptom of bipolar disorder. Further, she added that grandiosity is a common symptom that makes the patient feel he can do anything.
However, whether or not he runs for president is yet to be seen. Although he did file some paperwork that is necessary to appear on ballots, he has already missed the deadlines for more filings needed for certain states.
Irrespective of everything, it is advisable to view West’s behavior as a mental health concern rather than a celebrity gimmick trying to seek attention. The stigma around mental health is already way too much to block anyone from seeking medical attention. Supporting a celebrity during their battle with a mental disorder can also encourage others to come out and break the chain of hesitancy.
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