Is Kanye Okay? – Understanding Bipolar Disorder

The last few weeks have been a rollercoaster ride for anyone even remotely involved with US politics or celebrity culture. Kanye announced that he was running for president on July 4th. After that he then had an erratic interview with Forbes magazine claiming he no longer supports Tr*mp, that vaccines are the “mark of the beast“, and that “Planned Parenthoods have been placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil’s work“. Last Monday he held a chaotic campaign speech, in which he jumped from topic to topic and most notably started crying because his father wanted to abort him and revealed that his wife, Kim Kardashian-West, and him were thinking about aborting their first child North West as well. Watching the speech, was really painful since it was so clear to me that he was struggling with issues more complex than I could even imagine.

Kanye suffers from bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, and due to his actions in the last few weeks many believe that he is currently undergoing a manic episode. To understand what Kanye is going through currently we have to understand his disorder first.

Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric condition which causes shifts in mood, energy, and behavior. People with bipolar disorder can go from being in dramatic “highs“ – an elated, manic state to disastrous “lows“, called depressive episodes. These so called „mood episodes“ that a person with bipolar disorder go through, are uncharacteristic of the way the person normally is and they act differently. Nonetheless, the person with the disorder will usually not recognize their behavior-shifts themselves and be aware of the fact that they are going through a manic or depressive episode. The episodes can last from just a day up to weeks depending on what type of bipolar disorder you have (there are three) and it should be noted that most people do not experience the two episodes in equal intensity.

Kanye was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016 and has opened up about it on David Letterman’s show “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction“, claiming his disease sometimes feels like “everyone wants to kill you.” “You feel the government is putting chips in your head. You feel you’re being recorded. You feel all these things. You pretty much don’t trust anyone.”

Kanye’s recent erratic behavior seems to be in line with the symptoms of the “high“ manic periods where a person makes reckless decisions and also suffers from paranoid delusions. Paranoia is only one of the many symptoms of bipolar disorder though.

People that are in the middle of a manic episode often:

– Feel like they are unusually important, talented, or powerful

– Do risky things that show poor judgment, such as eat and drink excessively, spend or give away a lot of money, or have reckless sex

– Think they can do a lot of things at once

– Feel like their thoughts are racing

– Talk very fast about a lot of different things

– Feel very “up,” “high,” elated, or irritable or touchy

I don’t know about you, but that sounds a lot like what Kanye is going through right now to me…

It’s important to realize that although Kanye is probably going through a manic phase currently, his political views are still real and still extremely harmful. He’s been supporting Trump for the last few years and many of the views he harbors have been expressed by him priorly too. Excusing the nasty comments he has made and the skewed view he has on abortions, slavery with the fact that he has bipolar disorder does people with bipolar disorder wrong, as it invalidates their opinions.

Being such a public figure, and having to deal with a manic episode can’t be easy and in many ways the publicity and backlash of it can worsen the condition. In the interview with David Letterman Kanye says his illness is “like having a sprained ankle. And if someone has a sprained ankle, you’re not going to push on him more. With us, once our brain gets to a point of spraining, people do everything to make it worse.”

I think the best thing we can do right now is try to understand what he’s going through with compassion and educate ourselves on it. Let’s just hope for the best for him and pray to god that nobody votes for him. A vote for Kanye is a vote for Trump.

(Also, can we just all agree that it’s whack to blame Kim Kardashian for not coming to collect her mans?? She’s doing her best and dealing with this can’t be easy. He is not her responsibility.)