American rapper Kanye West’s struggle with bipolar disorder was in the spotlight once again as he delivered an incoherent speech at his first rally as a presidential candidate. Talking about his struggle with bipolar disorder West broke down in tears as he revealed how he had wanted his daughter to be aborted.
West was at the receiving end for some of his comments, especially for the ones directed at historical figure Harriet Tubman. He accused Tubman for encouraging slavery. She, as West commented, “… never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people.”
West also touched upon topics like religion, abortion, and international trade and licensing deals. While demanding legal node for abortion, he advocated for financial help for pregnant women as a possible solution to discourage abortion. “Everybody that has a baby gets a million dollars,” he said in his speech.
Kim Kardashian supports West
Though the presidential candidate might have received some backlash for his debut speech and subsequent tweets, his wife Kim Kardashian stood up in his support. Breaking her silence about West’s struggle with bipolar disorder, Kardashian posted her thoughts through her Instagram stories. “Those who are close with Kanye know his heart and understand his words sometimes do not align with his intentions,” she posted.
Kardashian further wrote that she had been earlier avoiding commenting on West’s mental health to protect their children and West’s right to privacy. But now, she had to come up in his support to address the stigma and misconceptions attached to bipolar disorder and other mental health problems.
Kim added, “I understand Kanye is subject to criticism because he is a public figure and his actions at times can cause strong opinions and emotions. He is a brilliant but complicated person who on top of the pressures of being an artist and a black man, who experienced the painful loss of his mother, and has to deal with the pressure and isolation that is heightened by his bipolar disorder.”
Understanding bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder is typically characterized by severe mood swings ranging from depression to mania. People living with this condition are highly unpredictable as they are vulnerable to oscillating mood changes.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), nearly 2.8 percent of U.S. adults (estimated 7 million) suffer from bipolar disorder every year. Usually, symptoms of bipolar disorder become clearly visible during early adulthood or late adolescence (teen years). However, in some cases, the symptoms may be observed in children also. While a number of patients report frequent switching between distinct manic or depressed moods, others may not experience them for extended periods, lasting years.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be segregated into two major phases:
- and manic
The depression phase is indicated by symptoms such as feelings of sadness or worry, lack of energy, difficulty in getting out of bed, eating too much or too little, losing focus, problem remembering things, irregular sleep patterns, and suicide ideation or death. Mania represents rapid changes in moods, making the person feel irritated, behave unpredictably and suffer impaired judgment. During mania episodes, people may display impulsiveness, make reckless decisions and take unusual risks
Dealing with bipolar disorder
While bipolar disorder is treatable, therapy and medication may continue throughout life. Following a prescribed treatment plan can help people living with bipolar disorder manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. In addition to treatment and the right medication, they also need emotional support of their family and friends to continue living a normal life.
Here are a few suggestions for the family and friends of people living with bipolar disorder. Following these tips can help them take better care of their loved ones.
Having empathy: To be able to take care of people living with bipolar disorder, it is important to understand what they are feeling. Meet their doctors and understand from them the mental state of the person struggling with bipolar disorder. This might help the caregiver provide effective care to the person living with the problem.
Listening patiently: People with bipolar disorder are expected to display contrasting emotions at one time. There would be times when one may not be in a position to pay attention to what the bipolar patient may have to say. However, they need to display patience and acknowledge the patient to give them a sense of security and being cared for.
Adhering to the treatment plan: Adherence to the treatment plan is the key to a successful treatment outcome. Sometimes it may become difficult to administer the prescribed dose to the patients. But, giving up may lead to worsening of symptoms. Stay calm and encourage them to follow the treatment plan. With the pandemic raging around, it may be hard to see a doctor physically but you can make arrangements for online consultations.
Keeping an eye on their symptoms: Caregivers of bipolar patients need to keep a close eye on the patients so that they are able to tell when the symptoms of bipolar start worsening. Ideally, they should spend some time with a doctor to understand the symptoms, of both depression and mania.
Keeping them engaged: Usually, people suffering from mental illnesses isolate themselves from the society. When this happens, it is imperative that the caregiver encourages the patient to participate in day-to-day activities. They can play games, go for a walk, watch a movie the patient enjoys or cook together. The idea is to engage them and make them feel that they belong.
Taking care of oneself: To be able to take care of a bipolar patient, one needs to be healthy as well. Therefore, while one takes care of their loved ones with complete dedication, they should also spare some time for their own well-being.
The road ahead
Mental health disorders can affect anyone, regardless of their cast, creed and economic status. While, it is difficult for a person suffering from bipolar disorder to manage day-to-day chores, the condition is treatable. A proper diagnosis of the symptoms by a certified mental health therapist can help start the right treatment plan at the earliest.
Medical Concierge, a Gold Seal certified mental health treatment center, provides effective mental health services for mental health disorders like bipolar disorder. Call our 24/7 helpline 877-636-0042 and speak with a representative for queries related to bipolar disorder and its treatment. You can also chat online with our admission counselor who can help you with a free mental health assessment.