Bipolar Disorder - Inside the mind of Kanye West

At Man Behind The Mirror we review and discuss a wide range of topics such as mental health. In this article, we discuss bipolar disorder, a topic that has gained national interest in recent days with respect to Kayne West and his run for President.

What happened to Kayne?

Kayne is a global megastar. He’s a successful rapper, producer and designer, married to the world’s preeminent reality TV star.

On the 4th July, US Independence Day, he announced that he would run for President.

Later, on 29th July, at a presidential campaign rally in South Carolina, he sported a bulletproof vest and had “2020” shaved into his hair.

The artist gave an emotional and, at times, hysterical speech and revealed intimate personal details to the crowd. He later erratically posted messages on Twitter which were quickly deleted.

This behaviour drew attention to Kayne’s bi-polar disorder, a diagnosis he made public back in 2017.

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What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is defined by dramatic shifts in a person’s mood, energy and ability to think clearly.

There are different types of bipolar, the most common of which are Type I and Type II.

Those with Type I experience periods of manic highs and depressive lows.

Type II is different as those that experience it have milder manic episodes that last for a shorter period of time, whilst they correspondingly have more severe and prolonged depressive periods.

It's believed that Kayne's run for President has been triggered by a manic episode.

During a manic episode, those with bipolar disorder can feel euphoric and have lots of energy, ambitious plans and ideas.

Manic moods are also characterised by an outsized sense of self-confidence which can lead to erratic behaviour including “jumping from one idea to another” and “irritability”.

Up to one in every 100 UK adults will be diagnosed with the condition at some point in their life.

What could have triggered Kanye’s recent behaviour?

Whilst the exact causes of bi-polar disorder are still being researched, genetics as well as an exposure to traumatic events are believed to contribute.

Traumatic events can include the death of a loved one. 

It’s been speculated that Kanye's recent episode could have been brought on by the birthday of his late mother.

She passed away in 2007 whilst undergoing plastic surgery. On the 12th July, she would have been 71.

How is bi-polar disorder treated?

There are a number of treatments available.

Doctors usually treat bipolar disorder with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. The medication includes mood stabilisers taken daily to prevent episodes of mania and depression.

These treatments are effective in reducing the duration of the manic and depressive episodes, but do not prevent them entirely.

Whilst someone is experiencing these episodes, it's our responsibility as family, friends and member of the community to endevour to be as supportive as we possibly can be.

As Kim Kardashian recently wrote;

"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… That is part of his genius and as we have all witnessed, many of his big dreams have come true."

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If you recognise these symptoms either in yourself, or a family member or friend, we encourage you to have an open conversation. You should also reach out to your GP, who is knowledgeable in these areas, and can listen, advise and support you.

If you have any follow-up questions don't hesitate to contact us at help@manbehindthemirror.co.uk

Written by Matthew Sweeney, Co-Founder