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I am Kanye West

by Deborah Cruz

Kanye West is in the middle of what appears to me to be a shit storm of a manic episode and I should know because I’ve lived through my own fair share of shit storms of manic episodes. They’re not pretty and coming out of one is the worst part. It’s like being held hostage while your mind spins out of control and explodes all of your relationships. Surviving marriage with a bipolar partner is one of the hardest things anyone can experience. Of course, I never had my manic episodes in full view of the public. I was never a celebrity and thank God for that because what an asshole I was. I am Kanye West.

Bipolar is a mental illness. I don’t even know how to accurately describe it as I’ve only ever known it from the inside out. When I’m non-episodic, I can look back with a clear vision and see the outrageousness of the manic me but in the throes of it, I couldn’t recognize it if you paid me. This is why the Big Guy and I have a system in place.

He doesn’t blame every bad mood on my bipolar 1 and I don’t get away with bad behavior because I have a diagnosis. We both know that when I’m flying high, the last thing you can do is try to reason me down, so when/if I have a full manic episode, he’s my rock to keep me grounded. He agrees to be my reality check and I agree to give him that power. It’s the greatest trust you can give to anyone else. This is surviving marriage with a bipolar partner. You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you all of this. There is a point.

I’ve seen what Kim and Kanye are going through. More importantly, I see what Kim is going through. It breaks my heart because I’ve been Kanye. I’m telling you this because I read Kim Kardashian’s Insta Stories posts and they got in my head and in my heart. You see, I’ve been watching Kanye and I see myself. I’ve been him. This is mania. Mania is a gift and a curse. It’s like having wings; you feel invincible. You just keep rising higher and higher until no one can touch you. And then, just as suddenly and unexpectedly, you come crashing down in one of 2 ways, you either fall into a pit of despair and depression or (like me) you get stuck on “ON” and you can’t stop and your body gets exhausted but your mind won’t turn off and you are trapped in a mind and body at war and you’re the hostage. It is exhausting, it’s irritating and in the end, it’s terrifying to never be able to turn off your on switch.

READ ALSO: How my diagnosis saved me

You’re asking yourself, why not take medicine? If only it were that easy. We’d all be chemically balanced. Well, I did take medicine and many years of behavioral therapy because after accepting your illness, you have to learn to live with it. But it’s not easy figuring out the drug cocktail to a definitely not one size fits all mental illness.

If you do get the right drugs, you have to get the right amounts and you have to constantly monitor for changing moods and chemicals. Think of it as having an imaginary balance scale that you’re constantly needing to adjust so that you don’t chemically topple in one way or the other. On top of all of that, you have to be cognizant that your actions can be catastrophic to the people you love. It’s a lot especially when we are usually known for our creativity, so we’re assholes from the beginning.

It’s like being Icarus, you go so high you touch the sun, you get burned, catch fire and turn to ash and the world watches on. You watch on, held captive by your manic mind, only to come down to be confronted by all the destruction you caused while eclipsing the sun.I went through the worst of mine as a college student and newlywed before I had kids and before I lived my life online.  Still, even without kids, for the Big Guy surviving marriage to a bipolar partner was almost impossible. Our marriage would not have survived if I hadn’t gotten help.

I am Kanye West

Kanye has had to live his Bipolar episodes under the scrutiny of the public eye and I would not wish that on my worst enemy. Anyways, back to why I am writing this, Kim Kardashian. She wrote some powerful words about the disease. Words that only a person whose been through it or watched someone they love descend into madness could write.

 Surviving Marriage with a Bipolar Partner, I am Kanye West, bipolar disorder, mania, Kim Kardashian

Kim’s words of love and compassion are a true commentary on what it’s like loving someone with bipolar. It’s brutal. Like seriously fucking hard. My husband, I don’t know how he stayed but I’m glad that he did. I was as difficult as anyone could possibly be. I had no boundaries and no respect for consequences. If you know me now, you wouldn’t think that about me but I am who I am because I went through what I went through to become who I am.

Surviving Marriage with a Bipolar Partner, I am Kanye West, bipolar disorder, mania, Kim Kardashian

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Surviving Marriage with a Bipolar Partner, I am Kanye West, bipolar disorder, mania, Kim Kardashian

So when I say that Kanye is acting crazy, it’s not an insult. It’s not me being flip about mental illness, which I think some people thought that from a post I put n Facebook. I forget that not everyone knows my business. I’ve written about it quite a few times on here and I guess I take it for granted that everyone’s a fan.

It’s me recognizing my illness in someone else, having compassion and empathy for Kanye. Hoping that his marriage can weather this storm because of all the things we are forced to sacrifice to our illness, our partnerships shouldn’t have to be one of them. It’s rooting for him to come through this on the other side without damaging too many relationships or ruining his career.

Kim deserves to know the road map for surviving marriage with a bipolar partner.

The thing with mania is when we’re manic, we don’t think beyond the moment. We’re not capable. It’s a very id serving illness and you can’t tell us any different because we can’t be reasoned with because we are not in a rational state of mind. This is not a choice we make. Honestly, the recklessness is something that comes along with the mania and drags us along for the ride. The easiest way to recognize someone with bipolar is reckless behavior. It’s a red flag. Pressured speech. CHECK. Speeding. CHECK. Spending a lot of money. CHECK. Insomnia. CHECK. From the outside, I was fun on steroids and then I was hell on wheels. There was never an in-between for me. I was all or nothing and it ruined relationships, friendships and opportunities.

READ ALSO: Carrie Fisher the Warrior Princess who gave me hope

Now, I live in the in-between with slight ticks up and falls down but nothing like before I was diagnosed. It’s still hard. There is no cure. You learn to live in the in-between. I have moments when I can feel the mania coming on but I don’t give myself over to it anymore. Instead, I hold on and I do whatever I can do in my power to minimize damage and destruction to my life, to my family and to the person I am today.  The luxury of just riding the wave and feeling it all isn’t an option because the price is too high. I say all this with the clarity of education, therapy, wisdom and experience because I’ve been living with this illness most of my life but diagnosed for the past 20.

My diagnosis did not scare me. Hope is in accepting the broken. Relief came in knowing. Ready to embrace the disease by the time I received it because I was so weary from surviving it. I read everything I could to learn more; immersing myself in understanding. Giving myself forgiveness and grace because it was the only way to move forward and separate myself from the disease was the only thing to do. Otherwise, the shame spiral would have been too much to overcome.

We all do things that we otherwise wouldn’t, especially when chemically imbalanced. We have no control before we know what the problem is, we accept it as it is who we are. Just because we are bipolar doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to be loved. But it’s not easy to love us. We’re difficult even on our good days. I am Kanye West and this is what surviving marriage with a bipolar partner looks like.

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Elaine West 2020/08/02 - 11:21 am

Thank you for sharing so openly about this. My husband was married to someone who is bipolar, before we married. She was not willing to get the help when they were together and so he had to make the hard to decision to save himself and his kids. Good on you for doing the work and managing it the best you can and living your beat life!

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