What Kanye's Jimmy Kimmel Interview Means to Me as a Wife to a Black, Bipolar Husband


Recently, Serena Williams and Beyoncé spoke very openly about their near-death labor experiences and the ongoing trauma surrounding their high-risk pregnancies. They spoke about how motherhood changed their bodies and about their struggles with postpartum depression (PPD). The transparency of these beautiful black women was so refreshing for me as a survivor of severe preeclampsia and PPD. The more we hear celebrities openly discuss these things, the more normal transparency becomes for the rest of us.

Later in the week, Kanye West appeared on Jimmy Kimmel to discuss his relationship with Donald Trump, his latest studio album, and his TMZ interview. Those issues aside, the openness in which he spoke about his bipolar mania was refreshing.

As the wife of a black man who struggles with the debilitating effects of bipolar disorder, I am truly thankful for Kanye’s transparency.

Listening to him open up about childhood trauma, the loss of his mother, his hospitalization and using music as therapy opens doors for other black men to know it is OK to seek treatment and to seek therapy.

So much of my husband’s mental health treatment has been shrouded in secrecy because of the stigma associated with having bipolar disorder. Black folk tend to “move in silence” when seeking treatment. The impulsiveness. The highs. The lows. The suicidal ideations. The lack of sleep. The recklessness. The hospitalizations. The self-medicating. The need for those with bipolar disorder to be able to talk about their emotions without fear of judgment.

Thank you, Yeezus; Kanye is beginning to talk about how the residual impact of bipolar disorder interrupts every aspect of his life. Thank you for talking about how Kim Kardashian and friends like John Legend continue to support his self-care. Thank Yeezus for addressing how you’re still struggling to find “the old Ye.“

In the black community, talking about mental health issues tends to be shunned; especially for black men. Black men are expected to be providers. To be the backbone of the family. To be mentally and physically strong at all times. Seeking mental health treatment is often viewed as a sign of weakness, when in fact therapy is vital to self-care. There is such a stigma in the black community surrounding mental health; this keeps our men from seeking treatment and this must come to an end. Listening to Kanye talk to Jimmy Kimmel about living our best lives, cultural expectations and how these things are impacted by his mania helps to lift the veil for those of us who love black men who are suffering in silence due to mental illness. As Kanye suggests, we must take ownership of our mental health and continue to move in love.

Image via YouTube


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Bipolar Disorder

13 'Harmless' Comments That Actually Hurt People With Bipolar Disorder

13 'Harmless' Comments That Actually Hurt People With Bipolar Disorder

It’s common for those who don’t understand bipolar disorder (and any other type of mental health struggle) to say the wrong thing sometimes. Sure, these kinds of comments usually come from a place of ignorance rather than malicious intent, but does that make them OK? Does that mean they hurt any less, or do they [...]
woman with two people either side of her looking down

What My Counseling Professor Got Wrong About My Bipolar Disorder Mania

I am currently in a master’s program studying to be a mental health counselor. I also have several mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder. I took Diagnosis a year ago and didn’t agree with my professor’s perspective on some issues.  I wish I could have spoken up, but if she knew I had mental illnesses she wouldn’t view [...]
two people holding hands in front of large tree

9 Ways to Best Support Someone With Bipolar Disorder

It’s important to have a support system, but sometimes it can be difficult for those we love to know how best to support us. They want to help but sometimes go about it in the wrong way, or aren’t sure how to go about it at all. For each of us with chronic conditions, there [...]
Mother comforting crying child

3 Tips to Help Your Child With Additional Needs Cope While You Travel for Work

The last five years, I have done quite a bit of traveling for work requiring me to be away from my family for various periods of time. Traveling is something I immensely enjoy and one of the reasons I accepted my last two professional positions. It can get hard and exhausting, but I appreciate the [...]