Thank You, Kim Kardashian West, for Humanizing Bipolar Disorder
This story has been published with permission from the author’s husband.
Never in my life did I think I would say this, but I respect Kim Kardashian West the most out of any Hollywood star. You may be wondering, Marie, why do you care about Kim K when you literally hate everything about the ableist society that worships celebrities?
She’s real. She owns her life. There is no facade. Kim Kardashian West is doing it right; I aspire to be like her, as a wife and human. Not as a social media influencer. I really appreciated the statement she released this week commenting on what her husband, Kanye West, is currently going through — I didn’t expect it to hit me in the heart like it did.
As part of her statement, she said:
We as a society talk about giving grace to the issue of mental health as a whole, however we should also give it to the individuals who are living with it in times when they need it the most.
The fact that Kim talked about her husband’s bipolar made me take a look at my own experience and the words have just come out like cyclic vomiting.
Before, I used to judge her because of how she made her career. I’m glad I am not the same person I was; Kim Kardashian West is a wife that I look up to. I don’t look up to other A-listers society worships, never have, never will. Society worships certain celebrities “wit,” but really all I see are ignorant bullies on both sides of the aisle. They are part of the crowd that spews hatred and negative energy into the atmosphere, and that’s all I’ll say about it. You can be empowering and still kind hearted towards everyone you will never meet in real life.
That’s why as a marketing, mental health and disability rights expert, I look up to Kim Kardashian West. I don’t see other celebrities out there with law degrees forming personal relationships with the president to advocate for justice and reform. I don’t see others out there speaking out about the negative energy that social media has created — Kim speaking out about Kanye’s bipolar disorder is a breath of humanity.
With the way some people treated my husband, I can only imagine how Kim feels. You see, my husband also has bipolar disorder. It’s why he is the man he is and why I love him beyond anything I’ve ever known. His bipolar disorder has made him feel invalidated his whole life. He never got the support that he truly needed as he didn’t know he needed it. It was him against the world for a while; that’s not to say he didn’t have family, but anyone who has lived with bipolar disorder or manic depression know how the family dynamic can take a big hit.
There are times when my husband is on top of the world, and five seconds later, the world crashes down without any warning. Over the years, he has learned that I am his other half and that support and unconditional love has done wonders for him. He is going on three years sober, and it is a miracle he is alive today. There was a time in his life he thought he had no future, so he didn’t care what happened to him. Now? He knows he has a future. He has a purpose, and it’s me; his family. He never saw himself being able to trust someone enough to be married, but in a little over a month we will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary.
Once he found someone who understood him, he started to thrive. He now is a full-time college student studying human services, my full-time care taker (I am disabled), entrepreneur and has a full-time job that he just started yesterday.
Just because he’s learned how to live and thrive with bipolar doesn’t mean he is “cured.” This is something my husband lives with and will live with forever. His psyche sees things differently sometimes — knowing that is half the battle. Remembering it during an episode… that’s more of a challenge. I know more than anyone else does when it comes to him. I know why it took him years to be able to work. I know why he lived the way he lived before me. I know why he has anxieties that others would think are unfounded. He was always taken advantage of and always manipulated like I was, which is why I connect with him in such a deep level.
His past dating history is like mine… abusive. He was with the same abuser for years! He didn’t think men could be victims of domestic violence, so he stayed in a toxic relationship he hated because of her gaslighting and abuse. She changed him, but not in a positive way. She made him angry, mean, aggressive and drunk all the time. When he was out working to provide for them, she was home cheating on him. He was lost until he found me. I wasn’t looking for him, I was just as lost as he was.
We had both just left abusive relationships. We were both tired. The first time we hung out I knew I was in trouble — I had just sworn off dating and was OK with being single the rest of my life and out of no where comes this angel. No one else saw him as an angel. They saw him as a bad influence, and a “bad boy.” But I saw the first man to respect me. The first one who wanted to talk to me, who wanted to know me. The first one who was different, I liked how he did not give a flying **** what anyone else thought. The first one to put me above all else.
Once he built up enough confidence within himself, he started to let me in. We became inseparable, as I knew from the beginning that he was the one. I knew it. I saw his soul and it was solid gold; I knew there was a reason behind his “bad boy” image. No person who acts like my husband is a bad person. My husband is the person who takes the clothes off of his back and gives it to a shirtless homeless person in a heatwave to protect them. He’s the type who is taking his past and changing the future with it; he is in school to get a human services degree. He wants to help those who were hopeless like he once was. The best way to reform the system is to have reformed souls controlling and working in the system. He’s already done so much without realizing it, he doesn’t realize just by his actions and his life, he is showing others it is possible to change your situation. He is the one who motivated me to get back into advocacy, and we founded Rare Advocates Representing Everyone; he is the CEO, and I am the “face” and creator of The R.A.R.E. Community.
I hate that he constantly has to wage war with his mind. I hate that he can’t just be at peace and know no matter what I love him and I understand. But like I said before, I know my husband better than anyone else. I know exactly why he is the way he is, but others don’t. They don’t know why he acts like that at times, they don’t realize it’s not about me. It’s about him and the past. They would judge him when that’s not what he needs, and it’s definitely not what I need. I guess that’s why I really needed to see Kim’s statement today. I really needed to be reminded that love is stronger than bipolar disorder.
I really really vibe with Kim Kardashian on a whole new level. It’s easy to judge someone, but hard to know what they deal with. So, thank you Kim. You started the conversation I needed to have with myself, and helped me process a lot of things while I wrote this in response to you.
Lead image via David Shankbone on Flickr