Kanye West has been extremely vocal about his experience with mental illness and, now, Kim Kardashian West's quotes about Kanye West's bipolar disorder shed light upon how his bipolar diagnosis has affected his wife. In her May 2019 Vogue cover story, Kardashian West got candid about how she and Kanye have coped with his diagnosis as a couple.
Last summer, West shared that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Then, during an October 2018 visit to the Oval Office, Vogue reports that he told President Trump that he was actually just suffering from sleep deprivation and the bipolar diagnosis was a mistake.
In her cover story, Kim says Kanye has since accepted his diagnosis. “I think we’re in a pretty good place with it now,” she told Vogue reporter Jonathan Van Meter. “It is an emotional process, for sure. Right now everything is really calm. But we can definitely feel episodes coming, and we know how to handle them." She also notes that it's now her husband's mission to show people it's possible to live a "normal life" with mental illness.
Kim told Vogue that her husband is not taking medication for his bipolar disorder. “For him, being on medication is not really an option, because it just changes who he is," Kim explained. "Traveling a lot does set it off, so he doesn’t travel as much as he used to. But honestly, I never want to speak for him, because I am not in his mind. But I think some of the hurtful things that I read online .... What is she doing? She’s not stopping him .... Like it’s my fault if he does or says something that they don’t agree with? That’s my husband. I share every opinion that I have and let him know when I think something’s wrong. Or if it comes to him being in the middle of a bipolar episode, I’ll do everything to be supportive and help to calm the situation.”
Psychotherapist Dr. Kathryn Smerling, who has not treated Kanye West, tells Elite Daily that Kim's interview leads her to believe that the couple's strategy for managing Kanye's bipolar disorder may be working well for them. "One of the trickiest things about BPD [bipolar disorder] is that a partner feels as though the rage is their fault, mainly because it is directed at them," Smerling tells Elite Daily. "But in this case, it seems as though Kim knows herself and has a clear understanding of BPD and the fact that it's the disorder talking — not her husband. If Kim is able to act in a neutral way, it will help to diffuse a tense situation."
"Kim is aware of the signs that an episode is coming," she continues. "And as a result she can prepare herself, her family, and perhaps Kanye as well."
Dr. Jenny Taitz, clinical psychologist and author of How to Be Single and Happy, adds that Kim could even be doing her part to help Kanye just by choosing to talk about his illness publicly in this interview. "When someone is struggling with mental health, it's crucial to have an empathic and nonjudgmental partner," she explains. "Each person is unique and some prefer total privacy, for their loved ones to not speak about diagnoses. Others appreciate a partner speaking out in a way that empowers them. If Kanye is looking for someone to explain what he's going through, it seems as though Kim is doing her best to help."
My favorite part of this interview, personally, is that Kim is helping to break the stigma by opening the conversation about mental illness. Mental illness is more common than you might think (about one in five American adults experiences mental illness each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness) and there's no sense in keeping it a secret. Let's open up these conversations and start getting serious about supporting one another.