Mandatory Mental Health: Kim Kardashian West Asks Media For ‘Compassion and Empathy’ Regarding Kanye’s Bipolar Disorder (Here Are Some Ways to Do That)
We love picking on Kanye West just as much as the next media outlet, but Kim Kardashian West’s recent plea on Instagram is making us feel a little bit like jerks. On the social media platform, Mrs. West addressed her rapper husband’s bipolar disorder and asked for “compassion and empathy.”
The post appears to have been removed, so here’s her full statement:
As many of you know, Kanye has bi-polar disorder. Anyone who has this or has a loved one in their life who does, knows how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand. I’ve never spoken publicly about how this has affected us at home because I am very protective of our children and Kanye’s right to privacy when it comes to his health. But today, I feel like I should comment on it because of the stigma and misconceptions around mental health.
Those that understand mental illness or even compulsive behavior know that the family is powerless unless the member is a minor. People who are unaware of, or far removed from this experience can be judgemental and not understand that the individual themselves have to engage in the process of getting help no matter how hard family and friends try.
I understand Kanye is subject to criticism because he is a public figure and his actions at times can cause strong opinions and emotions. He is a brilliant but complicated person, who on top of the pressures of being an artist and a black man, who experienced the painful loss of his mother, has to deal with the pressure and isolation that is heightened by his bi-polar disorder. Those who are close with Kanye know his heart and understand his words sometimes do not align with his intentions.
Living with bi-polar 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.
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. I kindly ask that the media and public give us the compassion and empathy that is needed so that we can get through this. Thank you for those who have expressed concern for Kanye’s well being and for your understanding. With love and gratitude, Kim Kardashian West.
So how do you show compassion and empathy for someone with mental illness? Here are a few ideas.
Cover Photos: Rich Fury/VF20 / Contributor (Getty Images)
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If you’ve never had a mental illness, it can be hard to comprehend how deeply it can affect a person’s functioning. There’s a plethora of books, podcasts, and documentaries about mental illness available out there, so get Googling and educate yourself.
Talk about it.
Dragging this dark stuff out into the light is the only way to reduce its power over us. Don't be afraid to start a conversation about mental health.
People struggling with mental health issues get stuck in their heads a lot. Sometimes, an attentive listener is the best medicine.
Don’t say “He’s bipolar” or “She’s schizophrenic.” Use people-centered language instead, like “He has bipolar disorder” or “She has schizophrenia.”
If you know someone who’s really struggling, there’s no harm in offering a recommendation for a therapist, rehabilitation program, or other professional or service you think might be helpful. But also know that those who have experienced mental illness for a long period of time have probably already tried it, so don’t be offended if they don’t take you up on your suggestion.
Don't judge their treatment plan.
Some people need medication to stay mentally healthy. Others have to see a therapist weekly. Some take 20 minutes every day to meditate. Others need in-patient care. Unless they're a threat to themselves or others, trust that the person with mental health issues knows what they need to stay balanced. Don’t judge their treatment plan.
Mental illness manifests differently for everyone.
Though mental illness diagnoses are defined by their symptoms, one person’s experience of depression or anxiety is going to be different than another person’s. There’s no template for how mental illness plays out in an individual’s life, and healing modalities are going to be unique to each person, too.
Remember that they’re doing the best they can.
Living with mental illness makes life that much more difficult. Even little things, like returning phone calls, paying bills on time, or staying on task at work can be onerous if someone is experiencing mental illness. For the most part, we’re all just doing the best we can.
Just be a friend.
People are not defined by their diagnoses. Just because someone is suffering from a mental illness doesn’t mean they don’t like to have fun, share a meal, take a walk, or have a chat. Sometimes just providing your company and a distraction are enough to help someone suffering from mental illness get through the day.
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