Kanye West Inspired Post

Kanye West had been diagnosed and is living with a Bipolar Disorder (I do not know what type). People who are living with a severe and persistent mental illness like Bipolar also have friends, families, go to church, they have jobs, personalities, and opinions they are human. Kanye is disliked by many for various reasons to include his religious beliefs and political views, and I get it. But to those who are living with the symptoms of bipolar, those who think you may be and family members let me share a few points.  


Coming to accept a diagnosis of a disorder that is so persistent and pervasive like Bipolar can be a process for many people. For some, the process can start with a mandatory hospital admission. During that first hospital stay, they are provided with a diagnosis and, hopefully, information about their diagnosis. While in the hospital, the person will more than likely be given medications and probably some brief mental health counseling. At the time of discharge, the person will leave the hospital with information, a diagnosis, medications, and, hopefully, an appointment with an outpatient Psychiatrist.  


Once at their outpatient appointment, they will, among other things and depending on the location, be asked to complete some paperwork and then be seen at some point by a Psychiatrist (the may see an intake worker and nurse first). Depending on the team, the doctor and his/her depth and understanding as it relates to working with severe and persistent mental illnesses, the medications the person prescribed while they were in the hospital may be adjusted or left the same. The person will receive a follow-up appointment with his or her new outpatient MD.


Note: Not all mental health professionals understand Severe and persistent mental illness. Mental illness is any disease or condition that influences the way a person thinks, feels, behaves, and relates to others and his or her surroundings. Severe and persistent mental illness is defined at the federal level as having, at any time during the past year, a diagnosable mental, behavior, or emotional disorder that causes severe functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. 

Severe and persistent mental illnesses last so long and are so severe that they seriously interfere with a person’s ability to take part in even minor life activities. Even with the use of psychotropic medications, individuals living with a severe and persistent mental illness may never really be free of symptoms. (https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders). Because the symptoms of severe and persistent mental illnesses started when the person was young, it may be difficult at times to determine if the behaviors you are seeing are part of their diagnosis or personality or a combination of both. Some people have been managing symptoms before they realized they had an illness. For example, some adults who are addicted to drugs started using as young adults after discovering that the pills helped to stop the voices they were experiencing.  


The newly diagnosed person should also meet with a mental health counselor (the discipline at this point does not matter) or a peer support specialist. 


What matters is that the person who is living with a Bipolar Disorder meets with people who can help him or her to understand their diagnosis better. It will be necessary for the newly diagnosed person to recognize the symptoms and presentation of their illness so that they can begin to separate the signs of the illness from their real selves. It will be vital for them to understand what living with their disorder will mean for their lives going forward. It will also be important for them to have a conversation around crisis management and relapse prevention. Learning to live their lives while taking medications for symptoms that they have grown used to living with, coping with depression, and engaging with other people who are in recovery are all strategies that will help them on their journey. Living with a disorder is a process that will require understanding, education, and patience.