One of my greatest fears is losing my mind.
Witnessing a person become someone you don’t recognize because they have no control over their mind, and their actions are horrifying. You feel scared and hopeless.
My mother is bi-polar, and I know it well. This affliction can overwhelm and destroy families and relationships. As a loved one, it forces you to do things against a person’s will because they are a danger to themselves and others. You never want to be in a position of having to authorize a person being institutionalized against their will. It’s soul breaking.
I am speaking out about this because I want people engrossed in popular culture to make an observation of how differently men and women with mental health disorders are treated.
Remember 2007 when Britney Spears hit her bottom? She was taken into custody on a 5150 hold and had everything seized. She was shamed because of erratic behavior, she lost custody of her children and became a mockery. Britney was manic and was struggling with an undiagnosed mental health disorder. Sadly, it took her years to get medicated, healthy, back to entertaining, seeing her children, and doing what she loved. But through all of that, she never regained her independence or respect for her contribution to the arts because her father became her conservator. No control over her wages she rightfully earned, even 13 years later.
Now fast forward to Kanye West. A man who was deeply impacted by the trauma of a near-death accident and the death of his mother. Many would say these events triggered what has been a litany of manic episodes America has wrongly declared as “genius” in songs, fashion, and publicity. Kanye himself admits his bi-polar diagnosis and claims the medication stifles his creativity. But not once has Mr. West been taken into custody, held against his will, or been isolated from his family, children, or finances. If anything, his mania has been highlighted in the Oval Office and now on his own campaign trail.
See the difference?
This inequality in mental health is evident and on display today. Kanye is midst manic episodes while Britney is struggling and having attention drawn to her situation via Instagram. This may be the one time Americans wrapped up in celebrities can see for themselves the inequity of women and men with mental health disorders.