Bipolar Baby: Chemical Imbalance Blues

I think I’ve gotten to the core of my problems with Kanye West: He’s a bad representative for people with bipolar disorder. He doesn’t take medicine. Because of his celebrity, he automatically gains credibility he hasn’t earned and doesn’t deserve.

Who knows why he doesn’t take medicine? Maybe he thinks it prevents him from being creative. Maybe he’s afraid medicine will turn him into a zombie and change his brain chemistry forever. Maybe he thinks what he’s doing is working for him and he wants to keep it that way.

Medicine can change the chemistry in your brain. So does television, alcohol, drugs, gambling, food and the little phones we carry everywhere and look into all the time. Those change our brains way worse than a pill every day. Medicine is designed to do that. Medicine won’t halt someone’s creativity anymore than drugs will enhance it. And that thing that’s working so well will eventually stop. Then what?

Many people give up treatment because they tried medicine one time and didn’t like how it made them feel or had a bad reaction. It’s not an exact science. People respond differently to medications.

Mental illness is a chemical disorder in the brain and needs to be treated as best as possible. It’s not just “I’m sad”. You wouldn’t tell a schizophrenic to go out for some exercise and fresh air to fix it. They have a chemical imbalance in the brain. Depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder are different types of chemical imbalances and they all get worse without some sort of treatment.

There is no “happy pill”. If you have personal issues you’re trying to work through, therapy helps. As added support, you can also talk to friends and family, online help groups and spend time in faith if you have one. But at the very core, you are treating a chemical imbalance in your brain and that requires something beyond friends, family, faith and message boards.

Some people think they can self-medicate. I’ve heard multiple people tell me that’s how they deal with depression et al. I wish they had done a cost based analysis on monthly weed intake vs. insurance premiums. Smoking pot will only make you grouchy in the long run because you become dependent on it.

Unfortunately, a major source of frustration comes from navigating the murky swamp  of private insurance which only makes it harder to obtain quality health care. Considering the state of USA, 2019 and the stress it puts on people, it is no surprise that we have a mental health crisis in this country. I support Medicare for all because I think everyone deserves access to important health care, including dental and eye care.

(Unfun fact: did you know you can get arthritis in the eyes? My grandmother has it.)

We seemingly only talk about our country’s mental health problem when there’s a mass shooting and yet we don’t address the millions who are in need of improved care. Private insurance’s high premiums and deductibles should not be a financial moat preventing us from self-preservation and good health. It is long past time to at least attempt a national health model based on the rest of the civilized world.

I took way too much offense at Kanye. However, it is still idiotic to rap over a sample that has the vocal in it even if the vocal is sped up a bit. We have to have some standards.

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