For years, I referred to my bipolar disorder as my “superpower.” Granted, I don’t know what a bipolar superhero would look like. He’d probably just drunkenly call his arch-nemesis at 3 a.m. telling him that he loves him and he just wants the fighting to stop.
Near the end of high school, I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 (it’s the only disease with a sequel). I don’t like being bipolar, but if I had the chance to “cure” myself I never would. Wouldn’t even consider it.
I like calling it my superpower because it fuels my creativity. As a comedian and a writer, I credit bipolar disorder as my spark plug. Looking at it any other way would be treating myself like a victim, which is not something I’m interested in. If I’m trapped in this prison of manic instability, I may as well wear my orange jumpsuit like a badge of honor.
But obviously, bipolar disorder is a pain in the ass. It makes me sad. And then happy. And then sad. And then happy. And then hungry. And then horny. But I never cared for advice. A friend once said, “Don't worry, I think everyone is a little bipolar,” which is like walking up to someone who's HIV-positive and saying, “Don’t worry, I think everyone has a little bit of AIDS.”
You learn to embrace your mental illness because it’s a part of you. The only other option is letting it control you. Bipolar episodes come out of nowhere and they destroy your life, like a hurricane or a Rob Schneider movie. So I can either wallow in the misery or look at the positive aspects of my condition and realize that I'm a fuckin' superhero.
That’s why I got goosebumps when I heard Kanye boastfully utter the same words I've been telling myself for years. On “Yikes,” he beats his chest and proclaims that his bipolar disorder is his superpower. “Ain’t no disability, I'm a superhero,” he screeches, before belting out a primal scream that sounded like Gilbert Gottfried stubbing his toe on a coffee table.
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I also loved the corny joke plastered on the album cover: “I hate being Bi-Polar, its awesome,” even though it sounds like something a 12-year-old white girl would post on Tumblr while watching a One Tree Hill marathon.
Music has always been therapy for me, especially Kanye’s music. I’d listen to "Power" to pump myself up for big comedy shows. I’d listen to "Only One" to center myself when life got too loud. The aggressive arrogance on Yeezus helped me power through some traumatic memories I wish I could Eternal Sunshine out of my mind. One time my friend Eva said that her brother was having a mental breakdown and blasting Kanye songs in his room and she referred to it as “pulling a Drew.” Goddammit. Will this be my legacy?!
But the baggage that comes with talking about Kanye has become too heavy to carry. Bipolar disorder doesn’t excuse the Louis Vuitton Don’s baffling support for Spray Tan Hitler™️. Even during my worst bipolar episodes, I never randomly decided that I like Muslim bans and pussy grabbing.
My bipolar disorder also never made me call slavery “a choice” or made me wanna tweet “BILL COSBY INNOCENT” as if 60 women would all tell the same lie just because they were still angry about Ghost Dad.
But I’m a hypocrite. I pulled a total 180 once the album dropped. Last month I was like “Kanye supports Trump? I'm NEVER supporting his music again,” but this past week I've been like “Kanye said he supports Trump?.... I honestly don’t even remember that.”
Kanye and I are both very different dudes. He’s a 40-year-old multimillionaire musician, I'm a young stand-up comic who lives off Top Ramen. He was once best friends with JAY-Z, I'm best friends with a 24-year-old anime fan who thinks wrestling is real. He’s married to Kim Kardashian and I'm married to my left hand. (Don’t worry, guys. I'm joking. I’m right-handed.)
At the end of the day, though, there’s something comforting knowing that Yeezus Christ and I have one thing in common. The man who I've called my favorite musician is stuck on the same emotional roller coaster as me.
Here’s the problem: I’ve seen some fans on social media who AREN’T bipolar, condemning Kanye’s comments and getting offended that he’s “glamorizing” bipolar disorder. Don’t get offended on my behalf. It’s self-righteous and patronizing. There’s no need to be a keyboard activist on this one. Kanye’s comments about bipolar disorder aren’t toxic or degrading. They’re badass.
I strongly disagree with some of the things Kanye has said recently, but for better or worse, we’re both in the same club. And I'm glad he agrees that we should treat this club like the Justice League.