By now, you’ve heard about Kanye West, how he’s going to run for president, how Harriet Tubman did nothing for the slaves, how Kim thought about terminating her first pregnancy, how she tried to get him “locked up”, and everything in between. It’s an absolute shitshow, full-on cringe, and utterly painful to watch. It leaves many people wondering, “How can Kim let him do that? Can’t she do something about it?”
The problem is that she can’t. I should know. Because my ex had mental illness.
My ex was a great guy–at times–but he was also on the autism spectrum and he was bipolar. Now, I have no way of knowing whether it was hereditary or the autism that may have been a factor in his mental issues; I just knew he had them. My ex often spoke of suicide, how he thought about it quite often but never attempted it as he was afraid of death. He would have wild mood swings: one moment, he was elated, the next, he was close to tears. He did things on impulse that left me, as well as the rest of his friends, perplexed.
I remember how we had planned on having a “Cheese Party”, basically a soirée involving terrible movies, Cheetos, and lots of cheese pizza. Think “Mystery Science Theatre 3000” with a theme.
Now, something like this takes time to set up and plan; you have to settle on a date that works for everyone involved, you have to figure out who’s bringing what, you have to choose the right movie, see who’s willing to host it, etc. It’s a decent amount of work.
Quite literally one week after we had suggested this, my ex demanded that we do it. No preparation. No forewarning. Nothing to that effect. We were having it when he said we would, which was on a Saturday.
We were all stunned. This was something that needed planning and he completely refused to read the memo. But he did things like this constantly. Once he had the idea in his head, you couldn’t convince him that he might be wrong.
This steadily got worse as our relationship progressed, until the last year we were together. During that final year, he went manic; his friends were out to “get” him or were suddenly assholes he couldn’t trust. He threatened suicide more than once. He blamed everyone else for any mistakes in his life. When I begged and pleaded with him to get help, he told me that I was crazy. This was all in my head. He was perfectly fine, completely rational.
It was hell. That entire experience is something I wish on no one. It was brutal. I don’t know how I managed to get out without PTSD. For all I know, I didn’t. But it was horrible.
There was also nothing I could do. He was a legal adult. My ex could and did refuse treatment. There was no way to get him help; it would have taken a suicide attempt or a very public meltdown–think Britney Spears–before he could be admitted to a hospital. He’d have to be considered a danger to himself or others before that would happen. I could do nothing.
Less than nothing, actually. We weren’t married, so my input on his mental condition meant nothing. This fell to his family, who was completely dysfunctional. As you can imagine, they did nothing, which exacerbated things.
The only way out for me was the breakup. But I could do nothing for him. As far as I know, he hasn’t gotten any better. If anything, he’s worse. But that will never change.
I’m not a fan of the Kardashians. I never have been. But I feel awful for Kim. She’s living through hell and it’s being broadcast on every channel and published in every magazine. I can’t imagine how awful that is.
But this also isn’t her fault. It never was.