Is Kanye West Just a Grandiose, Attention-Seeking Rapper? Psychology Today Article

Is Kanye West Just a Grandiose, Attention-Seeking Rapper?

The difference between bragging and grandiose manic/psychosis.

I write about the different between the grandiose rap persona and the grandiose manic and psychosis symptoms of bipolar disorder in my latest Psychology Today article.

Here’s an excerpt:

“For those who don’t understand bipolar disorder, his behavior appears similar to the bragging grandiosity cultivated in the rapping world. For those of us in the bipolar world, we can easily see the signs of mania and psychosis. How can the general public tell that this is bipolar disorder and not just his rap artist persona looking for publicity and attention?

By understanding the typical patterns of bipolar disorder and how profoundly different manic/psychosis is from the much loved and cultivated bragging of the creative rapper.”

Let’s work together and educate the world about bipolar disorder symptoms.



Kanye West and Grandiose Manic Psychosis in Bipolar Disorder

It’s public knowledge that Kanye West has bipolar disorder. He talks openly about the diagnosis. Bipolar disorder is an ancient, genetic illness that affects a person’s ability to regulate the mood. It is physiological and not psychological and all people with bipolar disorder have the same, episodic mood swings. There are three main mood swings in bipolar disorder: depression, mania and a mixed episode called dysphoric mania where a person is depressed and manic at the same time. The majority of people with bipolar disorder also experience anxiety and many become psychotic during strong episodes.  When someone with Kanye’s talent and flair has a bipolar episode, it’s easy for the general public to confuse his behavior with the typical grandiose rap persona, cultivated since the beginning of the industry. In this essay, I show the difference between grandiose rap lyrics and the bipolar disorder thinking and speaking shown by Kanye when he is in an episode. 

Kanye is like anyone with bipolar disorder who is not getting effective treatment. It’s a relentless illness that doesn’t ease as one gets older, especially if a person doesn’t have a daily management plan to deal with mood swings.  Kanye follows the typical bipolar disorder pattern. He gets sick, gets some help, doesn’t keep going with the plan and then get sicks again. He is normal within the bipolar world.

Over the past years, he does well for a while and can be a family man and artist/creator. As a new manic episode begins, he interacts with the press more and more. As the mania increases and he becomes more psychotic, he starts to make manic/ psychotic statements. It’s the same every time for him and has been the same for people with bipolar over thousands of years. It’s the patter of a full blown manic/psychotic episode.

Bipolar disorder is not a personal problem. All of the symptoms are the same in all of us. Anyone who is manic and psychotic acts like Kanye is acting.

But how can we tell that this is bipolar disorder and not just his rap artist persona looking for publicity and attention? We can come to a conclusion by understanding the typical patterns of bipolar disorder and how profoundly different manic psychosis is from the much loved and cultivated bragging of the creative rapper.

What is the Difference between Grandiose Rap and Grandiose Mania and Psychosis? 

I love and have followed rap since the 80s. Being grandiose in the rap world is absolutely normal, but it always makes sense in the context of the person’s life or in the nature of the rap. Here are a few examples from some of the best braggers in the rap world:

🎶 L.L. Cool J in Mama Said Knock You Out

Don’t call it a comeback
I’ve been here for years
I’m rocking my peers
Puttin’ suckers in fear

🎶 Eminem in The Ringer

Yeah, let me explain just how to make greatness
Straight out the gate, I’m ’bout to break you down
Ain’t no mistakes allowed, but make no mistake I’m ’bout
To rape the alphabet, I may raise some brows
If I press the issue just to get the anger out (brrr)
Full magazine could take Staples out

🎶 Public Enemy 

Never badder than bad ’cause the brother is madder than mad
At the fact thats corrupt as a senator
Soul on roll but you treat it like soap on a rope
‘Cause the beats in the lines are so dope

🎶  Kanye when he is well.. and bragging with the best of them….

Cutie the bomb, met her at a beauty salon
With a baby Louis Vuitton under her underarm
She said, “I can tell you rock, I can tell by your charm
“Far as girls, you got a flock”
“I can tell by your charm and your arm”

We might call these lyrics grandiose, but it’s a well thought out lyrical grandiosity that fits the topic and beat of the song. It’s not ranting and it doesn’t make the listener do a double take and say, “What the F did he just say?”

Let’s now look at Kanye’s words that were caught on tape during an SNL show when he was ill and eventually went into the hospital and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

“Are they fucking crazy? [Bro] by 50 percent [I am more influential than] Stanley Kubrick, Picasso, Apostle Paul, fucking Picasso and Escobar. By 50 percent, more influential than any other human being. Don’t fuck with me. Don’t fuck with me. Don’t fuck with me. By 50 percent dead or alive, by 50 percent for the next 1,000 years. Stanley Kubrick, ‘Ye.”

This is called a psychotic word salad. There is no connection to art. There is no beat or purpose. This is not the braggadocio that many of us love in rap.  This is illness.

Afterwards, SNL cast member Pete Davidson made a naive comment about Kanye:

“Being mentally ill is not an excuse to act like a jackass.”

This comment is typical of how people feel.  Come on Kanye! It’s not ok to get sick like this!  Get a grip! You’re a father and you run a company! What is wrong with you!? 

Unfortunately, no one with bipolar can just get a grip when the mania and psychosis are raging. The frontal lobes are long gone and the person is all illness. Bipolar doesn’t care about anything and unless it’s treated, people with bipolar disorder like Kanye can’t get a grip or take care of themselves when the mania and psychosis are full blown. He needs outside help.

Can a Person like Kanye be Creative When Stable? 

When well, Kanye is an influential, intelligent, creative and often grandiose human being. That’s his personality. It might make people not like you, but it’s not dangerous and it won’t get you in serious trouble. The problem is lack of insight in the bipolar brain.

Kanye, like most of us with bipolar disorder believe we are FAR, FAR more fabulous and creative when manic. We are NOT. We are out of control.

Can we create when manic? Yes, but the people around us hate the mania and are scared by the psychosis. It’s essential we teach anyone with this diagnosis that they can create when stable. I’m writing this piece while stable. It’s not as fun as the mania, but it is the only way to have longevity in a career.

Kanye is ill. It’s quite different to talk about your prowess with the ladies, how you’re going to set the record straight and diss all your critics and create the next futuristic shoe as compared to saying you’re running for president under the Birthday Party with an organizational model based on Wakanda as Kanye recently told Forbes Magazine.

Where is the professionalism in journalism that allows these kinds of interviews to be published? People with mental health disorders are not freak shows. It’s time for this to stop from a journalist perspective.

Right now, his grandiosity is manic and psychotic grandiosity and it’s dangerous. In my opinion, he will be in the hospital soon. It happened this way when Kim Kardashian was robbed in Paris. It’s the same show, over and over again.

Bipolar disorder is genetic. His family need to get on board with a plan that not only helps Kanye, but also educates his children about bipolar disorder in the family tree. This is how we stop the hold bipolar disorder has through the generations. Let’s also work together end the feeding frenzy around his comments and make it clear that he is once again ill and needs help. He is a human being with a partner and children who are also in a crisis.   When he is stable, he can learn to be his grandiose self without the mania and psychosis. That is my hope for him.


Mania is not a Positive….. Sorry! Arg! Not fair!


So many of us with bipolar want to lose the depression and keep the euphoric mania.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Mania is a sign of illness just like depression is a sign of illness.
Maturity around bipolar management means that we accept we have to let go of Mania if we want to be stable.
Aargh! It’s no fun! It’s not fair! But it saves our lives and our relationships.
Mania is one side of the bipolar coin. Depression is the other side. Same coin. Same illness. I wish our mania paid us in Bitcoin!
PS: I am posting more in Instagram. Please join me @JulieFast

Three Tips to Ease Money Mistakes with Bipolar


Oh my! I have lost SO much money due to this illness. Whether it’s manic spending or losing money because I can’t work, my finances are deeply impacted by bipolar. I think about this topic often and wanted to share what I do today to help myself maintain as much financial stability as possible…. This article from the wonderful Bp Magazine explains my system. 

Three Tips to Ease Money Mistakes with Bipolar

In the moment, manic spending feels good and depression spending feels uplifting. It’s no wonder that we get caught out even after 20 years of managing bipolar successfully!

Bipolar Disorder and Financial Fallout

Is there any illness in the world that picks up and throws a person around like bipolar? I don’t think so! I’ve spent all of my adult life in either the plus or negative column financially due to bipolar disorder, and I would like to share the plan I use to prevent the biggest bipolar financial disasters. This is not a new topic, but I hope that my 20-plus years of experience managing money while alternately manic and depressed can help those new to the illness find balance a lot sooner than I did!

#1 I Face the Reality That I Don’t Think Clearly When in a Mood Swing.

If this is reality, doesn’t it make sense that there is simply NO way to make smart financial decisions when in a mood swing? Even after all of this time, I’m shocked that mania creeps up on me and I buy five stuffed animals because they would look really great in my next video. I have people in my life who know what I spend, and I give them permission to ask me questions and help me if they see my spending patterns change. I am always upset and embarrassed that mania grabbed me once again, but I do listen eventually!

Click here to read the rest of the article on the Bp Magazine website. 



Julie A. Fast has a Bipolar Disorder Instagram Account

I hope you will join me on Instagram. I’m focusing on succinct posts that give strategies you can use immediately.

I’m @JulieFast.

Stop by and say hello!



Panic and Anxiety from Wearing a Mask in Public

I lived in Japan for over three years in the ‘90s and regularly saw people wearing masks. It’s a part of the Asian culture and has been for decades. When the flu would hit the schools, all of the masks would come out on the trains.  I was always told that people wore masks to prevent from spreading their own illness to others. If you love K-Pop as I do, masks being worn by dancers during a performance as a part of a stage costume is very common.
Masks have now come to our culture and I wish I could say I find wearing one easy.  Nope. It has not been easy at all!  My desire to wear a mask is there.  I don’t want to get sick or make anyone else sick, but I can tell you that as a person with bipolar who also lives with severe anxiety, wearing a mask in public has been a nightmare!
In case this is the same for you, I’ve come up with a way for us to learn to wear masks without increasing our anxiety.
1. Know that you’re not alone! I thought I was the only one going through this until I asked my Facebook community if anyone else had the anxiety problem.  People replied within minutes:
Julie, I feel suffocated! 
My normal claustrophobia is now a lot worse. 
I get hot and sweaty and can’t breathe!
I feel so much better knowing it’s not just me! I recently had to return an item at a UPS store. It was a simple procedure, but when combined with wearing the mask that always makes me act as though I can’t breathe, it was a disaster! This was when I realized I have to find a way to live with masks.
2. Regulate your breathing. Anxiety is a breathing issue. Regulating breathing is the number one way to reduce anxiety. We have a few options while wearing a mask in a store. One, walk back into the parking lot for a few minutes and breathe normally while talking to ourselves about keeping the breathing stable when we walk back into the store. We can also pause in the moment inside the store and say to ourselves, “I can breathe just fine. The mask doesn’t prevent breathing. This is anxiety. All of this mask wearing is new in my culture. I will adapt. Right now, I am going to self regulate my breathing!”
3. Give yourself time. Please don’t avoid going places if the mask makes you anxious!  Masks will be a part of our future now. We do need to learn to wear them without anxiety. If you stop going out during the first round of wearing these masks, it will affect your movement if we are asked to wear masks again in the future! Going out is healthy.
Let’s prepare ahead for a life of using masks.
Writing this blog led to my thinking about change in general.  People all over the world had to change behaviors over night and in many cases, people lost their work and even their income. We were then asked to put a mask over our face in order to protect society. These changes were stressful for stable people – it’s pretty obvious to me now that these changes might create absolutely havoc in the bipolar brain. And yet, I didn’t see it this way in the moment. Instead, I was hard on myself for being WEAK and unable to just BREATHE! It took me much longer than you would expect to connect the dots that wearing the mask was creating intense anxiety.  My mind was in one place- I want to wear this mask and I will wear this mask to keep myself and everyone else safe during a pandemic, but my brain? Oh, it had a mind of its own.
What is on my face!
I can’t breathe!
Danger! Danger!
Anxiety is complex. It’s a combination of the physical as well as the mental. It can take over the mind and body in seconds. The way to counteract this anxiety reaction is to prepare ahead. Anxiety responds really well to natural treatments such as breathing and cognitive behavioral therapy.  I definitely have to work on my mask wearing ability.
 I asked my mother if she had any breathing problems or anxiety due to wearing the mask. She said, “No! Do you?”
I’m glad I asked. It’s a reminder that my bipolar/anxious brain simply isn’t like a regular brain. I need to remind myself constantly that I am different and might need more help in new situations, such as suddenly having to cover my mouth in order to go into the grocery store!