Bipolar disorder has been getting a major boost lately — thanks to the tireless work of activist Kanye “Ye” West on Instagram — but not all of us in the bipolar community are happy.

Do we share a diagnosis from the DSM-5? Yes. Do we both rant on main in all caps? Absolutely. Have I also wondered if Instagram is “gonna shut down my page for dissing Hilary Clinton’s ex boyfriend”? Once or twice. 

But make no mistake: I have never run for president, been $53 million in debt, dissed Harriet Tubman, or tweeted, “Everyone knows the movie Get Out was about me.” Kanye and I are NOT the same, I’m a humanities major whose favorite book is The Bell Jar. When I’m manic, I listen to Mitski on loop and flirt excessively with women at my (minimum wage) job. Psychiatrists might call it “type I” vs. “type II” bipolar, but we all know what they really mean: Kanye West vs. Kurt Cobain bipolar. 

We can’t ignore the impact geography has on the Kanye-Kurt paradigm. Living in California seems to make grandiosity a regular part of life, not something reserved for manic episodes. I think it’s weirder when LA celebrities don’t claim to be Jesus. Honestly, Ye is only saying what most Californians are already thinking. The rest of us, however, live in places where actions have consequences—where “too much pleasure is pain,” as Kurt said. 

I can’t think of anywhere that’s more true than in Boston. 

New England is a cold, sad place—ultimately the legacy of colonial Calvinism—which makes it difficult to live out one’s manic aspirations to the fullest. When I want to spend an evening out causing interpersonal havoc, I have to be ready to Face The Wind or be blown over. For Kurt Cobain, it was the Seattle rain. I would burn all my money at the Newbury Street Gucci store, but I already overdrafted from this month’s rent payment. 

Maybe you’ll think twice before sending me a screenshot of Kanye’s latest rant and saying “this is you lol” less.

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