MANY would imagine that billionaire status and zillions of Instagram fans would mean you have achieved some pretty important life goals.
You are financially secure and loved and admired by the world. Happy days, you would think.
But this week, the spectacle of Kim Kardashian’s husband Kanye West, a man in the middle of a mental-health breakdown, shows that when it comes to mental health illnesses it does not matter how rich and famous you are.
Kanye has been publicly rambling for weeks. On July 4, he announced he planned to run in the US presidential election in November.
He later held a campaign rally in South Carolina where he gave a confused speech before breaking down in tears, inset, and claiming Kim almost aborted their seven-year-old girl North.
He then posted tweets comparing himself to the late Nelson Mandela, and claimed Kim was bringing doctors to try to lock him up.
He returned to Twitter to claim he had been “trying to get divorced” from Kim ever since she allegedly met with rapper Meek Mill at a hotel.
He referred to mother-in-law Kris Jenner as “Kris Jong-un”, a reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and in a bizarre rant accused Kris, 64, and Kim of “white supremacy”. He signed off “from the future President of the United States”.
You can’t help but conclude he is very sick and needs help. But I have also been thinking of his wife. Kim wrote on Instagram about how powerless she and her family feel in the face of Kanye’s bipolar disorder.
Calling her husband “brilliant but complicated”, she said, “His words sometimes do not align with his intentions.”
She added of his trouble: “Anyone who has this, or has a loved one who does, knows how complicated and painful it is to understand.
“Those that understand mental illness know the family is powerless unless the member is a minor.”
Right there, as anyone with any experience of mental illness knows, lies the problem. It is almost impossible to persuade someone to take help unless they are willing.
The first step towards recovery is admitting there is a problem, and Kanye needs to be a willing participant in his own recovery and treatment.
Until he is, he will not begin to get the help he so clearly needs.
Kim has never spoken publicly about his illness. When you look at some of the things he has been saying, you might say she had no choice but to speak out — it’s surely damage-limitation apart from anything else.
Nonetheless, her statement was brave — and is very powerful.
Given her 181million Instagram followers, it is probably more mean-ingful than any public health announcement.
This situation is reminiscent of the Britney Spears meltdown, when she shaved off her hair and attacked someone with an umbrella.
Mental ill-health is hard enough to cope with, without it all being played out in public, and in front of your kids. I can only imagine the pain of watching someone you love melting down so profoundly and publicly. All Kanye’s family can do is look helplessly on.
I am sure many who have family and loved ones suffering bipolar disorder and other mental illness will be watching with empathy.
But it’s hard to really know what it’s like to be married to someone who is mentally ill, unless you have experienced it.
With mental illness often comes absence, meaning the partner is left to run the show — in Kim’s case, bearing the brunt of his very public accusations about her.
But I also feel for their four children. Even if they are being shielded, they will know all is not well.
Some of what Kanye has said will be on record for them to read for years to come. It is very hard to fully protect children from the brunt of an illness like this and it must be so hard for Kim.
It’s easy to dismiss her as super- rich and spoiled, but mental illness is perhaps the greatest leveller and it humbles us all.
There is no quick recovery. It’s 13 years since Britney had her break-down and she is still in recovery, and vulnerable.
There will be no quick fix for Kanye either. Bipolar is a lifelong illness. But let’s hope he gets the help he needs — and soon.
Isn’t it funny how everyone has a view when it comes to babies – and thinks their opinion is best?
People really need to learn to keep their views to themselves. But the “helpful advice” all too often starts before a baby is even born.
This week Vogue Williams, who is pregnant, put a photo of her hospital bag – which included some formula milk – on social media.
Bringing formula to hospital is an eminently sensible thing to do.
Even if you want to breast-feed your baby, the best laid plans go wrong at the best of times.
And birth is unpredictable, so it’s good to be prepared.
But when Vogue published the photo, she was immediately trolled by someone telling her it is wrong to feed newborns formula.
People, I have news for you – there are many, many reasons, ranging from choice to physical inability, why women do not breast-feed.
All that matters is that the baby is fed somehow.
And really it is no one else’s business what they are being fed, apart from the mother and father of said baby.
The pressure for things to be “perfect” that new mothers are put under – during one of the most challenging times of their lives – is immense already.
To add to that pressure by insisting that “breast is best” is not only unacceptable, it is potentially damaging for new mothers’ mental health.
It is such a vulnerable time and we should all just back off and allow women to make their own decisions about how to take care of their own baby.
The latest suggestion about coronavirus is that no teachers anywhere in the world have caught it from their pupils.
That is according to Professor Mark Woolhouse, of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, who suggests it was a mistake to shut schools.
But the truth and the reality is this – how on earth would they know?
If you contract coronavirus, you will never know for sure where you got it or who you got it from.
And, as far as I am aware, teachers are not being routinely tested for Covid-19, nor do they have antibody tests.
The bottom line is, they may have had the virus and not known, in which case they definitely won’t know where they got it.
I was immensely reassured by the photos of the Duke of Edinburgh out and about and joking with a soldier about his fitness levels at a military engagement last week.
Philip is 99 years old. And still he had the energy to share a chuckle with Lance Corporal Colin Streetin, 33, at a Windsor Castle ceremony to formally hand over his role as Colonel-in-Chief of the infantry regiment The Rifles to the Duchess of Cornwall (who took part in the second half of the ceremony 100 miles away in Gloucestershire).
Out and about and looking dapper at the grand old age of 99. Now that’s pretty impressive, isn’t it?
Whatever he is taking, can I have some please.
Argh! Just when you thought it was safe to start thinking about going abroad again, a new holiday conundrum entered the equation.
Spain, the favourite holiday destination for the British, has been declared unsafe again due to a growing “second-wave” spike in coronavirus cases.
We can still go there – but if we do we’ll be forced into 14 days of quarantine when we come home.
I was thinking of going to Spain but, I’ll be honest, this news has put me off.
Who wants to sit on the beach with a mask, risk being locked down in a hotel room then have to isolate for two weeks on return?
Not me, I’m afraid to say.
Congratulations to Princess Beatrice on her beautiful, if low-key, wedding.
I thought she looked amazing. I loved that she wore her grandmother’s dress – that’s so very special.
But how sad for her that her father has had to be airbrushed out of the wedding.
Usually, the father of the bride is in every photo, beaming with pride.
But when your father is being linked to serious crimes, I guess he is less welcome in the wedding photos.
I don’t have much sympathy for him, but I have plenty for her.
on on or EMAIL [email protected]