Kanye West‘s announcement about his intention to run for president has come amid a new cycle in the rapper’s struggle with his bipolar disorder, a source tells PEOPLE.
“Kanye has been doing well for a long time. In the past, he has suffered both manic and depressive episodes related to his bipolar disorder. Right now, he is struggling again,” a source tells PEOPLE.
Wife Kim Kardashian West, who according to the source is in Los Angeles with their four kids while West is in Wyoming, has been feeling “worried” about her husband’s behavior.
“Kim is concerned, as well as her whole family. It’s super stressful for Kim, because Kanye’s behavior is very unpredictable. She is worried,” the source adds. “The episodes usually last for a few weeks and then things go back to normal. Kim hopes it will be the same this time.”
Days after announcing his campaign on July 4, the rapper, 43, doubled down on his intentions on running in 2020, despite significant hurdles to getting his name on the ballot, including that he seemingly has yet to register with the Federal Election Commission.
In a new interview with Forbes, which the magazine described as occurring over “four rambling hours,” the rapper claimed he was running with the campaign slogan “YES!” as a member of his new political party called the “Birthday Party” because “when we win, it’s everybody’s birthday.”
In the interview, which has drawn widespread controversy and condemnation, the rapper also addressed his mental health, saying, “You know I was out there, ended up in the hospital, people were calling me crazy. I’m not crazy.”
Following years of speculation from fans —particularly after he was hospitalized for a “psychiatric emergency” in November 2016 just after canceling his Saint Pablo tour — West seemingly confirmed that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2018, with the release of his album Ye — which bore the phrase “I Hate Being Bipolar. It’s Awesome” on the cover.
“I had never been diagnosed until I was 39,” he said during an interview recorded with radio host Big Boy soon afterward “But like I said on the album, it’s not a disability, it’s a superpower.”
Later that year West stated that he had been misdiagnosed and was actually suffering from sleep deprivation. However, in subsequent interviews, both the rapper and his wife confirmed his diagnosis.
In a 2019 cover story for Vogue, Kardashian West, 39, said that her husband has accepted that he is bipolar, though he has opted out of treating the disorder with pharmaceuticals.
“For him, being on medication is not really an option, because it just changes who he is,” she explained, adding that the couple had reached a “pretty good place” with his mental health at the time.
“It is an emotional process, for sure,” she added. “Right now everything is really calm. But we can definitely feel episodes coming, and we know how to handle them.”
The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star also spoke about how she handles criticism of West’s more controversial acts and public proclamations.
“I think some of the hurtful things that I read online: ‘What is she doing? She’s not stopping him…’ Like it’s my fault if he does or says something that they don’t agree with?” she said. “That’s my husband. I share every opinion that I have and let him know when I think something’s wrong. Or if it comes to him being in the middle of a bipolar episode, I’ll do everything to be supportive and help to calm the situation.”
West has also spoken candidly about what it’s like when he has an “episode.”
“When you’re in this state, you’re hyper-paranoid about everything,” West said during his My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman interview last year.
“Everyone — this is my experience, other people have different experiences — everyone now is an actor. Everything’s a conspiracy. You feel the government is putting chips in your head. You feel you’re being recorded. You feel all these things,” he continued. “You pretty much don’t trust anyone.”
Referencing the explosive interview he gave to TMZ in May 2018, in which he infamously suggested that slavery is “a choice,” West noted that without regularly taking medication “you have a potential to ramp up.”
“When you ramp up, it expresses your personality more. You can become almost more adolescent in your expression,” West continued. “This is my specific experience that I’ve had over the past two years.”