When it comes to mental illness, there is still a lot that the public doesn't understand. Even as recently as thirty years ago, many conditions that are commonly diagnosed today didn't have names or ways of diagnosing. As we learn more about these conditions, we can talk about them more as a society.
Many celebrities would rather not come out publicly with a mental illness, fearing it would cause backlash against them, or harm their chances of getting future work. While that's a valid fear, there is one celebrity who hasn't let that fear hold him back from talking about his mental illness.
The celebrity I'm talking about is the outspoken, supremely talented Kanye West. Kanye West came out as bipolar in his newest album, Ye. Since then he's been open about his condition, using his platform to start a discussion about mental illness. Recently he opened up even further about the struggles of his condition.
In his most recent album, Ye, Kanye West famously used the phrase, "I hate being bi-polar. It's awesome." The phrase is a clever turn by saying he hates it, but that it's awesome. The phrase reflects how it is to be bipolar. Kanye West is 41, and has struggled with mental health issues, especially in the wake of his mother's death in the early 2010s. For fans of West, he goes even further into describing his issues with mental health in season 2 of David Letterman's Netflix talk show, "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman."
"If you don't take medication every day to keep you at a certain state, you have a potential to ramp up and it can take you to a point where you can even end up in the hospital. And you start acting erratic, as TMZ would put it."
Kanye West hasn't always been so eloquent in the public eye. Late last year he had an infamous interview with TMZ where he made egregious comments such as claiming slavery was a choice. His revelations didn't stop there. He also claimed that after liposuction, he became addicted to opioids. The interview was followed up by another interview with Kanye West and Harvey Levin, which didn't clear anything up. It was apparent Kanye West was in a manic state.
That recent public meltdown damaged West and Kardashian's marriage, however, not enough for them to split up. They are expecting another child. West goes on to say, "When you ramp up, it expresses your personality more. You can become almost more adolescent in your expression. This is my specific experience that I've had over the past two years because I've only been diagnosed for two years now."
Fans of West may remember his meltdown in 2016 during a concert where he talked about wanting to vote for Trump, and then stormed off the stage. It was an event that would land him in the hospital. "When you're in this state, you're hyper-paranoid about everything. 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.
While what West describes sounds like a living nightmare, he also acknowledges the upsides to having bi-polar disorder. "That's just the reality. If you want these crazy ideas and these crazy stages, this crazy music and this crazy way of thinking, there's a chance it might come from a crazy person."