health

Think what you like about Kanye West. But he's doing us a favour by talking about bipolar.

Kanye West is arguably one of the most famous men in the entire world. Since 2005, the rapper has pretty much reached world domination in terms of album sales, sneaker sales and being able to sell out gigs wherever he goes.

He’s also married to one of the most famous women in the world, Kim Kardashian West, so continues to be the source of intense public interest, and all the speculation that comes with it.

Of course not everyone likes Kanye, who’s what you’d call a force to be reckoned with, and that’s putting it lightly.

From storming the MTV stage to interrupt Taylor Swift to meetings with Donald Trump at the White House (wearing a Make America Great Again cap, no less), Kanye’s attracted his fair share of controversy.

He’s also routinely subjected to a complete character assassination in the tabloids; his Twitter rants and even his mental health being topics to be dissected in great detail.

Which is why it’s so utterly refreshing – and brave – to hear the rapper talk about his mental health struggles by his own admission – something he absolutely doesn’t need to do, but will no doubt shine a light on the continued stigma that comes with having a mental illness.

He even talks about the “stigma of crazy” he’s endured.

Kanye, who’s been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, spoke about his mental health in a new interview with David Letterman, for the second series of the Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman.

Watch the full trailer for Kanye’s interview with David Letterman. Post continues after video.

“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.

“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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Kanye also relayed his experiences of suffering from paranoia during episodes.

“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.”

“You have this moment [where] you feel everyone wants to kill you. You pretty much don’t trust anyone.”

Using a rather clever sprained ankle analogy, Kanye says the judgement about bipolar can be difficult.

“They love to write you off. They love to cut your sentences off halfway,” he shares. “What you say doesn’t mean as much.”

“It’s a health issue that has a strong stigma on it and people are allowed to say anything about it and discriminate in any way.

“This is like a sprained brain, like having a sprained ankle. And if someone has a sprained ankle, you’re not going to push on him more. With us, once our brain gets to a point of spraining, people do everything to make it worse. They do everything possible. They got us to that point and they do everything to make it worse.”

We can’t applaud Kanye enough for using this platform to talk about bipolar disorder. 

Watch the full interview on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman on Netflix.

If you are struggling with symptoms of mental illness please contact your local headspace centre (under 25s), your local GP for a Mental Health Assessment Plan or call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.

00:00 / ???