I have never paid much attention to Kanye West. From the snippets of entertainment news that have trickled into my consciousness, he has at various times reminded me of a lost little boy, a toddler throwing a tantrum or red paint on a white rug, to get attention. My sympathy went out to him when it sounded as though he’d suffered a psychotic break under the media’s scrutiny. I have never listened to his music or worn any of his designs. By many accounts he is a talented artist. But humble he is not.
So, why would I risk being caught in a room with Kim Kardashian and not enough in common with her to even cover pleasantries, in order to step into Yeezy’s Yeezys for a day?
An article shared on Facebook about a recent interview West gave on Jimmy Kimmel Live:
‘Kanye West Opens Up About Being Bipolar’
Let’s move beyond my irritation with the editor who allowed that headline through. (Did Kylie Minogue ever open up about being breast cancer?).
Now, ordinarily Facebook links to anything regarding mental illness are a bit of a snooze fest in the comments section. But this one brewed quite the shitstorm of heated opinions.
Many were arguments about whether Kanye West even has Bipolar Disorder. Skeptics believe he is using a fake diagnosis to justify some of his questionable behaviour. Others came out in his defence, stating it was good for him to ‘open up’ about it, as it would raise awareness of Bipolar Disorder. Whether West has ever been formally diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder seems to be up in the air, but he has implied he has Bipolar Disorder and ‘compared it to a superpower’.
I don’t really care whether or not Kanye West has Bipolar Disorder…until he starts talking about it.
Because what he does not have is the insight into his own mental health situation, the education about Bipolar Disorder in general, and the awareness of what other people with Bipolar Disorder go through, to make him a Bipolar poster boy. And unfortunately, that is exactly what he becomes when he opens his mouth and is given that sort of headline. For people who don’t know better, when Kanye ‘opens up about ‘being’ bipolar’ he represents everyone who has Bipolar Disorder.
I doubt he signed up for this status. He probably only wants to talk about the special brand of Bipolar Disorder that gives him his super powers, not the type that renders people homeless who don’t have access to the care he has, or the type people lose their jobs over because they have run out of sick leave.
The trade-off for fame, wealth, and power should be an understanding that your words have weight regardless of whether they are well-informed or inane nonsense. Sadly, that understanding seems to be missing when Kanye communicates:
‘How to NOT kill yourself pt 1
Avoid being around people who make you want to kill yourself’
That recent Tweet had 610 000 likes and 214 000 people talking about it!
Those numbers are not because he stated anything, profound or even helpful. They are because he is Kanye West. The fact that a Tweet could not be a worse format for content of this gravity is lost in the grandiose celebrity of its author.
Kanye West squanders his high profile, while others who speak out authentically about their experiences with Bipolar Disorder scrabble for a platform from which to dispel stigma and raise awareness.
If I were Kanye West for a day, I would utilise his social media platforms to death. I’d spread facts. Things like: Bipolar Disorder is a shape shifting creature. It presents differently in different people. One person’s perfect treatment plan is a disaster for someone else. One person’s super power is another person’s death sentence. But if we eliminate stigma, suffering will lessen, and more people will survive their illness.
And at the end of my day as Kanye I’d choose a publisher for my memoir manuscript. To date publishers have been highly complimentary about the quality of my writing, and have earnestly agreed that the manuscript needs to be published, but have stopped short of accepting it for publication because:
‘The author doesn’t have a big enough social media platform or enough followers to make it a commercially viable option.’
Being Kanye for a day, would solve that problem nicely!
For the original link to the article mentioned in this post you can go to: https://www.etonline.com/kanye-west-opens-up-about-being-bipolar-107762
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