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Inside Kanye West’s Battle with Bipolar Disorder


Kanye West is an American rapper, record producer, fashion designer and is considered one of the most influential artists ever. His career spans over 20 years and since then, West has garnered various accolades, achievements and yes, billionaire status. But, behind all the public outbursts and Twitter tirades lies a very difficult battle with bipolar disorder.

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Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes mood swings and is characterized by emotional highs (which can be manic episodes), or depressive lows. The emotional highs, referred to as mania, are characterized by symptoms like impaired judgement., over-optimism and/or grandiosity. Other symptoms of a manic episode include “hallucinations or delusions, which can cause a sense of detachment from reality,” according to The National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Mental illnesses that are characterized by mood disorders, like bipolar disorder, are lifelong conditions. But the good news is that they can be treated with medications and psychological counselling.

Inside Kanye West’s Battle With Bipolar Disorder

Kanye West wearing dark sunglasses

West’s battle with bipolar disorder has not been a private one. Although he was diagnosed with the mental illness in 2017, the early tell-tale symptoms, like irregular behavior were always there. Does anyone remember him interrupting Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMA’s? Then there was his failed Presidential campaign where he broke down at a rally in South Carolina and announced questionable family discussions of his daughter North West. Since then, most of his public outbursts have manifested into frequent Twitter tirades.

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His most recent social media outburst is a now-deleted Instagram post of a photoshopped image of a New York Times cover that reads: “SKETE DAVIDSON IS DEAD AT AGE 28”, referring to ex-wife Kim Kardashian and comedian Pete Davidson ending their relationship. West also encouraged fans to harass Davidson, and Davidson is now seeking trauma therapy to deal with the outpour of threats and attacks.

The public response to these outbursts has resulted in millions of views, shares and likes and comments, labeling West as a “psycho”, or “unhinged” But these types of labels are a clear display of the public’s misunderstanding of bipolar disorder. While West’s behavior isn’t necessarily acceptable, bipolar disorder is a complicated mental illness that, in Kanye West’s case, has been a source of media mockery and amusement.

When the rappers highly anticipated album, YE was released, it was praised for its revelations and controversial lyrics. “Yikes” directly made a reference to West’s bipolar disorder.

That’s my bipolar sh*t, n**** what?
That’s my superpower, n**** ain’t no disability
I’m a superhero! I’m a…



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