Kanye West Gets Candid About Bipolar Disorder, Paranoia And The ‘Stigma Of Crazy’ With David Letterman

Kanye West is opening up like never before about his struggles with mental health issues, and what it’s like inside his mind when he’s dealing with a bipolar “episode.”

The celebrated yet publicly troubled rapper speaks at length with David Letterman in a season two episode of the acclaimed Netflix series, “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman”, about his experiences with “ramping up” and the effects it’s had on his mind and his life.

“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,” West tells Letterman during the candid interview. “And you start acting erratic, as TMZ would put it.”

West famously sat down with “TMZ” for a controversial conversation last year, amid several headline-grabbing outbursts that garnered him a great deal of negative press and put a strain on his marriage to Kim Kardashian West.

“When you ramp up, it expresses your personality more. You can become almost more adolescent in your expression,” West explains. “This is my specific experience that I’ve had over the past two years, because I’ve only been diagnosed for two years now.”

According to the 41-year-old artist, when he goes through a severe “episode,” such as one that would land him in the hospital, he’s found that he often becomes incredibly paranoid to a delusional degree.

“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,” West says. “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,” he adds.

According to West, one of the things that he hopes to change by speaking out about his own experiences is how hospitals treat people who are suffering with one of these breaks from reality.

“They have this moment where they put you — they handcuff you, they drug you, they put you on the bed, and they separate you from everyone you know,” West says. “That’s something that I am so happy that I experienced myself so I can start by changing that moment.”

“When you are in that state, you have to have someone you trust. It is cruel and primitive to do that,” he continues.

He went on to say that both the doctors and the media have certain methods of treating people who “get the stigma of crazy.”

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

West, who said he feels “a heightened connection with the universe” when he’s “ramping up,” explains that the stigma of being considered crazy has, in his experience, been an excuse for some people to treat him poorly, judge him unfairly and even try to exacerbate the situation for their own gain or amusement.

“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,” West says. “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.”

However, the acclaimed artist also acknowledges that oftentimes a part of genius comes from madness, and people have to accept that their favorite creators might have mental health issues that need to be addressed.

“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,” West says with a laugh.

New episodes of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman — featuring interviews with West, Ellen DeGeneres, Tiffany Haddish, Lewis Hamilton, and Melinda Gates — premieres May 31 on Netflix.

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