Why I'm Not Laughing at Kanye West Right Now

Short Answer: Because mental illness is never a joke.

Long Answer: I have been there.

Kanye West was recently hospitalized following an outburst at one of his performances. It’s been reported the rapper has been dealing with depression and paranoia since. He continues to remain inpatient while he is properly stabilized to ensure his safety and well-being.

I have been there.

I was diagnosed with psychotic depression a little more than three years ago when I was 16. I was in high school. I felt and believed things I never doubted were real, and the more I saw that nobody else was affected by them or really seemed to care or notice at all, the more it troubled me. The more I felt alone and as if I were the only one who saw the world differently, the more resentment I developed toward myself and the more depressed I became.

I have been there.

Recovery has to start somewhere. This is what we are witnessing right now with Kanye. The proper medication has to start at some time. Sure, not everyone is his biggest fan, but belittling his mental health condition pains those of us who are also struggling with mental illness right beside him.

I have been there.

However, I had the luxury of not being famous. Nobody had to know what I was going through if I didn’t want them to. I was able to hide that I was seeing a therapist and taking medications. I could keep my recovery private, but it’s too late for Kanye to be able to do it that way. He’s controversial, and he is in the public eye.

His opinions may be questionable. His life choices may not always be agreeable, but there are two indisputable truths about this situation:

  1. Kanye West is still a human being.
  2. To treat him as if he were not, amidst his mental health crisis, perpetuates the stigma that shames those who seek mental illness recovery.

Trust me, I have been there.

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