Kanye West discusses his personal experience with bipolar disorder and the stigma surrounding mental illness in a new interview with David Letterman this week.
The 41-year-old rapper sits down with the veteran host on his Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, on an episode streaming Friday.
And Kanye, who was diagnosed with bipolar two years ago, gets more candid than ever when Letterman asks him to describe what it’s like when he suffers an episode.
He told Letterman: ‘I can just tell you what I’m feeling at the time. I feel a heightened connection with the universe when I’m ramping up,
‘It’s a health issue, this is a sprained brain, like a sprained ankle. When 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.’
The Atlanta born hip hop star also reflected on the stigma surrounding mental illness which is driving him to talk more openly about his experiences, as he said, ‘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.’
Kanye can sometimes experience psychosis during periods of severe mania, in which he feels hyper-paranoia and believes everyone is out to get him.
He described the episodes to Letterman in detail.
‘You have this moment [where] you feel everyone wants to kill you. You pretty much don’t trust anyone,
‘When you’re in this [episode] 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.’
‘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,’ he said. ‘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. They love to write you off. They love to cut your sentences off halfway. What you say doesn’t mean as much.’
In his less severe episodes of mania Kanye – who has North, five, Saint, three, Chicago, 16 months, and newborn Psalm with his wife Kim Kardashian West – said he feels more ‘adolescent’ when he’s ‘ramped up’.
‘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.’
On the medication that he takes on and off for the disorder, Kanye explained, ‘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.
Kanye was hospitalized at UCLA Medical Center in November 2016 after suffering a temporary psychosis reportedly brought on by sleep deprivation and extreme dehydration following a stream of Twitter posting frenzies, political and personal rants at his fans and cancelled concerts.
On his 2018 album, Ye, West appeared to confirm he had been diagnosed with bipolar after months of speculation.
Shortly after, during a radio interview, Kanye stated that he was diagnosed with a ‘mental condition’ at age 39 and called it his ‘superpower’.
However, when speaking with Donald Trump in October 2018, the rapper claimed he was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder and was just sleep deprived.