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Kanye West on bipolar disorder: 'It's a superpower'

By Leah Groth ; Updated June 04, 2018

After months of speculation about his mental health, Kanye West has revealed he was recently diagnosed with a “mental condition” — which he hints is bipolar disorder. However, rather than looking at it as a weakness, he is choosing to view it as a strength.

“I’m so blessed and so privileged because think about people that have mental issues that are not Kanye West, that can’t go and make that [music] and make you feel like it’s all good,” West said during an interview with radio host Big Boy, explaining how he is helping others by destigmatizing mental conditions. “I’d never been diagnosed [with a mental condition], and I was, like, 39 years old.”

As West explains on his upcoming album “Ye,” he believes his mental condition is a source of strength, not a weakness. “It’s not a disability, it’s a superpower,” he continued.

So what “mental condition” is Kanye referring to? Though he doesn’t directly confirm it in the interview, the cover of his new album “Ye” features the phrase “I hate being Bi-Polar its awesome” scribbled in his handwriting across a photo. West also mentions the disorder in the lyrics of a track called “Yikes”: “That’s my bipolar sh*t.”

What is bipolar disorder? Characterized by extreme cycles of depressed and manic behaviors, the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that there are approximately 5.7 million persons diagnosed with a bipolar disorder in the United States. In addition to being depressed, easily agitated and irritable, those suffering from the condition often suffer from sleeping disorders, manic energy levels and a variety of mental effects. Many individuals appear to have a “flight of ideas,” finding it difficult to express themselves coherently. And, in some manic states, individuals may experience hallucinations and delusions of thought.

West also addressed his recent controversial comments that caused widespread outrage after he said slavery was “a choice” during an interview with TMZ. He claimed that the backlash urged him to change some album lyrics, because “it was just too sensitive” (although he didn’t actually blame making the comments on being bipolar).

“Think about somebody that does exactly what I did at TMZ, and they just do that at work, right? But then Tuesday morning they come in and they lost their job, and they can’t go back and make that. That’s why God put that on me at age 40,” West said.

West’s mental health became a topic of conversation in 2016, when he was placed under psychiatric hospitalization after days of mounting episodes of bizarre behavior. In recent months the star opened up about his mental breakdown, maintaining it was brought on by “fear, stress, being controlled and manipulation.” He also revealed he is taking medication, but that he isn’t in therapy.

Kudos to Kanye for opening up about his mental health. When celebrities choose to be transparent about their issues, it makes it easier for other people to do the same.

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