Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: Kanye West breakdowns shed light on mental illness issues

Rapper Kanye West performs during day one of the Outside Lands music festival at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on August 8, 2014. The festival runs through Sunday. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group/MCT)
Rapper Kanye West performs during day one of the Outside Lands music festival at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on August 8, 2014. The festival runs through Sunday. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

As one of the absolute worst years in world history comes to a close and we hope to forget it through eggnog and hot cocoa hangovers, we know there’s at least one man on this planet who has suffered far more than we have.

If 2016 were to have a subtitle to its name, it would probably be something along the lines of “The Year Everybody Hated Kanye West.”

Many awful things happened to this man in the past year, and it only continues to get worse.

West went from being allegedly $53 million in debt based on several of his own tweets to engaging in multiple feuds to being runner-up to the king of Twitter rants, Donald Trump. To top it off, he had to hear news of his wife being held hostage and robbed at gunpoint in Paris.

West completely stopped a concert Nov. 19 in Sacramento, California, to express his delusional paranoia revolving around what he believed to be several hitmen hired by Jay-Z to kill West. Of course, I’m sure this news is just as much of a surprise to Jay-Z as it was to West’s fans.

Only a couple of days later, West was hospitalized in Los Angeles due to an extreme level of sleep deprivation and exhaustion. Last Wednesday, he was released, which seems too unthinkably soon. If you are so sleep-deprived and exhausted to the point of murderous hallucinations and needing to be handcuffed and sent to the hospital, a week in in-patient treatment isn’t going to cut it. He continued out-patient treatment, though.

For those who have been following West’s career for any amount of time now, there is obviously more going on in his psyche than just tiredness. Pop-culture has deemed him as a narcissistic egomaniac with a God complex.

He’s obviously a deeply, deeply complicated and troubled man whose problems go beyond his large ego. There’s much going on in his mind that we have been merely brushing off as selfishness for far too long.

West has never presented himself as a potential threat to anyone, despite how frightening he may sometimes sound. But the issue of mental illness is always still grave. We have seen it countless times in the past with musicians.

Brian Wilson quit touring with the Beach Boys after his bipolar disorder became out of control and affected his performances. It eventually took over his songwriting and creativity until he sought medical help.

Syd Barrett, a founding member of Pink Floyd, left his band in the late 1960s because of what was perceived to be either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. His illnesses had a profound impact on the band’s later albums.

Most famously of all, Kurt Cobain suffered from bipolar disorder his entire life. His depression was most apparent in his songwriting and interviews, but nothing was done to truly help him and he ultimately committed suicide in 1994.

Not all of these stories have to end as a tragedy, however. Other major celebrities like Neil Young and Demi Lovato found ways around the mental hindrances that once overpowered them and came back more extraordinary than ever.

The end to West’s story is one we cannot so easily predict, but if we know anything about Yeezy, it’s that he never gives up. And neither should anyone suffering under these conditions. West said it best himself in “Only One.”

“No, you’re not perfect / But you’re not your mistakes.”

You are not your disorder. You are not your depression. You are here, you are alive, you are beautiful.

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