“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 told Letterman.
Kanye West is featured in the second season of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, where he discusses mental health in a wide-ranging interview.
The rapper and artist is no stranger to this subject. In the last three years, West has been hospitalized for “temporary psychosis,” battled painkiller abuse after cosmetic surgery and revealed a bipolar diagnosis—only to later walk back on his claim, saying he “wasn’t actually bipolar” but suffered from sleep deprivation. He also stunned many by suggesting that slavery was “a choice” and openly embracing Donald Trump.
“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,” he said. “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.”
West said that because of the stigma surrounding mental health, it is treated differently from any other ailment, with little compassion. “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.”
He described the moment he was handcuffed and brought to treatment. “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.”
West said that maintaining a medication regimen keeps him from losing control. “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. And you start acting erratic, as TMZ would put it.”
He continued, “When you ramp up, it expresses your personality more. You can become almost 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.”