Kanye West is running for president of the United States. This headline may seem like something out of a satirical news site but with the artist announcing it on his own Twitter account and even holding a political rally, many people are starting to believe that he’s actually serious in his bid. This pronouncement was followed by a series of tweets and Instagram posts about his wife, Kim Kardashian West, wanting to lock him up, nearly aborting their first child, and a feud with his mother-in-law Kris Jenner. After a few days, Kanye then posted an apology to his wife but after this, he started reposting photos of him and Kim suggesting that there’s “trouble” between them.
This sudden shift in behavior has become a media circus that has gone beyond TMZ or other tabloid sites because all major news outlets are covering whatever Kanye West does next. We all know that what’s happening is not normal or logical, but it seems like we can’t make ourselves look away. What is surprising, however, is that many people are quick to judge Kanye and his reality star wife, even if it has been revealed in the past that Kanye is suffering from a mental illness called bipolar disorder.
If you scroll through Kanye’s Instagram, you’ll see a mix of reactions to Kanye’s posts. Some people are applauding him and egging him to reveal more information, while others are blaming his family for his condition. There are people who are encouraging him to seek help but most of the comments are mocking him and calling him insane in a derogatory way. This brings into question whether we as a society have evolved when it comes to issues relating to mental health.
Are We Really Ready To Talk About Mental Health?
In recent years, many celebrities have spoken up about mental health. Even Prince Harry broke royal protocol by publicly speaking about his struggles during his mother’s death. From being an issue that was kept as a secret, mental health became an advocacy for many famous personalities. The goal is to remove the stigma and encourage people to seek help.
It seems, however, that it is easier to accept mental health as a serious issue if it happens in the past tense. When popular celebrities talk about previous mental health struggles that they’ve experienced or overcome already, it seems easier for us to accept it and admire them for being open about it. But when these mental health episodes happen in real-time, the knee-jerk reaction of many is to laugh, gossip, or ridicule the person experiencing the breakdown.
Kanye’s recent outbursts brought into the surface the reality that many of us still regard mental health issues as something a person should be ashamed of, rather than a condition that should be treated with care. The easy way out is to blame the Kardashian reality machine, his fame, or whatever else instead of understanding that Kanye’s mental health issues are what’s causing his bizarre behavior.
Dealing With Mental Health: Grace, Kindness, And Compassion
After Kanye’s outlandish social media posts, Kim posted an appeal on Instagram asking the public and the media to give them compassion and empathy to help them get through this difficult period. She talked about Kanye having bipolar disorder and said that while he is brilliant, he is also a complicated person. Kim also talked about how having bipolar disorder or living with someone with this condition can be complicated and painful to understand.
Kim’s post is not something a lot of people might have anticipated. Some fans expected her to lash back or publicly scorn Kanye for what he did. Her post, however, was like water dousing a raging fire. While Kim’s statement equally received media attention, it was like a gentle reminder for us to tread a bit more carefully when it comes to mental health issues.
Mental health is not something to joke about and people actively suffering from it should not be ridiculed. These types of reactions could hinder people who are suffering from the same issues to hide their struggles instead of seeking help.
With today’s toxic social media culture where it’s easy to troll anyone or post a hateful comment, it’s important to take a step back and ask ourselves whether what we’re going to say or post is helpful or necessary. Mental health is indeed a complicated issue and removing the stigma will not happen overnight. However, if we attempt to be more kind and compassionate, we can become a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem.
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