“Lunatic”, “idiot”, “madman” and “maniac” are all just some of the hurtful words thrown at Kanye West in recent days. West has been launching a well-publicised Presidential bid, which involved a minor rally in South Carolina last weekend.

His appearance and actions at the rally have provoked widespread ridicule – though many have been quick to point out that West may be in the midst of a manic episode – a deeply difficult state of mind that has a huge effect on anyone – let alone a famous singer who lives his life in the limelight.

As mentioned, West spoke passionately in his rally in South Carolina, where he spoke of his negative opinion towards Abortion and Planned Parenthood, compared himself to Nelson Mandela and criticised his mother-in-law Kris Jenner – labelling her a “white supremacist”. Needless to say, these comments led to a media frenzy, and has led to many mocking West.

Many of Kanye’s comments were aimed at Planned Parenthood

But what many don’t realise, or are happy to overlook – is that West suffers from Bipolar Disorder. This condition is characterised by periods of mania and depression. These episodes are deeply harmful – as evidenced by the high rates of suicide among those with the condition.

What is mania?

The following symptoms can be associated with Mania, sometimes just a few of them are present:

  • Feeling of excessive happiness/euphoria
  • Uncontrollable emotions
  • Racing thoughts
  • Increased confidence
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Feelings of grandiosity
  • Increase in impulsive actions
  • Risk-taking
  • Increase in sexual desire
  • Psychosis

Of course, it isn’t clear that West is in the midst of a manic episode – but his behaviour seems to suggest that his psychological state isn’t healthy. His family members have been vocal in trying to get the public to understand Kanye’s battle. His wife, social media star Kim Kardashian – posted an impassioned defence of Kanye on Instagram.

Kim called Kanye a “brilliant but complicated person”, whose “words sometimes do not align with his intentions”. She went on to mention about the impact of the “stigma and misconceptions about mental health”. She correctly stated that those who are unaware of this condition can be “judgemental”. Finally, she called for stronger empathy and understanding.

Despite many knowing this, the public have been widely mocking West, ridiculing his behaviour, and gleefully taking to social media to criticise the singer. This is the classic example of where mental illness is still not taken seriously in society. Even if there is a small possibility that Kanye is going through a manic episode, people should not be so quick to judge.

Society has made good strides in recent times to address the stigma of mental health. But while so many people are quick to mention how they are fully supportive of those suffering from mental health, in truth, actions speak louder than words. Twitter is sadly awash with negative comments about West.

At least there has been some support for Kanye.

Many have pointed out supposed hypocrisy from the left wing.

As seen, society still has a long way to go in order to accept mental health, and how it manifests itself in unexpected ways. Plenty of people also criticised Kanye’s comments on Planned Parenthood, which were celebrated by pro-life campaigners.

West spoke extensively about Planned Parenthood

For all of the improvements seen in accepting mental health, clearly, more work needs to be done. Events like the past week show that mental illness is rarely taken as seriously as it should be.