Kanye West exploded onto the music scene in the early 2000s by producing a series of classic records by artists Jay-Z, Scarface, and Alicia Keys. Soon, he embarked on his own solo career and released a variety of game-changing albums such as The College Dropout, 808’s & Heartbreak, and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
One particular skill West possesses besides self-producing and writing his own records was his honesty and expression through his music. He even would do the same in interviews and on stage, garnering a reputation as a very talented, personable musician. But as of late, the same traits that made him beloved by so many fans and critics turned into bizarre rants on Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Donald Trump over this past month.
The rants, coupled with walking off stage and canceling his “Saint Pablo Tour,” caused West to become hospitalized on November 21 for mental exhaustion, sleep deprivation, paranoia, and psychosis. Although he’s been in the hospital for nine days, his mental stability has reportedly not shown any signs of improvement.
After the general public watched the mental breakdowns of Britney Spears and Amanda Bynes over the past few years, many have wondered if one of the most talented musicians of the modern era could shine a light on mental health issues suffered by celebrities. A Billboard article that focused on West’s recent pattern of behaviors provided some insight from well-known mental experts who explained what could possibly have went wrong for West. Their theories suggested that sleep deprivation and overworking might have caused West’s bizarre episodes.
“‘If someone remains in the hospital [after an event like this] it may just mean that they need to be in the hospital that long to get well,’ Dr. Jody M. Rawles, a psychiatrist and the Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs in the psychiatry department at the University of California-Irvine, told Billboard. Dr. Rawles, who has no first-hand knowledge of the situation and has not treated West in the past, said when his team admits someone under similar circumstances they will keep them in the hospital as long as is necessary, but not a day longer, because staying in a hospital environment for too long can be detrimental to a patient’s health.”
In that same article, another mental health expert, Rusty Selix, also described the effects sleep deprivation can have on someone’s mental health. Such a condition could have caused West to overreact.
“If this were an isolated incident and there was no other evidence of anything happening before — certainly someone who is sleep deprived can get into an altered state of reality,” Rusty Selix, a California lawyer, mental health advocate and director of policy and advocacy at the California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies told Billboard. Selix — who is not a physician and also has no first-hand knowledge of the West case, but who consults with a number of California mental health non-profit agencies — said Kim Kardashian’s alleged comments about various medications could indicate an underlying mental illness.
“‘Sleep deprivation alone is very severe and can cause all kinds of conditions… and when someone gets into a manic phase where they don’t sleep for days they can get a powerful high from that manic energy and then crash,’ he said. ‘From the comments made by his wife there seems to be an awareness that there is a mental illness involved that it has to be managed and they likely don’t want to talk about it because it’s a highly stigmatized [thing].”
West reportedly has a chance to be home within the next few days.
[Featured image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]