Kanye West Opens Up About Mental Health Struggles: "This Is Like a Sprained Brain"

Joe Pugliese/Netflix
Kanye West (left) and David Letterman

The rapper, who has been transparent about his bipolar diagnosis and other issues in the past, explained that he feels a "heightened connection with the universe" during periods of being ramped up.

Kanye West opened up about his struggles with mental health during an interview with David Letterman on season two of the Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.

Letterman asked the rapper, who has been transparent about his psychological issues in the past, what the mechanism is that is "malfunctioning" or "taking a break" in his brain. West responded, "I wouldn’t be able to explain that as much, you know, because I’m not a doctor. I can just tell you what I’m feeling at the time, and I feel a heightened connection with the universe when I’m ramping up."

West, who recently welcomed his fourth child with Kim Kardashian, has spoken about his "ramped up" states before, such as when he apologized to his fans for suggesting slavery was a "choice" during a visit to TMZ Live. Reflecting on the moment, West said in a radio interview with WCGI 107.5, "I could present in a more calm way, but I was ramped up." He went on to say, "I’m not blaming mental health, but I’m explaining mental health."

Sitting in front of Letterman, West identified these feelings as health issues and then pointed to his brain, emphasizing, "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."

Continuing with the ankle analogy, West said, "Once our brain gets to the point of spraining, people do everything to make it worse."

West was briefly hospitalized in 2016 when he exhibited symptoms of exhaustion and sleep deprivation. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, he was placed on a psychiatric hold. Around the time of that incident, West canceled the remainder of his Saint Pablo tour.

During an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in mid-2018, the hip-hop star spoke about his bipolar diagnosis and urged the members of his community to be honest about their own personal struggles. "I think it’s important for us to have open conversations about mental health, especially with me being black, because we never had therapists in the black community," West said.

Watch the clip of West on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction below.