Kanye West should be held accountable for his actions despite his mental illness

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Over the break, Kanye West went on another Twitter rampage against Drake. (What else is new?) Amidst the chaos, Ariana Grande tweeted the following:

“Guys, I know there are grown men arguing online rn but miley and I dropping our beautiful, new songs tonight so if y’all could please jus behave for just like a few hours so the girls can shine that’d be so sick thank you.”

It didn’t take long for Kanye West to respond:

“I know Ariana said this to be cool and didn’t mean no harm but I don’t like even slightest level of slight commentary from someone I know loves and respects me.”

“People will no longer take mental health for a joke.”

The Kanye-Ariana exchange is a perfect example of how it is very hard to disagree with people who have mental health issues without facing accusations of attacking mental health.

Ariana was not making fun of mental health; she was making fun of Kanye’s behaviour as a human being.

But is it even possible to distinguish between the two? In other words, can Kanye the man-who-had-a-mental-breakdown be distinguished from Kanye the talented-albeit-off-his-meds creator?

Walking on eggshells is no way to live, and if people are shamed or blamed for interacting in a certain way with those suffering from mental health issues, then it’s only a matter of time before these interactions cease completely.

The answer should be a resounding yes; mental health problems are just that — problems which need to be dealt with —but they do not define a person. Said person’s actions and opinions, on the other hand, do define them.

The worst thing you can do is treat someone differently because of their mental health; nothing makes a person with depression more self-conscious than when you tell them they weren’t invited to get drinks because you thought they’d be too depressed to go.

And just because someone has mental health issues does not mean they’re “off their rocker” whenever their opinions don’t match yours, and that their voices should be largely ignored.

This is the reason so many people have hidden their disorders: for fear of judgement and direct or indirect retribution.

But there are two sides to every coin.

If our voices should be able to stand despite any mental health issues, they should also be able to stand against any criticisms.

If the call is for our actions to be evaluated separately from our diagnoses, then we need to be able to take what we dish out.

Being concerned for someone’s mental health should be completely separate from disagreeing with their actions.

Walking on eggshells is no way to live, and if people are shamed or blamed for interacting in a certain way with those suffering from mental health issues, then it’s only a matter of time before these interactions cease completely.

Dividing arguments into sides where one party has mental health issues and the other party is “sane” should never be a debate tactic.

As Kanye vehemently states on his Twitter, he is not his mental health.

In fact, I think he’d agree with me for saying he is himself despite his mental health.

But if this is true, he needs to start taking responsibility for his actions rather than hiding behind the words “mental health” whenever it suits him.

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