Despite all of this, we still find ourselves immediately defaulting to judgment when he finally falls to pieces in public in a very real and big way. We spent the rest of the weekend pointing at Kanye’s misfortune, his confusion, his aggression, and saying “Look, there he goes again. He’s such an asshole.” Because the ugly truth about the way we think about mental illness, especially when it comes to celebrities, is this: It’s okay — admirable, even — to say you have it. But it’s not okay to show it.
It’s kind of like when Britney Spears was shaving her head and swinging umbrellas at cars, and we laughed at how she might lose her kids over her erratic behavior. Then there was the time Amanda Bynes started crashing her car and wearing terrible wigs and tweeting at Drake to “murder her vagina,” so we watched and laughed and retweeted it a million times.
But then Robin Williams died by suicide after a battle with Lewy Body Dementia, and we couldn’t believe it. The world had just lost a true talent; we cried. He was the star of so many of our most beloved movies. Why didn’t he reach out for help? Why didn’t he tell anyone? Well, guys, maybe it’s because he saw that we were all busy gawking at headlines about Amanda Bynes accidentally setting her dog on fire.
There’s definitely an issue here. We see someone famous breaking down, and we laugh and mock them. How do you think that sounds to the people around you who might be struggling with their own mental health issues?