I’ve recently been watching RHONY and RHOBH and both franchises have touched on mental health in a way that I have not seen much of on either one of these TV shows.
In RHONY one of the housewives “Leah” openly came out on camera stating that she was diagnosed with Bipolar II on her 30th birthday, and at 37-years-old she has it under control. Meanwhile, another one of the housewives “Ramona,” talks behind her back about her mental health gossiping with other women about her depression, and behavior which she described as “scary.” “Ramona’s” treatment of knowledge of “Leah” mental illness seemed to be a honest depiction of judgment and stigma one often finds when they are revealed to have a mental illness. “Leah” did come forth about her troubling teenage years, and admire her strength to be honest with her peers and the audience. I felt bad knowing that she was probably suffering early stages of Bipolar II without any knowledge of her condition. I was diagnosed with Bipolar II when I was 28-years old and looking back at my teenage years and early twenties I suffered with ignorance to my condition too. I had manic wild nights and ’bouts of depression which I thought was normal and just “me,” when really, when I finally got help, I was relived to know that I didn’t have to live a manic depressive life.
Meanwhile, on the RHOBH “Denise” is at dinner with the girls and blatantly deflects when the girls ask her about an alleged affair with “Brandi.” Then in” Lisa’s” private interview she says the word “deflection” with regards to “Denise” over and over and I thought about other kinds of mental illness like personality disorders. I am not saying “Denise” has a personality disorder, but she has shown deceptive signs of manipulative behavior that one might associate with another form of mental illness. It’s up in the air if the two women really had an affair, but watching “Denise” deny and deflect really points to my belief she is guilty of having an affair, and sheds light on her own mental health status. This alleged affair is a contentious debate that continues to go on and apparently we’re going to find out more during the reunion episode that is set to air shortly. It got me thinking about people in my life that have deflected or worse have gas lighted me over the years. I would just take it cause I didn’t know any better, I didn’t know much about people that behaved that way. I became a victim to their condition if that’s what you want to call it, and now I won’t tolerate it anymore.
The Housewives are a pop culture phenomenon that has die-hard fans and allows the opportunity for viewers to learn about mental health issues on multiple levels. I hope people that tune in can see how these “rich beautiful housewives” on the East Coast and West Coast might not be that different then the rest of us who also suffer from mental health issues, or have people around us that do. I mean don’t even get me started on “Vanderpump” of Beverly Hills Housewives or “Bethenny” of New York City Housewives, both of which are no longer on the show. And some might argue that both of them have narcissistic personality disorder as well.