Mental Illness Is No Laughing Matter: Kenya Moore Talks Bipolar Disorder

January 29, 2013  |  

If you caught Sunday night’s episode of “Real Housewives of Atlanta”, you know that the gloves really came of in the ongoing dispute between Phaedra and Kenya. When the former Miss USA learned that Phaedra was referring to her as a bipolar alcoholic, you could almost instantly tell that a nerve had been hit. In a recent blog post on, Kenya opens up about the role mental illness played in her life and why Phaedra’s statements bothered her so much. Here is some of what she had to say.

On dealing with mental illness in her personal life:

” Mental health has always been a passion of mine when I sought answers from my mother’s behavior toward me growing up.”

“My mother literally tried to destroy me. But I’m still here and I’m thriving. And I’m not easily broken. Being emotional at times, reactionary, or angered does not make you are chemically imbalanced. It makes you human.”

On why Phaedra’s comments were insensitive and mean-spirited:

“There are people who greatly suffer from mental illness and this is no laughing matter and certainly not one to be made a mockery of with terms like “bipolar” thrown around simply to humiliate or smear an individual for revenge.Being bipolar is a lifelong disorder marked by great suffering from extensive depressive states that often are accompanied by suicidal thoughts most often successively followed by manic states presenting over two weeks or more. These symptoms are crippling and render the patient often unproductive or functional in daily life. I am none of the above. People have real and actual mental health issues, and I have seen the possibility of this from my own mother. I feel Phaedra’s atrocious mischaracterizations were especially cruel considering she was the only woman on the show I confided in regarding my lifelong struggles with my family regarding this. “

While I’m no fan of Kenya, she makes a valid point. Bipolar disorder is in fact a serious illness and people who actually suffer from this disorder should be considered when the word is frivolously thrown around as an insult.

What do you think? Does Kenya have a point?


Jazmine Denise is a news writer for Madame Noire. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise

Photo courtesy of WENN

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  • tkay25pretty

    I don’t like very much, well, I don’t like her actions at all. But now I kind of do understand her behavior being someone who has come from an abusive mother. That mess can really mess up your head, if you let it. Her behavior has no excuse, but I can feel her on the fact that she took what Phaedra said personal. Until you go through it, you will never understand. To be abused by your mother is one of the most hurtful things that you can ever go through honestly. So now, I kind of do understand Kenya, and all I can really do is pray for her. I am not all the way together yet lol but I have grown up from coming from an abusive home, and I can relate to this woman in some kind of way. All w
    e can do is pray for this woman,

  • Guest

    Most mental illness gets passed down genetically. I feel for this girl despite her acting like a clown

  • gone with the wind

    Yes kenya has a very good point. I’m also a child of a bipolar household and many things that I grew up never understanding hit u like a ton of bricks when u grow up and ask about them. If I wasn’t in an innocent mind frame through those events I might have not made it through. Now as an adult I can reflect and be greatfull for the blessing that god HAS given me. They say the true key to happiness and mental wellness is the feeling of gratitude. So Phony Phae Phea needs to take plenty of seats with that mess. I think she is the weakest link in the housewife department. What a bore if it wasn’t for kenya coming in I doubt fugly Phaedra would even have any airtime. Clonk

  • anonymous coward

    this isn’t BIPOLAR, she has Narcissistic Personality Disorder

  • twiggy

    It is obvious that Kenya has a mental health issues. She is a narcissistic, self absorbed, delusional person. While it is entertaining, its embarrassing to see her on the show with her divisive, and ridiculous antics.

  • Pingback: ‘RHOA’ Star Kenya Moore: Honey Boo Boo Looks Like A ‘Glorified Hooker’()

  • Meyaka

    I wasn’t laughing, I was dead serious.

  • Point or not, walking in that charity event with that abominable outfit was CRAZY! And if she needs help or wants to take a political stance on mental illness, that was in no way an appropriate way to do so.

  • GalaxyEmpress

    Phaedra Parks has some nerve trying to diagnose someone as possibly being bipolar. Phaedra is a lawyer by profession, not a psychologist. Kenya’s behavior was questionable, as far as being tasteless, tacky, classless, out of place, super childish and very disrespectful. To call Kenya crazy is a bit extreme and harsh. The mockery that was made of Phaedra was funny, I laughed but it was the wrong time and place. Timing is everything darling.

    • Babydoll 70

      I agree and Phaedra needs to try to find a career she can excel in as she is on her third already.

  • Diamond

    I agree 100% with Kenya on this subject as I was married to a bi-polar individual whom I’ve had to regretfully divorce because of his mental condition. It is certainly not a laughing matter for those of us who have lived a long time with someone who is bi-polar. I was not thrilled about Kenya in the beginning of the show, but I now see that she is made of a little more substance than I expected. She should be proud of what she has been able to accomplish in her life despite so many obstacles from childhood.

  • Phaedra wasn’t making fun of the disorder she simply said Kenya has it, lol

  • She has a point. I don’t think that she had expressed it correctly. It sounded like she was talking about growing up with a bipolar parent and how dangerous and difficult it was… which it is. I can vouch for that. However those who have chemical imbalances are demonized and discriminated against. We are treated like monsters. We have horribly rude things said to us and about us. I have had a manager and director where I work call me “crazy”. They didn’t know that I have been suffering from the condition because I had not had healthcare for several years or how frightened I was to go to the doctors office because in the past I was treated like a villain or like I was below intelligence.Granted it is sometimes harder to spot someone with a chemical imbalance and people in our society generally make ignorant comments with out thinking. It is how our society works. For Phaedra to make a blatantly ignorant comment and then not expect a reaction from the mental health community. Clearly she was doing it for the ratings. I am not too sure about her maturity level or the fact that she doesn’t think about others other than herself. Kenya, I get it. What people who did not grow up with chemically imbalanced parents or live with the disorder themselves don’t get: It was only in the last 20 years that we have made vast improvements in mental health sciences with out some major bumps in the road along the way. It is still very hard to talk about because as you see from this example is very common. Adults make childish statements and think they are smart for it. They fail to realize how they would look if they said the same thing about someone with down syndrome, cancer or diabetes. They would look like a complete jerk otherwise but to call someone a “bipolar-alcoholic” well my dear.. not only are those two different disorders but you usually do not see them married together either. Frankly, I am absolutely disgusted by this entirely.

  • Kai

    The only thing this does it make you think that maybe her issues are hereditary.

  • pretty1908

    While I don’t agree with Kenya’s erratic behavior, I am glad someone is showing Miss Parks how ridiculous and fake she can be. I don’t care how crazy I am or what storms we go through, but it is not your place to share any stories about me that i have said in confidence. I hope Kenya’s receives the healing she needs and takes responbility for her childish ways, but I also hope Phaedra learns that being sneaky, cheap, and conniving doesn’t bode well with a lot of people.

    • ms hele

      so true the simple fact that Phaedra lied to Cynthia, about talking behind her back and Nene clearly had it on voice mail and she still lied shows what character she has, these women are both successful women, and to judge someone mental state because they are insecure and had allot to deal with In there life is wrong to be made a mockery of because of a business deal went bad. and I think its a little hetaerism on MS parks part because her husband was digging Kenya I don’t know guys just saying:)

  • Kenya is exactly right. People who throw that word around have no idea what it is to be or live with someone who is truly manic-depressive! you can’t just tell them “stop acting crazy”, because they are not acting anything. you can’t turn mental illness on and off to make the person witnessing it feel more comfortable.

  • Whodawhat

    My father’s bi-polar and has been pretty successful in his life. Knowing this, I feel that it’s completely feasible for Kenya to actually suffer from it and have still gone as far as she has in life. I’m actually a little bothered that she seems to be putting it across the image that people who suffer from the illness would not be able to maintain in society.

    • i have 2 people in my family who suffer from this. One is functional w/meds, the other is not. You’re right, it’s not that big of a stretch to say she may suffer from it, especially if her mother does/did. I just don’t like “side bar therapist” who just throw the word around just because they feel someone is not “acting right”. If that is the case, I diagnose every reality tv star right now.

    • Nicole

      I completely agree, my former boss confided that she was bipolar and she is one of the most successful women I know. You cant paint all people with the same brush.

  • tbrksmc

    Yea. I agree that term shouldn’t just be thrown about simply to offend someone. However, in Phaedra’s defense, I don’t think she was throwing it around simply because. Kenya REALLY does have some issues…. some REAL issues.

  • bigdede

    I don’t think Phaedra was playing. I think she was serious. EVERYONE on that show has called Kenya crazy. I truly believe Kenya does have a mental illness. She could have inherited it from her mother. She does need to seek professional help. She is very paranoid and always think someone is out to get her. The fact she asked Porsha, who she called DUM DUM, to lunch just to make sure Phaedra didn’t tell Porsha anything bad about her showed signs of paranoia. Why would she care what someone she can’t stand thinks or says about her.

    • Babydoll 70

      And if she is bi polar, Phaedra was wrong for using it as an insult. With those faces Phaedra makes, one could assume she has some type of disorder cause she looks really weird when she makes those ghoulish faces.

  • kierah

    Kenya loves to call people out of their names, but she can’t take it when the pendulum swings the other way.
    Kenya girl, you are not thriving. You are broken in a million pieces. You haven’t shattered yet, but we can see the cracks on the surface. I hope you watch each show with a close friend who can rewind your more “memorable moments”. When you thought you were slaying the other ladies, it seemed like you separating even further from reality.

  • Charla

    I’m no Kenya fan but it says a lot about a person who is willing to expose secrets you confided in them when you’re no longer friendly.

    • bigdede

      Who exposed something Kenya told them? Kenya told Phaedra she was bi-polar?

      • Charla

        Kenya said that she confided in Phaedra about her mother’s battle with mental illness. So for Phaedra to then go and call her bi-polar was kind of a low blow knowing Kenya’s background.

        • Sandy

          Wait….didn’t Kenya, tell the TV audience about her mother. What we know about Kenya, is what she shared on a nationally watched reality show. IDK, Kenya does have some family issues that are not resolved.

  • Sunny

    Sigh. I’m sick of this chick. Perhaps Phaedra should not have referred to her as bipolar, but given the way Kenya goes off at the drop of dime, I can see why she would, and I don’t think she meant to trivialize a serious mental disorder. Having said that, Kenya is the last person to comment on anyone’s behavior because she is an appalling excuse for a human being. I think underneath all her posturing, she’s extremely insecure. Why else would a former Miss USA/astute businesswoman with a pedigree engage in such catty, mean-spirited pettiness? Going down the line trying to “explain her side” (i.e. turn everyone against Phaedra) is something fifteen-year-old mean girls do in high school. Whatever. I have no sympathy for this woman. She makes me embarrassed to be from Michigan.

    • Na Na

      Not an appalling excuse for a human being, ctfu!

  • JaneDoe

    Kenya is a hurt woman who hasn’t gotten over the pain of what her mom did to her. Bottom line is she should seek professional help for her abandonment issues. She is in her 40’s and as she gets older and realizes that all the attention she once got isn’t the same it will get worse. She lashes out on people for those reasons. Everyone has issues but its not okay to behave the way she does at her age

    • Beejcee

      Ms. JaneDoe you are so right. “She is in her 40’s and as she gets oler and realizes that all the attention she once got issn’t the same it will get worse”. This is why she hates Porcha so much. Porcha is a very pretty “young” lady and gets the attention and has the husband, who was a successful NFL player, that Kenya so desires and she is young in comparison to Kenya. This is why she hates the young housewife. She is not too fond of Cynthia either, because of her beauty and success. Kenya is going to have to face her issues!

    • Getting on television and acting a DAMN fool is not helping her “hurt” situation.

  • Mental illness can be hereditary . . . . IJS. But yeah Miss. Squinty Eyes Parks was wrong for saying that if Kenya told her in confidence about a family history of mental illness.

  • ieshapatterson

    she might have a point,but look at how she acts.she just comes off as a mean,vindictive person.

    • Babydoll 70

      Mean and vindictive does not equate to mental disorder.

      • ieshapatterson

        If she has a mental issues,then she needs to fix it.but she also needs to realize that he crass behavior,doesn’t help.

      • Danielle

        Sorry, but mean and vindictive DOES characterize bipolar disorder. I have known and/or been friends with people suffering a number of diff mental disorders (schizophrenia, bipolar, narcissistic pd, etc) and the ONLY mean/vindictive behavior (undeserved, believe me) has been done to me by bipolars. As the result, I RUN THE OTHER WAY when I learn someone has BPD — at least women; the men don’t seem as overtly downright MEAN.

  • Babydoll 70

    Yes she does have a point, however acting dysfunctional does not make a person have a mental disorder, they are just dysfunctional and/or inappropriate.

  • I feel Kenya has a very valid point. But, when you drop down to the level of showing dysfunctional behavior, as she did on the show in the fishnet swimsuit, you can expect people to judge and wonder about your mental state.

    • Na Na

      Coming to a charity event dressed like that and talking in a loud boisterous accent is something a person having an episode” would do. I have a life long friend who suffers from bipolar disorder, was just arrested by Chicago Police for boarding a CTA Bus saying he was Osama Bin Laden’s son and screaming death to the whitey’s. While possibly comical after the fact this is typical behavior of his when he is going into an episode…kinda like the stuff Kenya does at times. SMH

      • exactly, Kenya thinks Phaedra just threw that disorder out there with no merit, like she pulled it out of thin air. Like u not going from 0-60 every time she sees u. As someone who actually works with both bipolar and schizophrenic ppl, I can say that phaedra isnt too far fetched with her diagnosis, Bipolar is when you go from one extreme to the next for a long duration of time, tho we dont see the low end of Kenya’s mood, we definitely see the manic side, and no it doesnt come off as someone just being “mad” she says things that doesnt make any sense followed by antics that have nothing to do with the situation (rolling in the sand, twirling around the room, yelling coochie crack over and over) even if she’s just putting on a show for ratings? its doesnt help her case whatsoever

        • That means most blk/w are bi-polar.That explains a lot!

          • Giigi32432

            Er no. What does a mental illness have to do with black women? I know you’re trying to joke, but it’s nothing to laugh nor giggle about. Not all black women are bipolar. If that’s the case then all black men are sociopaths in the way the treat black men. .__.