This post is about examining the psychological disorders displayed by the various Real Housewives. Disclaimer: I do have a psychology degree but I am not a practicing psychologist. These writings are for entertainment only—mine, to be frank.
I can only analyze behavior I have witnessed on the Bravo series or from reliable sources (such as direct interviews with the participants or court documents). Read this with that in mind.
I believe that RHONYC's Ramona is a prime example of cyclothymia. Cyclothymic disorder is a mild form of bipolar disorder whereby a person has mood swings from mild or moderate depression to euphoria and excitement, but stays connected to reality.
With cyclothymia, people experience periods when their mood noticeably fluctuates from their normal state. They may feel on top of the world for a time, followed by a low period when they feel somewhat blue. Between these highs and lows, they may feel stable and fine. Compared with bipolar disorder, the highs and lows of cyclothymia are much less extreme.
People with cyclothymia are almost always fully functioning, sometimes they are even hyper-productive. The unpredictable nature of the mood shifts may significantly disrupt their life because they never know how they're going to feel—and they can't just will themselves to live life on an even keel. It can also have an impact on those around them as they interact with the person.
We have all witnessed Ramona Singer's mood swings while watching the Real Housewives. She can be flying high one minute and the next in tears. The first episode of this season had Ramona hosting an event on her boat, full of euphoric talk of her *renewal*. Shortly afterward there is an argument with her co-stars and Ramona is in tears, her party ruined, referring to how inappropriate and harsh the mean girls are. Cut to a few moments later and she is back to party mode. Even with editing this was a most likely during a very short period of time.
During her highs, Ramona often seems to be in her own world. She often honestly seems to not realize how her behavior affects others. She can be very aggressive in the way she interacts. Her speech becomes rapid as she communicates, ideas coming from all different directions. She is easily agitated. You can witness people often trying to get a word in edgewise during a Ramona barrage. You can also see Ramona grow more and more insistent with others as she tries to over-correct or justify what she has said or done. She says inappropriate things at the most inappropriate moments on a regular basis.
Ramona is often very blunt and direct. While I enjoy this about her it is not adored by all. She directs this unedited conversation at both friend and foe alike. I do not think her utterances are hostile, indeed I think she often just lacks an edit button. Afterward she can be very apologetic and shows definite guilt for her behavior harming anyone's feelings. She also is not always this way so I believe at some points she can control herself but during others she cannot. Prime example of this was when she told Bethenny on the Brooklyn Bridge that she would end up with no one. We have witnessed this behavior directed towards all the housewives at various times though.
While we witness periods of chaos, Ramona has maintained several businesses. She has RMS Fashions, True Faith Jewelry, Ramona Singer Jewelry and a skin care line called Tru Renewal. Ramona is very successful with these endeavors and seems to have another new business venture every season. I think if her illness were the more severe Bipolar that this would not be likely.
Signs and symptoms of hypomanic episodes of cyclothymia may include:
- Unusually good mood or cheerfulness (euphoria)
- Extreme optimism
- Inflated self-esteem
- Poor judgment
- Rapid speech
- Racing thoughts
- Aggressive or hostile behavior
- Being inconsiderate of others
- Increased physical activity
- Risky behavior
- Spending sprees
- Increased drive to perform or achieve goals
- Increased sexual drive
- Decreased need for sleep
- Tendency to be easily distracted
- Inability to concentrate
Signs and symptoms of depressive episodes of cyclothymia may include:
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
- Sleep problems
- Appetite problems
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Decreased sex drive
- Problems concentrating
- Chronic pain without a known cause