Naomi, Naomi

May 12, 2010

It was sad for me to see Naomi Campbell get bashed in the media over this past week.  I know.  It’s hard to feel empathy for someone who attacks people.  However, it takes some true reflection to acknowledge that you have a problem.  I believed her tears on Oprah and did not take her for a “petulant diva”.  It’s hard to feel empathy for someone when you think they can control their behavior, but the case with people who have untreated issues such as Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder is that they often are not in control of their impulses.  Her taking responsibility is a good sign that she is ready for change. 

She spoke of her abandonment issues which would lead some people to think she has some sort of personality disorder, as this is usually a part of the early history with those who suffer from those disorders.   This may in fact be part of the problem with Naomi.  However, her behavior in my opinion, seems more reflective of someone with Bipolar Disorder.  This disorder is often referred to as “Manic-Depressive” Disorder.   Let’s go down the list of symptoms, and see if any of Naomi’s behavior fits in ( the focus here is on manic symptoms since we do no know Naomi well enough to discuss the depressive side if there is one): 

A distinct period of elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting at least 4 days, that is clearly different from normal.

In Naomi’s case, she has increased irritability and agitation that seems to come and go. She is not constantly hitting people.  It happens once or twice a year, the norm for most people with Bipolar Disorder. Manic episodes tend to occur a few times per year.

Other Symptoms that may occur during a Manic Episode include:

1.  Inflated Self-esteem and Grandiosity:  Hitting someone with a phone or other object seems a bit grandiose.  And I am unable to get the image of Naomi walking away from jail after she finished her community service sentence in an evening gown… Very grandiose.  It screamed “I am better than all of you”.

2.  Decreased need for sleep

3.  More talkative than usual

4.  Flight of ideas or the subjective experience that thoughts are racing.

5.  Distractibility

6.  Euphoria

7.  Aggressive Behavior Check

8.  Risky Behavior  I would say it is pretty risky to attack people, especially strangers as was the case earlier this year with the reporter who apparently asked her about her potentially controversial diamond.  She is often putting her career in jeopardy.

9.  Spending Sprees or Unwise Financial Choices

10.  Poor Judgment  Check.   Recent poor choices include fleeing the scene after the alleged altercation with her boyfriend’s limo driver earlier this year.

11.  Inability To Concentrate

12.  Careless use of Drugs and Alcohol  Has a history, says has been clean and sober for one year.

13.  Delusions or a Break From Reality

14.  Frequent Absences for Work or School

15.  Extreme Optimism

This list was compiled by using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition, Text Revision published in 2000 by the American Psychiatric Association, and on which many health practitioners heavily rely upon for making diagnoses because it provides a standard.  That information was combined with a list of symptoms from the National Institute of Mental Health, see:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder/complete-index.shtml

We don’t know Naomi well enough at all to make a final diagnosis and we cannot possibly fill in all the gaps. Also, one doesn’t need to have ALL the symptoms to qualify.  Nonetheless, her behavior is unfortunately providing us with some good examples of Bipolar Symptoms.

How do people get Bipolar Disorder?  It usually it runs in families just as Mood Disorders tend to do. However, just so you know a large amount of people who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who exhibit behavior similar to Bipolar Disorder.

There are many subtypes of Bipolar Disorder.  If you believe you may be suffering from the disorder, talk it over with your doctor.

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10 Responses to “Naomi, Naomi”

  1. yoy50 said

    O my goodness! Okay… I haven’t read the article but I’m so glad someone is truly going to address her terrible behavior. ok– am reading the article now…

    😉

  2. yoy50 said

    Okay… I’ve read this well written article so here’s my response in a nutshell… I promise to keep this as short as I can… (but this IS a great article).

    While it’s probably true that she has abandonment issues, I personally find it hard to believe that justifies her behavior. I also believe that bipolar is an excuse for some who may simply be victims of being spoiled. In her case, through the industry she’s been immersed in as a young girl. After all, she’s been surrounded by ‘yes people’ for most of her years.

    I don’t know her, never met her BUT I’ve met many celebs (including Janet when she hit the scene with her “Control” LP) and she displayed this poor behavior too. Shoot– now that I think about, Whitney had the same inter-workings within her as well.

    While I do want to continue to ‘stick by’ Naomi, I think she’s definitely manipulative and a spoiled ‘brat’. Her recent interview on Oprah really didn’t impress me. Yes, there are symptoms on this check list, but I seriously think she’s become a spoiled ‘diva’ type thanks to the toxic environment that has been afforded to her as a ‘super model’.

    I happened to work with a bipolar personality years ago and she never became violent. She was on a “mood roller coaster”, if you will. She was extremely high or happy (chatty), and then one day she’d come to work very, very sad and depressed for no reason (by her own admission). But she was never, ever violent. (That was even years before Mike Tyson was the poster child for bipolar.) Naomi’s tears on Oprah revealed only one thing to me, when the questions got ‘tough’ (at least in Naomi’s mind), she did the next best thing for empathy, which is to cry. I mean, who “attacks” a crying woman?

    I think bipolar is a very real issue, but I don’t think Naomi applies here. Naomi has been punching and fighting and having tantrums for a very long time. The fashion industry she’s in actually supports and encourages her (along with other models and celeb types) to behave badly– her high and mighty attitude has been supported for a very long time. It’s supported because they are on ‘her’ payroll.

    I’m not sure of which reference is made about her community service that was forced, but the one that comes to my mind is that she ‘reported for duty’ dressed to the 9’s instead of actually being humbled by her ‘sentence’, appropriately dressed and prepared to get down and dirty for her community enforced work.

    I do think that more of us (black folks) need to get therapy (if needed) and not be embarrassed because of it, but in Naomi’s case, well– I think you’re being a bit generous. If I had one afternoon with Naomi, I’m certain she’d admit to her being a diva, instead. In short, she’s a diva and she knows that. “glad to see her taking responsibility”, well… that remains to be seen. She’s a beauty on the outside but ugly from within and I think her faculties are totally intact (in other words, she’s aware of what she does).

    Great article because I do agree– black folks should never be ashamed to accept therapy to work through our issues. Every human has issues is my thought. But hey… that’s just my 2 cents! 😉

    P.S. Please excuse all typos.

    • Thank you so much for your thought provoking comments. No, we can’t know for sure what her issues are and it could boil down to diva stuff or even some bad PMS. But, she certainly has some prominent signs and symptoms of this disorder. Not everyone with it can get violent, by the way, but I have come across quite a few who do.

      She has unfortunately become a poster child for psychotherapy.
      Whatever is going on with her she needs to get help.

      Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

  3. yoy50 said

    May I call you, perhaps; “M.I.P.” (for makeitplainonline)? I actually like to greet people when responding/or writing. Gosh I hope that will work– I’ve become use to abbreviating a persons screen name is all(smiles)… 🙂

    I do agree, she does exhibit some of the signs (love the PMS reference too, chuckles and then LOL!!!) It’s actually good to know that all who suffer from this state of mind do not become violent. Maybe my experience with my co-worker was a lucky break (in that sense). It’s good to know that not everyone will bite off an ear or crack us over the head with a cell phone (puns intended). HAHAHA!!

    Really, this was such a great article, well… it moved me! Keep up the good work!!! You’ve been officially bookmarked! (winks and hugs, lady)

    Peace– Why O’ Why!

  4. yoy50 said

    hahaha! I’m sure you’re ribbing me on THAT! (smiles)

    I very sincerely hope that M.I.P. is truly okay cuz, I’m digging your style, dialogue and come-backs…

    We MUST have tea and crumpets one of these days after some chicken and waffles!!!! LOL! You see– I’m pretty funny too! 🙂

  5. yoy50 said

    Hi MIP! Just wanted to reply. I guess I need to learn to turn the ringer off– got a call from overseas was awakened and thought about ya’!

    Can’t wait for your next post here. Peace, lady! Take care. 😉

  6. bklyngoverness said

    WOW WOW WOW!! Loved your article. I’ve always thought that she may suffer from more than Super Diva Disease and finally someone has said that may be the case. I appreciate your analysis and am eagerly awaiting the your next insightful article. You should definetely send your card to her agent…I think you would do her a better service than whomever she’s seeing.

  7. THE CHARLIE SHEEN ADDENDUM

    I just wanted to note a few things. Many mental health clinicians do not have adequate training in addiction and so improper diagnoses are made too often when they are considering substance abusers.

    Many mental health practitioners are running around diagnosing Charlie Sheen with Bipolar Disorder, but you cannot do this with an addict and especially not with one who has used so recently.

    He has been clean/abstinent from cocaine for maybe a few weeks at best. It can really take six months of clean time for your brain chemicals to restore to a normal state after a long term history of cocaine use.

    After a few weeks of clean time your brain chemicals understand that there is no more cocaine coming so they start to overproduce feel-good chemicals again on their own. This lasts for a few weeks and has been referred to as a “honeymoon” phase because suddenly the person feels really good because brain chemicals are in overdrive. Guess what? They may even look like someone with Bipolar Disorder.

    The chemicals finally readjust to a normal state. Then the substance abuser has to deal with that normal state which they may not have known for some time and that may be uncomfortable. They are at risk for relapse because of this.

    After six months to a year of abstinence, then and only then can you diagnose him with another psychiatric disorder besides the substance abuse.

    At the end of the day Charlie may walk away with a bipolar diagnoses if he can stay clean. I am just saying it is not good practice to make this diagnosis too soon.

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