Bipolar and Mentally Ill Moms

July 8, 2013
Dr. Phil goes behind the stigma of mental illness to show how it’s affecting two families. Amanda, 24, is a mother of two who says she’s bipolar, and that during manic episodes, she becomes violent and screams, yells and shakes. Amanda says that despite her illness, her sister, Rianne, and mom, Lori, are insensitive and mean to her — but they say they believe Amanda may be taking advantage of her diagnosis. Rianne says Amanda acts out and uses her illness as an excuse — including an incident in which Rianne claims Amanda punched her in the face and lied to police about it. Then, Jenny is a 53-year-old mother of three who says she suffers from dissociative identity disorder, formally known as multiple personality disorder. She says she has 22 “alters,” whom she calls “parts of me.” Jenny reveals the traumatic childhood experiences that she believes caused her to take on multiple personalities. And, Jenny’s son, Robert, 30, shares what life was like growing up with Jenny. Then, Jenny's biographer, Judy, a retired therapist who wrote Twenty-Two Faces, based on Jenny’s journals and their sessions together, joins the show to defend herself against accusations that she may be exploiting Jenny. 







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Amanda and LoriAmandaRianneLoriJennyJudyRobertJennyJudy

“I’m Bipolar, But My Family Is Driving Me Crazy”

Amanda says she was diagnosed with as bipolar in 2010 and that her family is insensitive and mean to her about her mental illness.

Amanda’s sister, Rianne, says Amanda was taking medication for her condition, but it made her sick, so she stopped taking it. She says Amanda’s behavior now is oftentimes violent and volatile and that Amanda has threatened to jump off a roof and punched her in the nose. “She can go from zero to 60 in three seconds,” Rianne says. “Any little thing can set her off.”

While Rianne says she believes Amanda has a mental illness, she says she thinks that her sister takes advantage of it. Rianne says she was discharged from the military because Amanda lied and told the police that Rianne kicked her in the stomach while 8 months pregnant, as their mother, Lori, held Amanda down. Rianne says she was in jail for 5 days, and Lori for 4 days.


Amanda and her family open up about Amanda’s illness. And, see what Dr. Phil cameras capture at Amanda’s home. Plus, find out why Amanda says she had no choice but to punch her sister in the face.

Must-See: Learn about an incident where Amanda says Rianne kicked her in the stomach when she was 8 months pregnant. And, the sisters face off.

Lori joins the show and explains the incident that got her and Rianne arrested. And, Amanda shares why her boyfriend was a no-show to Dr. Phil



Dr. Phil tells the family, “Half of the solution to any problem lies in defining the problem. Once you know what the issues are, then there are powerful tools that we can get helping you manage the situation.” He continues, “There’s no reason for there to be a stigma about mental illness any more than if you had some other disorder or disease.”

Dr. Phil tells Amanda he would like to send her to the PNP Center, and she accepts the help. He tells Amanda, Rianne and Lori that mental illness affects the entire family, and he offers professional help for the three of them.


Twenty-Two Faces

Jenny says she suffers from dissociative identity disorder, historically called multiple personality disorder, and has 22 “alters,” which she calls “pieces of me.”

Jenny’s therapist of 20 years, Judy, has written a book based on Jenny’s journals and their sessions together, entitled Twenty-Two Faces. In the book, Judy says that Jenny was severely abused as a child. She also says Jenny experienced a human sacrifice ceremony and satanic ritual as a child where 30 people tortured Jenny and another girl while the children were tied up and bound.

Jenny’s son, Robert, says he takes issue with his mother’s therapist. “Judy is taking advantage of my mom,” he says. “My mom is a real person, and she has a real story to be told and I don’t think this is it.”

“Jenny is not making up this stuff,” Judy says in defense, adding the book was Jenny’s idea.

Robert says Jenny’s stories have become more salacious over time and that it’s difficult to know what the truth is.


Robert shares what growing up with Jenny as a mother was like. “Sometimes she’d just start being someone else.” Plus, hear from Judy, about Jenny’s most predominant "alters."

Judy defends her book to Robert — and her multiple personality diagnosis.

Robert says Judy served him with a cease and desist letter — find out why. And, Jenny shares what matters to her most.