Though Leah McSweeney won fans over quicker than perhaps any other first-season housewife ever in Bravo history, there's one person that the RHONY struggled to please throughout her debut season — her co-star Ramona Singer.
Throughout Season 12 of the popular Bravo series, the two butted heads, as Ramona judged Leah's youth, manner of speaking, and dancing. Their drama came to a head when Ramona brought up Leah's mental health.
Instead of letting Ramona discuss a subject without direct knowledge on it, Leah got ahead of the issue and opened up about her bipolar II diagnosis.
Is Leah on RHONY bipolar? The Married to the Mob creator got candid about her mental health.
Is 'RHONY' star Leah McSweeney bipolar?
The reality star has been sober since March of 2020 (after Season 12 of RHONY concluded shooting). Before that, her drinking was a major topic of discussion on the show, mainly for Ramona.
When Ramona accused Leah of mixing alcohol with antidepressants, the mom of one stated that it was "repulsive as f--k" to talk about someone else's mental health. She then discussed her past battles for the first time at length on the show.
"I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder on my 30th birthday, and really dedicated the last seven years of my life to getting it under control and to getting myself to a good place," Leah shared in a confessional on the show. "I'm not even on medication for bipolar II disorder, so for her to even be talking about it in this way is despicable."
That confessional in July of 2020 may have been the first time Leah shared the background of her mental health on the show, but it wasn't the first time she discussed it publicly.
In 2016, Leah opened up in an essay for HypeBae about how it took a while to get answers with regards to her mental health.
She recalled how her therapist initially diagnosed her with clinical depression. Upon reflecting on his text interactions with Leah, the therapist stated that he believed she had bipolar II disorder.
He put her on medication, which she said turned her into a "zombie." Eventually, she found a treatment that worked for her.
"For a long time I felt sorry for myself that I had to deal with this. It takes up a lot of time. Self-introspection, meditation, doctor appointments, adjusting to meds, getting off meds, AA meetings, etc," she wrote for HypeBae. "It's a full-time job keeping myself mentally healthy."
The streetwear designer was getting herself to a better place, but there was a lot of work to be done to help others understand mental health.
"The stigma around seeking help and admitting a chemical imbalance or emotional and mental issues seems to plague our society," she added.
What is bipolar II disorder?
Per the American Psychiatric Association, bipolar II disorder "involves a person having at least one major depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode ... People return to usual function between episodes. People with bipolar II often first seek treatment because of depressive symptoms, which can be severe. People with bipolar II often have other co-occurring mental illnesses such as an anxiety disorder or substance use disorder."
In addition to being a breath of fresh air on RHONY, Leah also started an important conversation about mental health and how it's OK to not be OK.
You can catch up on past seasons of The Real Housewives of New York on Hulu or on Peacock.