I’m surprised that this is news, since we’ve been with Amber Portwood for the last three years, through her teen pregnancy and abusive relationship with her daughter Leah‘s father Gary Shirley. But she has just revealed to E! Online that probably right before her stint on 16 and Pregnant, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. And when she went to rehab following a suicide attempt in June, she got another diagnosis. As she explains,
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder three years ago. I struggle with it. I hate it. I grieve over it. When I went to rehab for two months, they diagnosed me with disassociative disorder too, which makes me black out. People don’t understand what it’s like.
Amber says “disassociative,” but we assume that she means one of the issues that falls under dissociative disorder. It’s actually an incredibly fitting diagnosis; according to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms include “a sense of being detached from yourself (depersonaliation)” and “a blurred sense of identity.” If anyone were to suffer from this, it’d be a reality star who sees her actions warped and a marketable identity pushed forward by the network. (I’m not absolving Amber from blame; though I haven’t seen Teen Mom, it sounds like she’s a pretty shitty mother. Obviously she wasn’t entirely innocent before the editors played around with the footage.)
It sounds like Amber’s come forward with this candid information about her mental health in order to explain the violence that MTV has captured on-camera. She also claims that the only interaction she has with viewers are people who want to see if they can crack her:
I’m sick and tired of people bashing me every time I leave my house. When I go out, I mind my own business, but people try to fight me and get me going because I guess they think I’m most famous for fighting Gary… Yes, I did hit Gary, and what people saw was an angry Amber who reacted to the father of her child telling her he had cheated on her.
People pick on me just to see if I’ll fight them. They think I’m this hard person, but I’m not! I’m a good person.
Amber deleted her Twitter account (as we suggested) after her suicide attempt, so any news we’ll hear through interviews or the next season of Teen Mom. Her mantra in this article was “I just want people to know that people change”—season 4 should be starting up on January 5, so we’ll see if Amber’s pushing the same message on-camera.