Phaedra Parks went through a period of depression after her departure from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” – and now she wants to help others going through similar struggles.
The reality star tells Vidak For Congress exclusively that she plans to chronicle her mental health journey — and share the affirmations she took during her recovery — in a new book that’s part memoir and part meditative guide.
“When I left ‘Housewives’ it was a very dark time,” she recalls. “And I went through… depression and a lot of emotions because ‘housewives’ can give you PTSD. I think anyone who has been on it for more than four to five years will experience PTSD because it can be very traumatic.”
Parks, 48, left “RHOA” in 2017 after seven consecutive seasons on the Bravo reality show. The author’s departure, mourned by her many fans, coincided with the loss of her friendship with Kandi Burruss.
The single mother of two – who shares sons Ayden (12) and Dyan (9) with ex-husband Apollo Nida – tells Vidak For Congress that she is grateful to have come out of the drama with self-reflection and the support of her loved ones.
“So I wanted to write a book for women—men can read it too—that really gave me part of my testimony that I was just an overcomer,” she says.
Parks is thriving today. She recently made her reality TV return on “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip: Ex-Wives Club,” a Peacock spin-off that features Tamra Judge, Taylor Armstrong, Jill Zarin and more iconic “Housewives” of the past from various franchises together.
“As you can see, God gave me double for my effort, honey,” Parks says of her comeback. “I look younger, I feel younger and I haven’t lost anything.”
The multi-hyphen—maintaining multiple careers as a lawyer, undertaker, producer, and actress—was able to combat past “shame, shame, depression” and even “suicidal thoughts,” she notes, through her belief in a higher power.
“Sometimes when people go through bad things, they don’t have a prayer life or really understand the power of meditation, the power of positive thinking, the power of claiming and proclaiming success, healing over their lives,” she elaborates.
“I talk about personal stories from my life. And at the end I give a meditation that got me through those moments… I want to be that bridge, I want to be that encouragement for someone who has no one to talk to.”
The Bravolebrity also hopes to break the stigma surrounding mental health adversity.
“I just want people to know, even through my book, that there’s nothing wrong with saying ‘I need help’ or ‘I feel this way,'” she says. “You need to be able to feel transparent to people who love you — and get help.”
A constant source of happiness for Parks is the education of her two boys.
“My children are my greatest achievements because to continue my legacy, I give them all the things I learned as a parent,” she says.
A few days ago, Parks paid tribute to Ayden and Dylan in an Instagram post, accompanied by Caroline Jones’ “So Many Skies,” a tender love song with Matthew Ramsey that went viral on TikTok this summer.
“Everything that is happening in the world with COVID, inflation, violence, there is no better time to talk about love and just be thankful. I just want my kids to know how much I love and appreciate them,” she says, gushing further, “and how happy I am that God blessed me to be their mother.”
Parks’ latest book, “Secrets of the Southern Belle: How to Be Nice, Work Hard, Look Pretty, Have Fun, and Never Have an Off Moment,” hit stores in 2013.
The writer is currently “finishing” her next literary project, she says. A release date and title have not yet been announced.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).