When I think
about Amanda Bynes, I think about her parents. I think about how it must feel
to watch your daughter deteriorate so extremely and so publicly, to watch the
little girl you raised and loved be so completely dismantled by a disease you
have no control over.
And to be
forced to stand back and do nothing, as she spirals even further down the
drain, seemingly intent on bringing you down with her.
admittedly, had a difficult time turning away from the Amanda Bynes drama as of
late. Maybe because she was an actress I actually used to really love (I mean,
have you seen "She’s the Man"—pretty
much a classic!) But also because it is terrifying to imagine mental illness
destroying a person with so much potential so completely.
I don’t watch
the news about her because I find it humorous or because I think I’m in on
some big national joke against her. I watch it because…it’s hard to look away.
Because my heart breaks for her and her family, and I keep waiting for some
sort of happy ending.
A happy ending
that doesn’t seem to be coming anytime soon.
For those of
you who haven’t been paying attention, Amanda
Bynes is in the middle of yet another very public meltdown. Most of this
has taken place via her twitter
account, but she has had a few public instances be heavily documented as
well—including her rants
to the paparazzi. She was put on a psychiatric hold for the second time
earlier last month, but was eventually released when a judge determined she
wasn’t a threat to herself or others. Her behavior is clearly erratic and
disturbing, but our system isn’t set up to force treatment on erratic and
disturbing. There has to be something more.
There has been
a lot of speculation surrounding what, exactly, Bynes is suffering from. Most
experts seem to think it is some combination of bi-polar
and schizophrenia. Given her recent behavior, including a series of tweets
in October where she accused her father of molesting her and then took it all
back, saying that the microchip in her brain made her say it, the combination
of those diagnoses seems to make sense. The onset of illness in her
mid-twenties also adds up. It's another terrifying thing to keep in mind, that you
could raise a happy and healthy child who just suddenly ceases being themselves
in adulthood, long past the point when you might have any kind of control to
My heart aches for this loss (her parents) are experiencing, as they approach one more holiday season with their daughter so far out of reach.
But does it
really matter what she is suffering from? The only thing that should be blatantly
clear to everyone is that something is very wrong with this poor girl.
So why isn’t
anyone doing anything to help?
parents have tried. They have tried desperately, in fact. For over a year, they
had a conservatorship over Bynes, giving them the ability to monitor her
treatments, how she spent her money, and what she did with her time. Amanda
seemed to be doing fairly well during that period, attending school and staying
away from social media. But when her conservatorship ended earlier this year, things
began to fall apart again.
uncommon for people who suffer from either of the above mentioned illnesses to
struggle with taking their medications. While these illnesses can be managed
and people can still go on to live productive lives after being diagnosed, it’s
hard. In Amanda’s case, it seems that she really would benefit from that more
constructive care. But apparently it can’t be forced upon her any longer. Her
parents are essentially helpless in getting their daughter back on track.
It's a fact made
all the more complicated by the ways Amanda has been lashing out against them
as of late. Over the weekend, she was allegedly recorded talking about how she would kill
her parents. Particularly about how she would like to slit her father’s wrists.
She did say she wouldn’t ever actually do it, but her words were pretty
difficult to ignore, “I want to, like, literally lead him into a ditch and… I
haven’t decided how I’d want to murder him, because now I have this war wound
on my face and I don’t believe in murder, but… I look at him as a murderer
person. Nothing would give me greater please than, like, slitting his throat.
That’s what I would love.”
What do you
even do if you’re a parent and your grown, very sick child, is recorded saying
something like that about you? How do you respond?
Amanda may say
she would never actually do it, but people with severe mental illnesses have
certainly been known to act in extreme and violent ways before. How close is
she to teetering on that edge?
And as a
parent, how do you react when your daughter has reached that point?
I look at my
little girl, and I can’t imagine. When I picture her future, there are a few
rough spots, sure, but I see her happy and productive, leading a successful
life. I can’t even begin to picture her facing a similar fate as Bynes. Or me,
trying to save her from a disease that there may be no saving from.
And so, when I
think of Amanda Bynes, I think of her parents. My heart aches for this loss
they are experiencing, as they approach one more holiday season with their
daughter so far out of reach. I’m sad for Bynes as well, of course, but I would
guess she has no idea how bad off she is at this point. Her parents though?
They know. They know the daughter they raised and the one now living on the
streets of LA are not one in the same. And they know they will probably never
get that first girl back.