I try to stay away from celebrity gossip on this website as much as possible because I do not believe in spreading rumors and looking through people’s business when such business should remain private. However, there are times when news of a celebrity (which is confirmed true) sparks a larger debate. There are also times when a celebrity that I have liked and followed in the past does something that grants a discussion. Amanda Bynes qualifies as such a case.
I know that there has been a lot written about Ms. Bynes in the past few months. There are so many articles that we have been subjected to. Most have seen the shaved head, the wigs, and the dog that Amanda has been running around with lately. Those who have investigated the case more may have read the tweets, the “ugly” comments directed at people like Drake and Michelle and Barack Obama, the arrests made, the ambitions to be a rap artist and clothing designer, and so on. There are a lot of places one could start at.
However, while some reports suggest that this has been a decade-long problem, it seems like the trouble began when Amanda was replaced in the adult comedy film Hall Pass. It was soon after this, in June of 2010, that Amanda officially “retired” from acting (by writing on her Twitter account, “I don’t love acting anymore, so I’ve stopped doing it”), then “unretired” in July of 2010, then retired again in September of 2012. Between March of 2012 and May of 2013, she has been ticketed, arrested, charged for two hit and run incidents (which were later settled out of court), given three years of driving probation, arrested again (in which the infamous and alleged foot-long marijuana bong was thrown out of the 36th floor of her apartment), and hospitalized with a 5150 hold (meaning 72 hours of involuntary hospitalization), which has just now been extended for two additional weeks.
This is not the Amanda Bynes that I thought I knew. This is not the Amanda Bynes that I know in my heart still exists. It is clear that she has been going through troubling times. But let’s go back to earlier times when Amanda was starring in such shows as Figure It Out, All That, The Amanda Show (which she landed when she was only thirteen), and What I Like About You, and staring in films like Big Fat Liar, What a Girl Wants (a personal favorite), She’s the Man, and Sydney White. I can’t tell you how many times I watched these shows and films as a child, particularly The Amanda Show (which featured wonderful characters like fan-obsessed Penelope Taynt, Judge Trudy—with her infamous dancing lobsters, Crazy Courtney, Amber—who “oozes” popularity, ungraceful Katie Klutz, Mother Caboose, and other roles) and the comedy/drama What a Girl Wants (which features Amanda Bynes as father-searching Daphne Reynolds). There was something about Ms. Bynes that was different from other celebrities. She was never just acting. She could turn even half-hearted writing into golden memorable lines because of the way that she delivered it and the amount of energy and passion that she put into her work. She had a gift.
This gift began earning her fame when she was seven. It’s been two decades and she continues to be in the (increasingly bright) spotlight. It’s no doubt a lot of pressure. Though the last film she acted in was three years ago, the media continues to draw attention to her (of which I admit to being partially responsible for by writing this post). Most likely, this pressure did not cause any mental illness, though it could add to the intensity of the symptoms.
Nevertheless, the state of her mental health has not been properly diagnosed yet, but is a valid concern to have. While some may claim that she is drawing attention to herself and is merely doing all of this to make the headlines, the behavior seems to have reached an extreme degree. Wearing different colored wigs, dancing in the streets (allegedly), and posting odd tweets on Twitter may be one thing, but throwing bongs out the window (or a plant vase, as Ms. Bynes claimed it was, though both could have killed a passerby on the streets) and trying to set fire to a neighbor’s house is on an entirely different level. As someone who has lost touch with reality during different points of my life, I can assure you that mental illness is not done for attention, but is a serious issue that can envelope a person completely. Based on the information above, I firmly believe that what Ms. Bynes needs is medical attention, which I hope is what she is getting while hospitalized. As mentioned above, she was sectioned a 5250, meaning she will be at the hospital for another two weeks. While it is involuntary, I hope that the time allows for a proper diagnosis. (If not, there is always a 5270, which gives a patient an extra 30 days, though I don’t know if that will be needed and there are currently no reports that indicate a doctor trying to push for that.) Once a diagnosis is made, a treatment can begin.
I look forward to Amanda Bynes’ future creative outputs (no matter if they are in rap, fashion, a return to acting, or something else) and would hate to see mental illness take that future away (and it can and will if treatment does not begin). It is for this reason that I also believe her parents being granted a conservatorship (which reports indicate is what her mother is in the process of doing) is the best thing. No one can do life alone and especially not when caught in a crisis. If you are at a place where you are a danger to yourself and others, you are in a crisis. When you are in a crisis, you need help from others to lighten the load until you can assume regular responsibilities again. This should not matter whether the person in question is a legal adult or not.
However, I am very curious to hear your opinions about this. What do you think of this issue? Should the parents of a legal adult be granted conservatorship if the adult appears incapable of making informed and appropriate decisions? Or should an adult be able to make their own choices, regardless of who it may affect?
Wishing Ms. Amanda Bynes all the best.
*Photo Courtesy of Zimbio.com.