I am posting this today because I can’t stop thinking about it and it’s too long for Facebook.
I have some, albeit limited, knowledge of mental illness. I have personally witnessed someone going through, what I believe was, a severe manic episode borne of bipolar disorder. I know from that experience that it’s not funny. It’s frightening and uncomfortable and aggravating and devastating for loved ones.
I know that in the U.S. sometime in the 1980s, mental health advocates got their way and mentally ill people could no longer be hospitalized without their consent or at least not for more than a couple of days. This is where I get vague on details. I do know the decision led to an even greater homeless problem because people were released from hospitals (I’m not a fan of what I know of state-run mental hospitals) and didn’t want to take their meds, couldn’t afford meds, couldn’t keep a job, etc.
If you have access to Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, grocery store check out lines, or orthodontist waiting rooms you may have read that Amanda Bynes, former child star on Nickelodeon is having some issues a la Bald Britney Spears. Bynes is 27 and has clearly left the building, the tracks, the atmosphere — you get the idea. This once darling girl who I loved in Hairspray and Easy A (her last movie in 2010); is a complete train wreck. My daughter used to watch The Amanda Show on Nickelodeon and said she was really funny. And now my 13-year-old just shakes her head, what happened?
Bynes behavior takes erratic to new heights, her face is pierced, she is clearly abusing drugs and alcohol, she has become a Twitter exhibitionist, her rap sheet is growing, and she is disfiguring herself with plastic surgery.
So why am I blogging about this?
I’m a mother.
This is a picture of Amanda Bynes’ parents:
Rick and Lynn Bynes look like people I see everyday. I’m not posting any of the millions of photos available of Amanda Bynes, if you want to see what a mess she is, you run the Google.
Here’s why I’m writing this. Last week I tired of seeing yet another story about Crazy Amanda Bynes. The latest story was that she had been arrested for throwing a bong out her apartment window, she said it was a vase. And I thought to myself, “where in the hell are this girl’s parents?!”
It turns out her parents are trying to get conservatorship of their daughter, which is what Britney Spears’ father did. Amanda won’t talk to her family. The legal system won’t let her parents make some decisions to help their daughter because she is 27.
I’m a mother. What if one of my daughters has a psychotic/bipolar break, which typically happens in the 20s. What if? And legally I have no way to help my child get the professional services she so clearly needs? Where is the balance between an individual’s right to make their own decisions and family’s obligation to keep them from hurting themselves? There is no question in my mind that Bynes has no ability to make responsible decisions regarding her own well-being.
I have no answers. Only questions. The twisted American entertainment media is promoting the Amanda Bynes spectacle and that makes me so sad for this girl. The Bynes family has some money, they have connections and they can’t help their daughter. What chance do average, everyday people have? Why can’t we (families, friends, police) step in before a young person dies from suicide or accidental overdose? before a kid shoots up a school? Before Amanda Bynes winds up in a gutter?
How do we find the balance between an individual’s rights to do what they please and society’s obligation to keep that same person from hurting themselves or others?
I wish I had some answers but I’m just a mom.