Why my heart hurts for Amanda Bynes' parents
Let me start out by saying this was a difficult article for me to write. I didn't know where to start, if the topic was too close to home, or if I could even successfully get my point across — but after seeing the attack on Amanda Bynes' parents on social media, I felt it was important for someone to speak up.
If you haven’t followed the recent Amanda Bynes news, she's still in what appears to be a downward spiral. A judge allowed her to leave a psychiatric facility after only two weeks, she was spotted walking up and down Hollywood Boulevard talking to herself and she posted a stream of accusatory tweets about her parents — which, I should mention, have since been deleted from her account:
Today news broke that Bynes’ parents have officially given up: They’re handing the conservatorship over their daughter to a mental health professional and moving to Texas. So, is this tough love or a horrible idea? While some people on Twitter agree with their actions, others find it disgusting and inexcusable.
Now, I'm not an expert and I don't know what's really going on, but after everything I've read and experienced in my own life, I can't help but rush to Bynes' parents' defense. My brother is an addict, and has been for 20-plus years. My family has watched him go to jail, struggle through rehab, forfeit his sobriety and come face-to-face with death more times than I can count. Every time it happens, it hurts; just thinking about it now brings me to tears. Every person in my family would do anything to make him healthy, but at the end of the day, there's nothing we can do, and every time we've tried to "save" him, we've ended up hurting him more than helping. We taught him that when he messes up, we're here — we'll feed him when he blows his rent money and house him before he ends up on the streets. And without realizing it, we enabled him to continue his evil cycle. By constantly catching him before he hit rock bottom, we were preventing him from finding the strength and drive within himself to get healthy, once and for all.
Finally agreeing to let my brother face the consequences of his actions was scary and painful, but because we did — because we stopped babysitting and protecting him — he voluntarily picked himself up. He found his own reasons for wanting to live, checked himself into rehab and built a group of supporters around him, besides his family, who help keep him strong when sobriety is tough.
Amanda Bynes may not have the same issues as my brother — in fact, it sounds like she's struggling more with mental illness than an addiction (often, they can go hand in hand) — but regardless, I can't imagine how painful the ordeal has been for her parents. They've spent the last four years watching their daughter change from bright and bubbly to troubled and depressed. Unless they're really the monsters Bynes has claimed them to be, they've likely had many sleepless nights, blowout fights, and experienced an overwhelming amount of grief. And yes, Amanda Bynes is accusing them of withholding money from her, ultimately forcing her to be homeless and look "hideous," but sick people often say whatever they can to get what they want. Withholding money may be their attempt at actually protecting Bynes so she doesn't use it to hurt herself even more.
Handing over her conservatorship and taking a step away was a good decision because clearly Bynes wasn't responding well to how her parents were trying to help. Now that she's out from under their "control," she'll hopefully get the professional help she needs and, this time, be committed to it because she chose to get healthy — no one forced her. A lot of people are saying there's no one left to save her, and they're right. It's time for Amanda Bynes to choose to save herself.
Luckily, Bynes has already taken steps in the right direction: Just two days ago she took to Twitter to tell her fans that she is bipolar and manic-depressive, and has begun taking meds and seeing a psychologist. Since then, she was spotted sleeping on a sofa in a shopping mall, but recovery comes with a lot of highs and lows, and everyone should rally behind her rather than poke fun. The troubles she's facing aren't a joke.
At the end of the day, no one will ever really know what happened behind closed doors, but instead of making judgments, let's hope every decision being made is in Bynes' very best interest.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental illness, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) for more information and treatment options.