Op-Ed: Stop Calling Amanda Bynes 'Crazy'

Last weekend, my pals and I were feeling worse for wear after a night out, so we decided to put on our ultimate, go-to hangover film: She’s The Man. If you have somehow never managed to catch it, I whole-heartedly urge you to – it’s a hilarious, modern-day re-make of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night starring Amanda Bynes and (a personal highlight) Channing Tatum. It’s perfect for a bit of easy viewing when you can’t be bothered to pay too much attention to a film.

However, one of my friends brought up the sad topic of Amanda Bynes and her health; an issue that has been widely discussed in so many tabloids and on social media platforms. Reportedly, Amanda Bynes had been diagnosed with both schizophrenia and bipolar disease – something which I googled later to try and confirm. Some articles state that she was formally diagnosed with both diseases, while others claim Bynes has never been diagnosed with either. In reality – it’s none of our business what her doctor says to her. It’s clear that she is suffering, as she is currently a patient at a psychiatric hospital.

And during my Google searches I was inundated with horrific images and comments made by members of the public:

I really can't tell from her antics if she seeking attention or if she's really sick.”“She's all messed up. I wonder if she's brain damaged from all the drug use!?!”“What the heck? How can someone just become "crazy" overnight?”

For every supportive comment I read, there was an appalling response alongside it. I even read a news article titled: “Amanda Bynes 2014: Crazy Again?

I don’t fully understand how people can be so comfortable to mock, patronise and belittle this woman. Why are people so much more sympathetic of mental illnesses when someone has died from them? Are people okay with shaming and dismissing Amanda Bynes as ‘crazy’ while she suffers from illnesses that could potentially end her life? If we roll with the possibility that she may have been diagnosed with bipolar and schizophrenia, we’re looking at a 70.6% suicide attempt rate (Finch, 2014). Is that meme comparing her with Britney Spears still funny now?

If she had been diagnosed with cancer instead of a mental illness, would an equally disgusting meme depicting her ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos still be created?

I want to celebrate Amanda Bynes for the comedic heroine she was. Growing up, my older sister would always watch ‘The Amanda Show’ on Nickelodeon. It was on way past my bedtime (the ungodly hours after 8pm when you were at primary school), but I remember being so enraptured by Bynes’ brilliant wit and comedy timing that I would always sneakily try to find a way to watch it too. My favourite sketch by far was ‘The Girls’ Room’, because as a young girl I was obviously desperate to find out what girls actually did or talked about in high school girls’ toilets. Turns out, pretty different to what was depicted on the program… but still entertaining nevertheless.

And her performance in ‘She’s The Man’ is just too brilliant for words. Her facial expressions throughout the film are spot on; my friends and I quote every single one of her lines whenever we watch it. She also gets to kiss Channing Tatum, lucky gal.

Mental illnesses are diseases like any other and, in the worst cases, can be killers. If someone is battling a mental illness, they’re not putting on a performance for you to judge or mock. It’s not funny if someone starts behaving irrationally – it’s a sign that they need serious help. If you hear someone dismiss Bynes (or anyone else in her situation) as ‘crazy’, I beg you to call them out on it.

 

 Sources

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/amanda-bynes-back-conservatorship-blowing-money-cartier-jewelry-teachers-strangers-article-1.1991686

http://www.tmz.com/2014/10/28/amanda-bynes-mental-illness-health-involuntary-psychiatric-hold-extended/

http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/amanda-bynes-hold-at-treatment-facility-extended-a-month-20142810

http://www.realtytoday.com/articles/6655/20141013/amanda-bynes-2014-crazy-again-back-on-involuntary-psychiatric-treatment.htm

http://letsqueerthingsup.com/2014/10/16/its-all-fun-and-games-until-someone-dies-amanda-bynes-robin-williams-and-the-spectacle-of-mental-illness/

http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m4rlmkDtUn1r8gvvao1_500.gif

http://www.cultnoise.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Amanda-Bynes.jpg

http://www.starpulse.com/news/Jason_Gallagher/2014/09/14/7_celebrities_who_had_a_public_meltdow

http://wifflegif.com/tags/204011-gif-she-s-the-man-gifs

https://www.tumblr.com/search/shes+the+man 

Edited by Sam Carey