The days of Amanda Bynes starting Twitter feuds and shaming other celebrities are long gone – and boy, are we glad. Amanda was placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold in July after she lit a fire in a driveway in California, and since, everyone has been rooting for the young actress to recover. Just a few days ago, she successfully completed her inpatient rehab and is now living at her parents’ house in Los Angeles. Lynn Bynes, her mother, was granted legal control over her daughter in October.
While some of Amanda’s antics were (at the time) amusing and definitely kept Perez Hilton and TMZ busy, it was upsetting to realize that her actions were masking a deeper problem. Those who have followed her career since her Nickelodeon days knew that she was massively talented, and were quick to blame her sudden uncharacteristic acts on everything from drugs to a desperate cry for attention. Many people figured it was all just an elaborate act – after all, acting is what she does best. According to a source close to her family, Amanda was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in late September. After starting her treatment at a UCLA facility, she was moved to another rehab facility in Malibu that was a bit more comfortable for her.
“Amanda has completed her inpatient rehabilitation and she’s feeling better every day,” Lynn’s lawyer, Tamar Arminak, said in a statement. “She’s now looking at various colleges with the intention of majoring in fashion design.” (Sidenote: Amanda, as someone who still owns a sweater from your “Dear” collection that was exclusive to the now-defunct Steve and Barry’s chain, I support this 100%.)
While all of this news is fantastic, I still worry. First of all, the internet is already overloaded with pictures of Amanda shopping in Costco with her parents, days after being released. While her parents look overjoyed to have their daughter back, Amanda looks a bit miserable. It must be insanely hard to be the center of attention after such a trying few months. And it must be difficult having everyone at a Costco know your story, and not let you buy your San Pellegrino in peace. No matter who you are, everyone has a right to privacy.
Based on how public her meltdown was, and how many teenagers and young adults idolized her while watching her on television, one would expect that an update on her progress was inevitable – even, to a point, necessary based on her industry. But we shouldn’t demand more than an update that assures us that she’s on the mend, nor should we assume that the Amanda we knew pre-rehab is the same as Amanda post-rehab. (For the record, she’s still an outpatient. And yes, there are also pictures and video circulating of her leaving her treatment sessions with her Mom. Disturbing, isn’t it?)
Before she got the help she needed, she made it clear that she was very critical of her image – even going so far as to threaten lawsuits over use of particular photos that she didn’t approve of beforehand. Who knows if the invasion of privacy might deter her progress of getting healthier?
In short, we should celebrate the news that Amanda finally got the help that she desperately needed, and be happy over the fact that she’s mended her relationship with her parents, which seemed like it was on the brink of disaster. But the best thing we can do moving forward is to give her some space and remember that while she was in the public eye for issues that were linked to illness, she’s merely a human who is trying her hardest to stay well. When Amanda is ready to fully embrace her audience again, she’ll do so. Let’s just hope that her audience supports her for the right reasons.
And, Amanda? You got this, girl.
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