The Truth About Amanda Bynes’ DUI
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The Truth About Amanda Bynes’ DUI

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Oh, Amanda Bynes—not the girl you want to read was arrested for a DUI over the weekend. But alas this past Sunday at the witching hour (3 am, to a lot of us), the 28-year-old former child star was indeed taken in and determined to be on something, though what that is isn’t known.

This isn’t one of those oh-there-LiLo-goes-again situations or even a look-how-crazy-Shia-LaBeouf-is (though those news reports are pretty tragic as well). Many of those who reacted to Bynes’ bizarre behavior last year (throwing a bong out the window, tossing Twitter shade at people like Rihanna, wearing weird wigs, et Al) seemed amused. But even those behind the so-called hilarious headlines and Funny or Die parody videos had to know there isn’t anything too funny about mental illness, no matter how famous the person or bizarre the symptoms. Celebrities deserve what they get, the philosophy behind such gleeful schadenfreude seems to be. If they throw a bong out a window, we’re allowed to laugh.

I wonder how those same people would feel if it were their mother or daughter self-destructing and not a girl who’s been famous since the age of 11 (at which point, we can safely assume, she didn’t understand the potential perils of stardom). Considering the fact that the media documenting her downward spiral didn’t show glam photos of the actress partying with other famous folks or at least some hangers-on in cool nightclubs but pictures more likely to show a homeless person having a bad day, it shouldn’t have been that difficult to feel sad for her.

But the crash-and-burn Bynes story seemed to have a happy ending: after being 5150d and then receiving six months of treatment, she emerged looking calm, mostly keeping away from Twitter and hanging out with her family. Best of all, she appeared to be taking a u-turn away from the spotlight by enrolling in fashion school. But people with first-hand experience with the sort of struggles Bynes seemed to be having perhaps recognized the warning signs amidst what may have sounded like a tale of redemption. Having your lawyer boast about you not being on meds not only reinforces the notion that all medication is created equal (i.e., a mood stabilizer or anti-depressant is as risky to take as an addictive substance like Oxycontin or Klonopin) but also perpetuates the stigma of mental illness. Whether Bynes is an addict or not isn’t something we non-medical professionals who do not know her are in any position to diagnose. But when your attorney is also doth protesting a lot about your lack of drug abuse history despite your emergence from rehab—well, maybe you’re not as much on the road to recovery as you could be.

But hey, we all know relapse is common and fruitful recovery can follow stories that sound like they couldn’t end well. It’s just…well, if we stop finding this all so funny, may it will give the girl some space to acknowledge there’s a problem and then, ideally, get help for it.

Photo courtesy of The Heart Truth [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)

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About Author

Anna David is the founder and former CEO/Editor-in-Chief of After Party. She hosts the Light Hustler podcast, formerly known as the AfterPartyPod. She's also the New York Times-bestselling author of the novels Party Girl and Bought and the non-fiction books Reality Matters, Falling For Me, By Some Miracle I Made It Out of There and True Tales of Lust and Love. She's written for numerous magazines, including Playboy, Cosmo and Details, and appeared repeatedly on the TV shows Attack of the Show, The Today Show and The Talk, among many others.