Amanda Bynes Could Be Schizophrenic, I Understand Because My Mom Is Too

After being taken in by police for psychiatric evaluation under 5150 hold, it appears Amanda Bynes could be schizophrenic. This explains a lot about Amanda Bynes’ bizarre behavior. My deepest sympathies go out to Amanda Bynes and her family. My mother was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic when I was four years old. I grew up around someone who was subjected to probably one of the most strange mental illnesses out there.

TMZ reported, “Doctors have already determined Amanda is suffering from a severe mental illness ‘with schizophrenic tendencies.’  We’re told she’s aware ‘there’s a good Amanda and a bad Amanda.’  When she talks about the bad Amanda she almost mimics an exorcism, pulling at her body as if to remove the demon, and even biting herself.”

Sounds scary. Her parents are filing for a conservatorship so that they can better care for their daughter’s well being. Schizophrenia tends to make itself present in women during adolescence and early adulthood. (Usually between 19 and 30.)

Seeing my mother progress and deal with her illness hasn’t always been easy but it has always been insightful to watch how she and those around her navigate schizophrenia. My mom is a paranoid schizophrenic so her symptoms are mostly “intrusive hallucinations.” Typically, paranoid schizophrenics believe someone is implanting thoughts into their minds and often construct (or confabulate) mythologies for why these things occur. My mother believes she was kidnapped by Russian spies when she nine years old and hears their voices, today, because they are communicating with her nine-year-old body in 1970. Crazy, right?

The weirdest part is, is that if you met my mother you wouldn’t know that she was “off.” My mom is a strong, fierce woman and has never strayed from her medication. I don’t know how, since it’s usually very difficult when someone is mentally ill to know that they are mentally ill, but when she first started experiencing feelings of suicide, hearing voices and seeing things she knew to go to the hospital. While I have lived with a woman who talks to herself because she is talking to other people, and who giggles to herself while she is cooking dinner or can’t keep up with our conversations because she is so distracted sometimes, my mother has always been an exceptional mother. She was the mother a lot of my friends wanted, of course they didn’t know her situation.

For so long I was too embarrassed to tell people about my mom’s illness because I knew they wouldn’t understand. The first time I did was when I was eight years old, I told my best friend and she gave me major side eye. It wasn’t until high school that I told anyone ever again and they still didn’t get it. It’s a hard illness to “get” when you’re not around it. It makes people scared, it makes them worried but what is most hurtful of all is that it makes them dismissive of my mother.

My mother who is articulate, clever and funny gets dismissed as the “crazy lady” so often. People with whom she forms friendships with, then opens up to them, hear the word “mental illness” and “schizophrenia” and run away like my mom is going to eat their dogs or try to get them to fly off in a spaceship. Statistically, schizophrenics are not violent or dangerous people. They only seem that way because they are experiencing a completely different reality than the rest of us. Imagine you waking up everyday, going to class or work, talking to friends and teachers then suddenly having people tell you that none of that is real. It would be terrifying and confusing, you’d constantly be questioning your sanity despite the things you’ve experienced to be true.

This has been completely typical of Amanda Bynes’ behavior. She says things, does things, then afterwards claims it was somebody else in complete earnest. To her it actually was somebody else, to us it was the same person.

I did my fair share of making fun of Amanda Bynes because I thought SHE was trolling us. She seemed like a bored child star doing things to make headlines, knowing that her denials of having done those things would get her even more attention. Now that I know what the real issue may be, I have a whole lot of empathy.



    1. Molly - UNL says:

      Wow Emerald, this was great. My sister once dated a man who was later diagnosed with schizophrenia. It was really scary for a while because his delusions made him violent and my sister shortly ended the relationship. Since then, though, he has gotten help and hasn't strayed from his meds. He's now in grad school and one of the smartest guys I know. It wasn't until they had been dating three or four years that the symptoms of schizophrenia started coming up and by then he had already basically watched me grow up, they started dating when I was 14 and they broke up when I was 19. I still see him around all the time and he is nothing but nice and wonderful and still very "older brother" to me and my sister. It was hard for her to watch someone she loved go through it, but I think it's important that people realize that you can FUNCTION with a mental disease.

    2. swimny says:

      Very well written. My mother was manic depressive (BiPolar today) Not easy growing up but she was amazing must of the time. Medication today helps tremendously and mental illness today isn't the same sigma as 20 years ago. Hopefully they can treat Amanda Bynes and she can get on with a healthier life. Thoughts and prayer to her and her family.

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