Where is She Now? She’s the Man’s Amanda Bynes

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I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since She’s the Man arrived in theaters. I was nearing high school graduation with its release, and I can’t tell you how many times my roommates and I watched that movie throughout our four years of college. Amanda Bynes’ comedic delivery is amazing. The fact that the film is loosely based on William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is just confusing (largely because I know nothing about the play). She’s the Man has long since been in my top five movies list and I’m sure will continue to maintain it’s position.

Given the movie’s fond place in my heart, I’m saddened to consider the transformation, both literal and otherwise, that the former actress underwent since the debut. I remember hearing in 2012 that Bynes was leaving acting. She cited that she no longer enjoyed the job, and therefore was quitting. No more Amanda Bynes movies just felt wrong…it still feels wrong. But today, four years after her announcement, Bynes’ mental state is somewhat in question.

Check out the timeline here.

The first public sign that something wasn’t quite right was in 2012 when the actress received several driving violations, including a DUI, she hit a cop car, and committed several hit-and-runs. Drug suspicions followed after Bynes was seen expelling drug paraphernalia out of her apartment window. Throughout all of these incidents, the media displayed mug shots and other images of Bynes wearing blond wigs and looking disheveled. At the time I thought, ok, maybe she’s beginning to fall into the typical young-actress-goes-bad saga; it’s sad, but very common. Maybe this will be short lived…though this is beginning to remind me of Britney Spears and the umbrella…

Then the actress began appearing on social media, solidifying beliefs that maybe there was something deeper going on, than just an actress who’s not handling the fame thing very well. In 2013, Bynes tweeted that she wanted to change her physical appearance through plastic surgery. She posted photos of herself with cheek piercings and bold make-up. On July 22, 2013, police kept Bynes’ for a mental health evaluation after setting a small fire in a residential neighborhood. The actress’s parents were awarded conservatorship shortly there after. In the state of California, conservatorship is awarded by a judge when an adult is deemed unable to make decisions for his or herself, both financial and otherwise. This evidence made it pretty clear that the young star was struggling with a serious and debilitating mental illness.

Many speculate the diagnosis. In 2014, a tweet appeared on Bynes’ account claiming a bi-polar disorder. This disorder does feel like a possibility given the manic behavior, possibly explaining the dramatic physical changes, twitter rants, and illegal activity (uncharacteristic to the girl we saw in this interview from 2007). Others have hypothesized that the former actress has Schizophrenia, though Bynes’ mother publicly denied both diagnoses. The truth is, we (the general public) don’t know and we can’t base a diagnosis off of the media’s portrayal.

There does appear to be some hope that Amanda Bynes is making a turn for the better. Media sources have indicated that she has returned to her fashion design program in NYC, and that she’s doing her best to take care of herself. I hope these reports are true, not only because I love her movies and think she is a very talented person (one who could rival the likes of Amy Schumer and Melissa McCarthy), but also because I know how tough mental illness can be. And I also know as a therapist that there is hope.

Now please excuse me while I go and watch She’s the Man for the trillionth time, and laugh like it’s the first.

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