Amanda Bynes, Robin Williams, and the Spectacle of Mental Illness

This article is perfect. There was a few years back when I was learning more about personal responsibility of emotions where I had decided, from a very misinformed set of education, that mental illness wasn’t real. I decided that mental illness was simply people not taking responsibility for their poor emotional state control. And I came to realize over a few years that I was actually a huge jerk by believing that. After researching and interacting with people with varying levels of mental illness I began to grow a sense of compassion and understanding for people who experience mental anguish.

About a year and a half ago, following a miscarriage and the ending of my marriage, I was having a lot of difficulty being “normal” and coping. I wasn’t sleeping. I had developed an intense fear of dying. I had panic attacks nearly every day. My job functions were close to being impacted and I knew I had to make a change. So I asked for a pill to help. First they gave me Xanax to control the immediate symptoms. This helped after the panic attack happened but I needed a break from them altogether so I went to my doctor who prescribed me an anti-depressant. It seemed to make things worse so I went back and she put me on Wellbutrin.

The Wellbutrin was what did the trick and allowed me to get my virtual space in a place that I could make sense of my life without the fears and doubts and struggles rising to the forefront of my thoughts.

I stayed in the Wellbutrin for about a year until I decided that I was stable enough to come off and with the guidance from my doctor I began to lessen the frequency of my doses until I didn’t take them anymore. The Xanax took longer to come off of but eventually I did. And I have been restored to the way I was before the stressful events occurred.

This gave me a peek into the world of mentally ill folks and I have to tell you that the way the world treats them is horrifying at best. There’s so many people who are dismissive of true struggles as if they know what it’s like. Or there are people who have made it over the hump themselves and are dismissive because the answer ended up being easy and they are speaking to people who haven’t found that easy answer on their journey yet. There’s so many ways that people make it known that they think less of you for having a mental illness that’s it adds to the challenges and adds to the feelings of loneliness and abandonment.

This guys article is a serious look at how our society treats people with mental illness and it’s worth the read and the thought.

Let's Queer Things Up!

Internet, we need to have a talk.

I’ve had a number of readers ask why I’ve neglected to write about Amanda Bynes this last year. It’s simple, really. I don’t believe that celebrities are “fair game,” and that, when they have very human and very difficult struggles, I should capitalize on those things by writing an article, however well-intentioned. I believe they are deserving of privacy and respect, by virtue of their being people.

However, I’m making an exception here, because in the midst of the negative and callous press that Bynes has received, I think it’s time we had a chat about it from a different perspective. And then, after we’re done, I think it’s time we stop speculating about it altogether. Deal?

First and foremost, there is no way for us to know what, if anything, Bynes has been diagnosed with. The family has denied schizophrenia and bipolar…

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