Latest from Perez Hilton, the National Enquirer and other gossip (oh, excuse me, entertainment news) sites: “Is Amanda Bynes Schizophrenic?”
Ignoring for the moment how much we hate that term “schizophrenic”, let’s get to the heart of the reported issue.
Amanda is not doing well, and her parents are worried.
How well I know the feeling.
Must We Wait Until Disaster to Help?
Amanda has been acting very strangely, her parents are worried, and there seems to be no way for them to have any power to help – at least, not until she is a clear harm to herself or others. That is: until disaster strikes.
Sorry, but it’s true. This is shameful. Debate-worthy, yes, but a problem we ourselves have faced as parents of a young adult who seldom acts like one.
And we are not alone.
Conservatorship and Mental Illness
- When do parents step in instead of letting go?
- When is conservatorship the best choice?
- And if it is, how do you get permission?
Amanda has tweeted paranoid suspicions on twitter, has shaved her head, has had numerous traffic violations and a recent drug arrest.
According to Radar Online, her parents Rick and Lynn are
“concerned” and have moved from Texas to Los Angeles to be closer to her. They are trying (so far in vain) to get a temporary conservatorship, a move that appears to have helped Britney Spears after similar odd behaviors and suspected bipolar disorder led her father to petition for the same rights.
What’s going on, according to her parents?
“Amanda has heard voices for years, and was concerned she was being spied on via smoke alarms, and clocks in her home. She would cover electronic items because Amanda believed that was the only way she wouldn’t be spied on. It’s extremely sad situation because Amanda just refuses to get help.”
Parents as Caregivers: Valuable – and Exhausted
“Refuses to get help.” How many times have we heard that?
Amanda Bynes is 27. My son, Ben, is 31. I have conservatorship, which is both helpful and exhausting.
- takes his meds
- has a part-time job
- is law-abiding
- attends meetings for sobriety, and
- does well in college classes – 63 credits so far
- we have to be home twice a day to supervise meds
- he may be getting resentful of my “control” over his life – that adolescent eye-roll is returning
- Ben can drive, but has no car and is not insured on our vehicle – so Mom’s Taxi Service continues
- who knows what may happen tomorrow?
Look, it’s far from ideal. Ben has been living with us for almost two years – after eight years in supervised housing – and until recently it has been very successful. But now, he is getting more symptomatic, and we’re not yet sure why. Part of it could be that Ben is getting resentful of our role as caregivers.
So I am working on a plan to transfer some responsibility carefully back to his “team.” Amanda’s parents are in the opposite position: how do they get some right to help?
From the same articles on Radar Online:
“Rick & Lynn have met with several lawyers that handle conservatorships in the past month, because they want to get a conservatorship of their daughter. They have been advised that even as disturbing as Amanda’s behavior is, it’s very unlikely that a judge would sign off on a temporary conservatorship.” (italics are mine)
The truth is, they probably won’t be able to get any rights, even though Amanda clearly needs guidance. When will the legal system understand that “of sound mind” must be a part of independence? I imagine her parents are feeling quite helpless.
Even when our children are of legal age to make decisions, are they of legal ability?
Certainly a question to address. I wish Amanda, and her parents, the wisdom and love to get to a place of wellness, whatever that takes.