Mental Illness Isn’t Funny

November 16, 2014 1:28 am15 comments

No matter how resilient the mind is, it can break. The way we think, feel, and live is special. What can disrupt it is mental illness.

While mental illness is something we take seriously when it comes to us and those close, it often seems like a source of entertainment when a celebrity has a mental breakdown in public. Remember child actress Amanda Bynes from her early 2000’s Nickelodeon TV show, The Amanda Show? She’s one of those celebrities that is criticized for her unavoidable mental disorder. It’s something she has to live with and the media has to continuously put her down for each of her outbursts they catch in images or videos.

From The Amanda Show and All That to Hairspray, there’s no reason not to be a fan of Amanda Bynes’ work. She was once a bright star, but is now one that is falling. Molly Oswaks discusses Bynes’ current situation that is being highlighted in the media. She has been throwing tantrums, stripping topless in public, and dancing like no one’s there; while the paparazzi has kept a close eye on her during it all. She also tweeted that her father sexually abused her; then took it back and blamed the whole fiasco on a “microchip implanted in her brain.”

The media loves to get any news about celebrities. Any press is good press, right? Nothing sells like a celebrity having a mental breakdown. We all enjoy hearing some celebrity gossip and we can’t help it because we’ll always be fascinated by what celebrities are doing. However, Oswaks strongly states that there is a line that the paparazzi shouldn’t cross. Capturing Bynes in highly unstable and fragile moment of her life is a direct violation of privacy.

After her outbursts, Bynes was placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Instead of her having a piece of mind and solitude to rise up from this downfall, the paparazzi decided to exploit this to get a good shot. It’s difficult part of the life that she’s struggling to get through. This isn’t some skit for the audience’s entertainment where she’s acting this way just for us to laugh, like in The Amanda Show.

Although celebrities don’t have much privacy, they should be allowed it, especially in cases like Bynes’. Being mentally ill is serious and shouldn’t be exploited by the media like it’s nothing. As Oswaks says in her article, some of us may “love a train wreck because it makes us feel better about our own problems.” We shouldn’t feel better just because someone isn’t doing well. It’s not fair to anyone.

It’s a shame that society finds mental breakdowns entertaining. It would be ideal if the media would stop showing mental illness as if it’s a hot reality show, but that’s not how it works. It’s happened before not only with Bynes (think: Britney Spears’ breakdown in 2007) and it will happen again with a new celebrity in the future. I can only hope that Amanda continues to get better and perhaps then we’ll laugh with her as we did not too long ago, instead of laughing at her.

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