Amanda Bynes’ Road Back

I am optimistic that there is still time for Amanda Bynes to recover from her fall from grace. If you’ve been reading headlines the former Nickelodeon child star is at her wits end. Many in the media have given up on Bynes. Instead of optimism, media outlets are highlighting the star’s negative characteristics. But Bynes can still redeem herself. Ultimately people have the unique quality of forgiving their stars. Right now Amanda is suffering, but not from mental illness. The “Hairspray” star is suffering from a sense of self entitlement and plenty of enablers. The line between right and wrong has blurred. My hope it for this fallen angel to recognize the signs that lead her down that dark path of self-destruction and thus by  doing so find her way back home. She didn’t get there in one fell swoop, but there is a road back, it’s just a process that we in the media shouldn’t complicate.

So how did she get there?

According to Kimberly Gail, a contributor to ehow.com, an important part of the road back or getting back on one’s feet is to understand the steps that brought you down. In an article written for ehow.com, Gail highlights four common signs that indicate a person has hit rock bottom. Hence, this article will describe and explain these common signs in an effort to understand the road Bynes needs to follow to come out of her rut.

To clarify, what it means to hit rock bottom, let’s look at an anonymous article of a recent rock bottom victim. Anonymous writes:  “In the past year I have had to file bankruptcy so 75% of my wages were being garnished or I would lose my house. I got a DUI and have a warrant out for my arrest for not paying my fine. I am illegally driving a car with no insurance. My middle child does not want to live with me. I just lost my job because they found out and I didn’t go to rehab because I don’t want to quit and never did. I lost my four best friends because now they know, so I have isolated myself from them instead of letting them help me. I never bought my son anything for his 16th birthday or Christmas. I have lied so much that it is all starting to catch up to me. But hey I have my last vacation checks coming in so I can still order more pods – YEAH for me but then again I only have one more check coming.” Has anonymous hit rock bottom; perhaps almost. Once this victim spends the last check, rock bottom should settle in. Why? Because as the saying goes, you know that you hit rock bottom when there’s nowhere else to go but up.

Losing your job is the first sign Gail points out that might indicate you have a problem. Comparatively speaking, Bynes does not have a job.

A cursory Google search revealed that back on April 6, 2012, Bynes tweeted that she was ending her acting career at the ripe old age of 24, according to “The Daily Beast.” “Being an actress isn’t as fun as it may seem,” she tweeted. “If I don’t love something, I stop doing it. I don’t love acting anymore, so I’ve stopped doing it.” There is nothing wrong with refusing to do a job you don’t like. Let’s hope that no one in Bynes family has pressured her to continue with her acting career. If they have, that that could pose a serious problem and therefore could be a legitimate factor to her present struggles.

Gail says that losing your job is one of the signs that indicate you may have hit rock bottom or are on your way down.  In fact, she goes on to say: “the average person needs some sort of income to make ends meet…, [therefore] losing a job… means losing access to the basics necessary for survival, which include food, clothing and shelter. Gail adds that whether you’re struggling with substance abuse or dealing with a financial crisis, losing your job is one of four major signs you’ve hit bottom. Waking up to this reality is an important step toward finding the way back.

Gail suggests that if you’re abandoned by friends and loved ones, this too is another sign that a person is dangerously headed downward. It’s not clear if Bynes’ friends have abandoned the former Nickelodeon child star, but radaronline.com has reported that “Amanda’s friends have grown increasingly concerned about her and are urging her to go to rehab.”

Radar quotes one friend as saying, “Amanda has been in a downward spiral for the last six months. Even though her dad publicly said she doesn’t drink, he knows she has a problem. It’s truly sad to witness. Amanda has been told she must go to rehab, but she is refusing to go.”

The New York Post also reported that her friends are concerned because she is not the Amanda they know.”

Kimberly Gail explains: “If you are struggling with substance abuse, mental illness or some other crisis, you might eventually notice the people in your life pulling away. Friends and loved ones might have a difficult time watching someone they love self-destruct; especially if it seems that you can make the choice to turn your own circumstances around.”

It is possible that Amanda is either in self denial or she’s simply not ready to change. Sometimes, it’s impossible for people to get other people to change. Research has always suggested that a person will change when they have a desire to change; and not until that time will you witness them making an effort in that regard. When you consider that her actions suggests she is perfectly happy, smoking pot, driving illegally, not working and not going to rehab, it’s quite clear Bynes has a lot in common with our “Anonymous” writer.

The third sign on Gail’s list indicating that a person has hit rock bottom is having property repossessed.

Amanda Bynes reached this threshold at 9:00 a.m. Sunday Sept. 16 when law enforcement impounded her BMW, according to TMZ reports. Their sources say that cops impounded the vehicle and issued her a misdemeanor ticket for driving on a suspended license.

Gail tells us that having possessions you once worked hard to acquire, such as your car or home, taken away, is a sobering reality check.

In other words, not only does it reveal one is on a destructive path that only continues to get worst, losing a prize possession can potentially wake a person up to the reality of their circumstances and to them finding the road back.

Gail states that the experience of stress and depression represent the fourth and last sign that a person has hit rock bottom. She explains that “The series of events that lead you to hit rock bottom can take a toll on your mental, emotional and physical health.

The fourth sign will tend to immobilize a its victim, making it difficult to carry out simple task, such as getting out of bed or spending time with other. At this point, I am unaware if Bynes has experienced the characteristics of this sign. Nevertheless, according to Gail, it is not necessary to experience all four signs for one to hit rock bottom. But aside from Gail’s analogy, the most recent loss of her BMW, gives everyone that cares about Bynes a glimmer of hope that the incident will provide the spark she needs to get back on the right track.

The only further advice I could give is for us all to stop diminishing Amanda. Unconstructive criticism is very condescending, in other words it makes a person feel unworthy in comparison to the person engaged in the arrogant speech. When you expose the faults of other in an attempt to help them, nine out of ten times it has the opposite effect.

If Bynes has truly hit rock bottom, the best way to engage her in this condition is to point to her positive qualities or reveal your shortcoming, the ones you have not been able to conquer. Such willingness to highlight your imperfection tends to resonate with people in a hole. I can’t say with confidence where to go from there but at least it’s a start.

As far as repeatedly rehashing Amanda’s problems with law enforcement, that might do nothing but cause her to close you out. It almost certainly won’t lead Bynes back our of her rut.

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