She honestly sounds very much like my best friend, whom I ultimately lost in the end. I felt powerless as if watching a train wreck in extreme slow motion. I watched a girl transform over 10 years from a brilliant, funny girl who earned As in school and who was extremely talented - she wrote for the school paper, was on the speech and debate team, was an extremely talented gymnast and dancer, and on top of that she also did drumline for the marching band and drum lessons on a regular drum kit on the side. She was also under immense pressure from some of the most fucking messed up extremely unbending Mormon parents I’ve ever known. She got very little sleep and always went to church, including seminary at 7 AM before school, not because she ever for a moment believed it, but because it was expected of her. She tried extremely hard, as the only girl with 3 brothers, to earn her parents’ approval, but she felt she was held to higher standards, made to do more chores, and scrutinized more. She was a mixture of brilliant, funny, and confident, while at the same time extremely sensitive and dependent on her parents’ approval. School was the escape from her repressive home. As she reached her later teens, we started to party and she began to listen to “devil music” - her parents clamped down harder and she pushed back more and more… somewhere along the line it was no longer partying, she was on meth (one of the few activities she did without me) and her parents sent her to boarding school in Utah for her senior year, after which her mother promptly placed her in a BYU apartment with 5 other Mormon girls. Yes, my friend could attend BYU, because in spite of being bipolar and totally high or drunk, she still earned As, good SAT scores and knew the book of Mormon back and forth. She would later use her knowledge of the BoM to argue with poor missionaries who made the mistake of approaching her, and her parents would force her to do Baptisms for the dead at the Temple, despite the fact that she was unfit to enter the temple because of her lifestyle she had been hiding (does that negate the baptisms of the dead people she was dunked for?). School didn’t last long, and she started living off men and lived a combination of extreme work with lofty goals (bipolar) with getting drunk and high. She married young and was divorced by 22. From the time they sent her to boarding school senior year, she was never treated like an equal part of the family anymore. Her parents would deny her access to her younger brothers, even telephone calls, and in later years when she seemed to be doing a little better, she would make the occasional visit home. When she would enter the room and say “Hi Dad!” he would leave the room and not speak to her. It crushed her and she relapsed over and over. She was hospitalized a few times in very dangerous circumstances. When she was better, her mother would make secret lunch dates with her and speak in hushed tones over the phone, because she didn’t want her husband to know she was seeing her own daughter. They made her the black sheep and she never recovered. I escorted her to rehab on her 23rd birthday, only one of many trips to rehab, as she cried. At her worst, she was frightening to be around - she would feel flashes of anger suddenly and yell over nothing and was constantly angered by being around strangers - nothing like the person she used to be. She believed the police had bugged her house - in the trees, in the computer, and had put truth serum in her juice in the fridge. She believed celebrity tweets and printed materials held secret messages intended for her. About a year after this behavior, she improved quite a bit, but still claimed those things she experienced had been real. She got a job and started going to sober living facilities and broke up with her addict boyfriend and moved out - all good things. My feelings toward her over these 10 years ranged from love, to near-hate with frustration and anger, to feeling she was selfish, to feeling complete pity for her, to growing defeated and tired and resigned, and to feeling hopeful when it seemed she had finally grown tired of the cycle. Toward the end she was a little less crazy, much nicer, more hopeful, and was connecting better with her friends, and even reconnecting with her family a little, and was in sober living when she died in her sleep at age 25. Not from an overdose - she was sober at death. The coroner believes she suffered heart failure as a result of having mixed alcohol and adderall the week before she died - addicts who like speed will settle for anything. She did not want to die, but she lacked control and could never get over the fact that she felt so unloved and never good enough. She also mentioned to me that her father’s brother was in prison for molesting her as a child, something I’ve never confirmed. The point of my sad rant being, when I see what is happening to Amanda Bynes, I naturally will think of my dead best friend and what she looked like in the years leading up to her death. If I had to guess, I would say Amanda has drug-induced schizophrenia as a result of amphetamines or some kind of speed. Marijuana, even Salvia is secondary. Salvia is pretty intense for about 15 minutes, wears off immediately, and your body builds up a tolerance so quickly that it simply stops working if you keep smoking it. Amanda very well could turn around as Britney has today, but it’s just as possible that we are all witnessing the unstoppable, slow death of a person with a great deal of unresolved pain and anger, who can’t help but self-destruct. Amanda, you need to be strong because the work that needs to be done is HARD. Surrendering yourself to professionals and talking about root issues is HARD WORK, and people avoid doing it even though it’s the one thing that will save them. Nothing good in life comes easy, but if you promise to yourself that you will do whatever they say for 6 months, I promise the result will be better than jail or death, which is where you’re going.