Compassion for Charlie Sheen: taking a stand for Charlie
I am so thankful that I was not famous and incredibly wealthy when I had my worst full-blown out of control manic episode. I would not be where I am today and I would not be able to become a therapist that helps people thrive with bipolar disorder.
I am so lucky that full-blown mania came into my life at a time when I was able to overcome the consequences of self-destruction, public humiliation, loss and shame that mania causes.
I am so grateful that there was no one to document my actions and words besides my mother.
Therefore, I take a stand for Charlie Sheen because I believe his current words and actions may be those of mania and years of self-medicating drug abuse, not necessarily his character.
I am not treating Charlie Sheen, but in my opinion, the behavior he is expressing is quite NORMAL for someone experiencing full-blown mania and living with untreated bipolar disorder (even if never experiencing “traditional depression”).
I also believe that his lifestyle is quite NORMAL for someone living with untreated bipolar disorder who has fame and fortune.
When people have fame and fortune people are more readily willing to accept their manic “peculiarities” without calling it a diagnosis and without saying, “It’s not okay to treat me like this.” or “I think you have a problem and you need help.”
Charlie Sheen’s level of fame and wealth gives him access to the best drugs on the planet. He can afford to make himself feel anything he wants to feel whenever he wants using drugs. I can understand why he would not see the value of a $10 bottle of Lithium that would make him feel more normal.
In my opinion, in order for him to want that $10 bottle of Lithium, he would have to experience the worst of the mania that many people never experience because intervention takes place before the mania peaks.
I probably wouldn’t be so committed to taking my lithium everyday if I had not experienced the peak of mania.
Where I believe Charlie Sheen is right now is in the best part of mania. Who wouldn’t want to truly feel omnipotent, divinely chosen and special and invincible?
Right now, to everyone else, Charlie looks out of control. However, my experience knows that he feels more in control of his life than ever before.
But I know what comes after that. What came after that for me was so devastating and scary that I have not allowed myself to be fully manic since.
Every emotion I’ve ever had, came exploding out of me. All of my pain, rage and sadness exploded out of me uncontrollably. I was haunted by delusions disguised as memories and obsessive paranoia that my family was trying to hurt me. I used my words as knives to hurt people. Everything that was good in me, was gone. All I could do was destroy my life.
This is why I take my medication everyday and do everything that it takes to remain stable with bipolar disorder.
Maybe Charlie Sheen needs to be in a safe environment. One in which he cannot harm himself and further destroy his life in order to hit rock bottom. Maybe then, he can realize the priceless value of a $10 bottle of Lithium.
Thanks for your thoughts, very clear, intelligent and empathetic. So unlike much of the pure gossip going on around the internet that helps no one. I read somewhere recently that Mel Gibson had finally accepted that he was Manic Depressive. Hopefully, Charlie can as well, if Bipolar Disorder is in fact what he has. Hard to say for sure, but he is certainly displaying serious manic behavior. The lack of awareness of how his behavior effects others is incredible. It is not just his own job that he has risked, but the jobs of hundreds of others who also work on his tv show.
I also am thankful that I was not rich and famous when I had the worst of my manic episodes. I am even thankful that cell phones were not prolific in 1991 when I was arrested for a very public psychotic episode. It surely would have been all over youtube. Fortunately, that didn’t happen, and I am still recovering from my many manias to this day.
Just had a thought: I think Charlie was able to give up drugs so easily because he is so manic. My own experience is that mania is much more powerful than any drug-induced experience. He may not be on drugs, but he is higher than ever. Until the mania descends into full irritibility-agitation-rage and depression etc, why should he want to treat it? I can speak from experience, it is a long and painful road to self-awareness and the acceptance of the illness. If it is what he suffers from, I hope he wakes up soon.
Thank you Scootah for sharing your ideas and story. I really appreciate that you made sure to keep the diagnosis “tentative”. I forget to do that at times. Good job.
Compassion for Charlie Sheen: taking a stand for Charlie « Thrive ……
Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……
Excellent points. Thank you, Robin.
Thank you Larissa
I am very new to blogging. You are my first, so please bear with me if there is certain protacol (I was assured there was spell check but I’m not seeing it) I’m not following.
What is M.A. and MFTi?
I’m a Body Psychologist in Buffalo New York that incorporates Body Work (Reflexology, Shiatsu meridians, Acupressure points) and 5 Element Theory of Tradititional Chinese Medicine to help people understand, relate to, and release their unexpressed, buried emotions. Are you familiar with these modalities and the role they play regarding our emotional health?
As someone with bipolar disorder, is it just the medication that balances the moods? Is Psychoanalysis also part of the therapy?
Can you share with me exactly what the lithium does?
I have studied all of Charlie Sheen’s Body Language that’s available… particularily his eye symmetry, tongue movement,(after he’s completed a thought) and choice of words.
With your expertise, do you bellieve his “1 month tour” can or will extend his alleged mania?
I respect what you know from first hand experience and I look forward to your opinion.
I’m making an attempt to work with Charlie so your feedback and comments are very important to me.
Thank you. Bonnie
I am happy to answer your questions. What I share is solely my opinion.
Question 1: What is an M.A. and MFTi?
M.A. refers to my Masters degree in psychology in Marriage and Family Therapy (with eligible certification in Art Therapy) that I have earned.
MFTi refers to my professional status as a Marriage & Family Therapist intern. Up to today’s date, I am legally an unlicensed intern in my field. I have been practicing under the supervision of licensed therapists for five years now and am waiting for the state of California to approve my hours of experience and give me permission to take my licensing exams in the next few months. When I pass those exams, I will become a licensed therapist.
Question 2: Chinese medicine and body work for emotional healing.
I have not yet had the opportunity to experience significant eastern medicine practices on myself regarding emotional health; however, I am open to it and do have confidence that they can be useful for people who are open to healing through those experiences.
I do believe that we store emotion in all of our cells.
Question 3: Just medicine? Psychoanalysis?
Bipolar disorder affects a person’s complete way of being in the world. Medication only reduces depression and mania. Bipolar disorder is more than just an episode.
Bipolar disorder is a reflection of the way a brain functions. There are profound strengths and weaknesses. No two people will ever experience bipolar disorder in the same way.
Psychoanalysis is not something I practice. I practice psychotherapy which can be incredibly helpful in helping people live with bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is a genetic / biological way of being in response to the environment. Through therapy, I help people learn utilize their own abilities and strengths to best manage their life in their own preferred way of being.
Question 4: What does lithium do?
Scientists still do not know how lithium works. Nonetheless, they do know of two ways that lithium affects the brain. One way they believe the brain is affected is at the level of the axon in neurons. Scientists believe that lithium affects the myelin sheath on the axon. This may affect how messages are communicated in the brain.
Another finding on the affect of lithium is that scientists have found that lithium may actually build parts of the brain that are diminished in people living with bipolar disorder. Some of these areas scientists may witness change may be the amygdala (seat of emotions in the brain) anterior and posterior cingulates (seat of impulsivity, awareness of unspoken social rules, center of inhibition that are all diminished in people with bipolar disorder).
Question 5: Charlie Sheen?
I can’t speak for Charlie Sheen and I am not attempting to treat him.
My experience has taught me that mania can exist as long as there is fuel for it. A “1 month tour” is likely to fuel mania if mania is what he is experiencing.
I hope this is helpful Bonnie.