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.