Saturday, March 5, 2011

Charlie Sheen is "Bi-Winning"

I have to admit, I'm not on the same side of the fence as many others on this latest issue.  Charlie Sheen is being thought of as hilarious at this point, with his recent tirades and antics.  I'm not a doctor in the least, but I know quite a bit about the topic I want to touch on in this post, and I will explain why at the end.

In my opinion, Charlie Sheen is definitely Bipolar.  Yes, he most certainly has used drugs, and could very well still be using drugs, but I don't think that explains his behavior.  Despite his denying that he is, Bipolar disorder can be triggered at any time in a person's life by traumatic events, or in this case especially, drugs.  The disorder can lay dormant for many years and be brought on in a few different ways.

I'm sure you might also be thinking, well he had a good point in saying if he was Bipolar, wouldn't he have crashing lows as well?  That is true, but if the Bipolar is a recent onset, he most likely has just not experienced the low yet.  And unless he is a Rapid Cycler (periods of mania and depression occur more than 4 times in a year), he may not see a depressive crash for a while.  In fact, he will most likely "level off" before experiencing the low, causing himself and others to assume the storm has passed.

To watch some of his ABC interview, go here or here.

So to get right into my point, here are the symptoms of a manic phase in Bipolar disorder:

Feeling on top of the world
"I exposed people to magic.  I gave them something they were never going to see in their otherwise boring, normal lives.  I gave that to them, that's a gift."

Inappropriate elevated mood
He claims to be "remaining calm", but he carries himself no differently once his two sons were taken away, taking time to do an interview instead of tracking them down, after stating that he has no idea where they are.

At one point during his ABC interview, he starts playing with a red wire, and although obviously just wanting to avoid the issue at hand, has a moment where he looks like he loses his train of thought.

He claims it's not anger, it's passion.

He admits to being proud of his past drug use and partying, despite the obvious stigma.

Overly-inflated self-esteem
"I'm a nobleman, I'm chivalrous."  "I've been this 'aw-shucks' guy with this BITCHIN' rock star life..."

When asked how he can survive such a large amount of drug usage:  "Because I'm just me.  I have a different constitution.  I have a different brain, a different heart.  I have tiger blood."

Unrealistic ideas
"I blinked and I cured my brain."

Hypersexuality (increased sex drive)
I think this one is pretty self-explanatory, given his party and house guests.

Decreased need for sleep
I'm not sure if he has mentioned anything in the way of this symptom, but I certainly imagine it to be true.

Excessive talkativeness
"I am on a drug, it's called 'Charlie Sheen'.  It's not available because if you try it once you will die.  Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.  Too much?"

Talking very fast
Very apparent.

Racing thoughts
He admits that his brain "fires in a way that is not of this terrestrial realm" and that no one else would be able to handle it.

Increased goal-directed activity
He has a goal of creating a "porn house" from what I have heard.  Sounds productive.  Not as productive as his goal to sue the show:  "Tons.  They're gunna put it on a scale and I'm just gunna be like 'little more, little more, ah add some gold add some gold, BINGO'.  I'm here to collect."

Excessive shopping/Spending sprees
Do suitcases full of coke and hookers count?

Physical agitation
This doesn't necessarily mean violence, but "I'm finally going to completely embrace it, just wrap both my arms around it and love it violently.  And defend it violently, through violent hatred."  And when asked if he is violent: "When it's needed to protect my family, absolutely.  And it's unlike anything you'll ever see."

Reckless behavior
His drug use, past and/or present would certainly fall into this category.  His partying and sexual behavior.

Mental confusion
"Can't is the cancer of happen."  And every other quote you can find here.

Take what you will from my examples, but even if you have only watched one interview with him, a considerable number of these symptoms are blatantly obvious.

If you have managed to read this far, you are probably wondering why I would bother making such a list, or just wonder why I feel strongly about this issue.  My mother is Bipolar.  I have witnessed her go through very similar situations, although thankfully not to this extreme.  I have seen her at her highest, and found her passed out after her lowest.  It was a very traumatic time in my life.  She is doing quite well now, the doctors have found the best combination of medications for her to take to keep her level.  And you might be wondering what any of this has to do with being pregnant, after all, I started this blog to be about my pregnancy.  Well Bipolar disorder has a tendency to skip generations.  That means, since I seem to be fine, our daughter has a higher chance of having it.  And not only that, it could manifest as schizophrenia instead, as it is linked to Bipolar.  It's not something I want to be worried about her whole life, especially since schizophrenia is most often triggered later in life by a traumatic event.  But I have heard stories about schizophrenic children, and it is so heartbreaking to me.

But one of the problems with Bipolar disorder is that it can take many combinations before the right one is found.  And during that time, if someone experiences the mania, they generally feel so good that they think they don't need their medications anymore.  Just like Charlie Sheen asks what would happen if he was Bipolar, and says "no thanks" to the thought of medications.  So many Bipolar sufferers go off their medications when they are in a mania, and it just leads to not only withdrawal, but more severe cycling.  Higher highs, and lower lows.

Managing Bipolar disorder doesn't only mean drugs, there has to be education and counselling as well.  The sufferer has to be made aware that despite feeling good, they still need to stay on their medications for their own safety.  I have a feeling that if Charlie Sheen stays on the path he is on, his father may have to "Britney" him, and basically have him committed for his own safety.  Which would hopefully lead to the successful diagnosis and treatment of whatever actually ails him, Bipolar or not.

Bipolar symptom list taken from

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