The Charlie Sheen Freak Show – Bipolar Entertainer of the Year?

Riddle: How many Psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: Just one, but the light bulb has to want to change.

Even though he probably can’t help it, Charlie Sheen is the “dim” brother. He probably can’t help it because he is very sick. He is crazy and he can’t see it. He thinks he is God’s gift to the world of entertainment and to women. He thinks he is above everything. He has all manner of excuses and answers for the interviewers who have interrogated him these past few days, and his answers are ridiculous. He talks faster than I have ever heard him talk, rapid fire bullshit. He has lost his job. He is probably ripping through his money. He has already lost his wife and children, and his next relationship. He is putting himself at risk with his behaviors, not the least of which is the hypersexuality with porn stars. He is losing weight and looks haggard. He is in the manic phase of bipolar disorder.

Add to that the element of alcohol and substance abuse. He has some characteristics typical of addicts. He is in denial. He makes excuses, minimizes, rationalizes, lies. He has an angry demeanor. He is out of control. His losses are mounting day by day. And because of his substantial resources, he doesn’t appear to be close to hitting rock bottom, so he probably has a lot further to fall.

Unfortunately for him, manics like being manic. There is an energetic high to it. There is a grandiosity and a sense of invulnerability. There is total lack of judgement, leading to decadent, hedonistic and self-destructive behavior. And there is injury to others along the way. But it feels good to the manic person. In his case, he is “on a drug called Charlie Sheen” and he loves it! At this point, why would he want to change? There is no listening to reason, as it doesn’t compute in the manic brain.

Sooner or later, the “drug called Charlie Sheen” will wear off. A sense of deep depression will take its place. When this happens and he becomes more aware of how his mania has played out on a world wide stage, he may well develop an enormous sense of shame. He will look around and count his devastating losses. I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes suicidal.

Charlie’s father, Martin Sheen, said the right thing. He said that if someone had cancer, everyone would understand it as a serious disease, deserving of the best treatment to save that person’s life. He then compared Charlie’s disease to cancer, and mentioned that his son needs the same kind of approach, life saving treatment and care. The big difference, though, is that cancer patients will look for answers to cure their disease, while Charlie will remain in self-detruct mode until his mania resolves itself, and who knows how long that might be.

He referred to one of his interviews as “entertainment.” I guess so, in the way a freak show is entertaining. We laugh at another’s misfortune.