From trashed hotel rooms, wild nights in Vegas, high-end escort in fear of her life, dangerous drug binges, landing in the hospital, to incoherent, borderline psychotic rants on television, internet and radio outlets. Fidgeting, chain-smoking, erratic gestures, disconnected thoughts; many feared Charlie Sheen was not only using drugs again but destined for rehab despite his assertions, after his hospital scare, he was no longer using cocaine or any other substances. Entertainment and addiction experts of course began to put in their two cents about what Sheen could be using and what could and should happen next. Then surfaced a video of him submitting to a drug test, both urine and blood examinations, both negative; what followed was a barrage of speculations as to his mental state, a plethora of experts surmising his drug and alcohol use could be masking symptoms of bipolar disorder, depression even psychosis. Every day it was new developments from the two women he referred to as his goddesses helping raise his twin sons, to his popular catch phases winning and tiger blood. While Sheen currently books a one-man show and marketers try to profit from a willingness to sell his out of control behavior, others are remarking on the negatives image it casts for those battling addiction, mental illness.
In the midst of late night comics poking fun, the ladies of The View weighing in, calls for a 51/50 psych hold, it appears Sheen is going the way of so many other troubled stars, writing another chapter in his own troubled life; however, Hollywood’s, experts’ opinions seem quite shallow on the subject. The moment a public figure starts behaving a certain way it’s the same old stock answers, drugs, alcohol, addiction of one kind or another. A former addict commenting on Inside Edition that all his clean urine and blood test prove is that he hasn’t used in 72 hours, but isn’t the mark of an addict that they can’t go 72 hours without using, not to mention there is a whole host of drugs illicit or prescription that stay in the body longer than 72 hours. When it became clear the former Two and a Half Men star was perhaps sober, out came another Hollywood and expert standby of stock answers, mental illness. Addiction specialists putting forth likely scenarios i.e. now that he is drug free, we see symptoms of mental problems emerging, Sheen far from the first assumed to be possibly bipolar; famed Dr. Drew Pinsky viewing his Youscream video rants, observing him in a so called manic state, proclaiming it could lead to psychosis. Multiple specialists chiming in he needs help now, pushing the gas pedal on urgency implying he was a danger to himself.
And, according to media outlets, it’s not just the demeanor on camera, via radio; it’s his waving a machete atop the Live Nation building, it’s the scene of his children being removed from their father’s L.A. home in the middle of the night, it’s the report Sheen’s home was searched for guns on a tip, rumored to have been given to police by a family member concerned for Charlie’s well being. What’s not so highly sensationalized is he waved said machete, by the way hurting exactly no one, directly after his firing from Two and a Half Men, not before, regardless of press skewing said story otherwise, whether it helps in the actors recent lawsuit against Warner Brothers or not. What is hardly made mention of is even Sheen’s lawyer had trouble figuring out why his two young boys were taken in the middle of the night with no signs of abuse, neglect or child endangerment during the court agreed visitation coupled with the fact he calmly complied with the police removal no threats, no hysterics; present on the Today Show the next morning he had no idea where his kids were but was not unduly worried knowing they were with their mother, saving the fighting for his lawyer, the court and the judge. Most psychologically compromised people would then go out and harm the children, their mother, themselves; how many times have we seen otherwise ordinary people do such horrendous things? What nearly got missed for all the talk of those cashing in on yet another stars downward spiral is that the only thing found on a search of this mans home was a few bullets and an antique gun, ala the 1800’s, clearly a collectors item. Completely downplayed was the lack of drugs, paraphernalia, anything suggesting illicit activity, addictive behavior or debauchery; treated as blasè was the fact police were called a short time later and arrested a trespasser on the property, potentially far more dangerous.
Comparisons of Charlie Sheen to Mel Gibson, due to him seemingly making fun of Chuck Lorre’s Jewish name, resonate as uncalled for and extreme considering Chuck Lorre’s given name is Charles Michael Levine, Hebrew name Chaim, pronounced much as Mr. Sheen pronounced it; meaning it was not an anti Semitic slur, not a snub or insult to the Jewish people, simply anti Chuck Lorre. Sheen probably calling him out on the fact he appears to have changed his name for Hollywood, looks as if he is hiding his Jewish heritage for the sake of the business, and Chuck Lorre is someone Sheen is free not to like, independent of his race, religion, ethnicity or creed. Mel Gibson’s tirade, on the other hand, encompassed all Jewish people, a supposed negative impact they had on society and a whole host of other inaccuracies about an ethnicity as opposed to Sheens comments centered around not only one person but one specific issue with that person. Added to that is the pure fact Lorre has had several feuds with leading actors of his sitcoms, including Roseanne and Brett Butler. Listening to the more direct statements given by the latest actor to run afoul of Lorre also hints at what might be going on aside from vastly used stock ideas. He wasn’t wrong when he indicated he has been a big money maker for both CBS and Lorre; his depiction of being used by said entities, references to emotional distress are not new to famous lives, and while Charlie Sheen is not new to the business, it doesn’t mean it should be dismissed, credited to substance abuse. We know the fish bowl effect stardom can have, we know the immense pressure it puts on people; how many times have stars seemed to have it all and years later we find out what was really going on behind the scenes? It doesn’t matter that it’s not a death, a disaster, it only matters that it was some kind of breaking point for him.
Sheen’s behavior reads like an emotionally distressed man trying to tell his side of a story, in today’s all media, instant media culture what better way than to rant online? Texting may have easily eclipsed the phone conversation but sites like Youscream, You Tube and Facebook have largely replaced the apparatus the telephone used to be; once upon a time people needing to vent, wishing to rant about their problems called a friend, visited their home or commiserated at the local bar. Today those friends are online; today you make a video when you have something you need to say. Further he is obviously a person with nothing to hide, willing to give rare access to himself and his family in an effort to prove his stability, to say nothing of using the medium he knows best to distribute his messages about himself. His twitchiness, gestures, chain smoking and disjointed thoughts present like someone coming down off emotional upheaval, processing their emotions. Neither is it the fist time outside experts, psychological caregivers have mistaken emotional distress for drug use; look at Britney Spears, assumed by police to be under the influence of substances when she reportedly barricaded herself in a bathroom with her two children and a gun, rather than return them to their father, forcing officials to admit her to a local hospital. No drugs were found in the home or her system. Moving away from Hollywood, thousands if not millions of Americans suffering grief, after effects of a traumatic event, significant loss are wrongly diagnosed clinically depressed and unnecessarily long term medicated because of this misapplication of psychiatric symptoms and treatment. Emotional distress is not mental illness and the good news is, is usually not permanent.
Is Charlie Sheen gravitating from emotional distress to more serious mental problems, is he crazy, probably not; still his biggest detractors will point to his former porn star, pot magazine posing girlfriends, his loss of job and say he is headed for rock bottom, if not already there. Yet judging by what he is doing career wise, at the moment, it sounds like a person striving for more control over their work, more say in what is happening. Part of the reason he may have been wielding a machete on top of a building appearing manic, unhinged is because finally he was free from a situation, experience viewed by him as an albatross around his neck. But now, having no shortage of money making opportunities available to him, he is taking positive steps to move on, build what it is he wants his career to be, evidenced by the intern ad posted on internships.com, his bookings for his one man show, which has incidentally sold out, creating a different path for himself in the celebrity world. This is a man reorganizing his life, his priorities indicative of why he’s so resistant to comments of family members, attempts to reach out, why he sees it as judgment and wants no part of it, because he knew he was’t on drugs, seems to know what he is doing is the right thing for him right now. Such reorganization and possible explanations for his recent behavior also account for comments made by Alyssa Milano and other co-stars, friends who say he isn’t the same person they knew years ago. Bluntly put, he’s not; taking his statements about the negative atmosphere of Two and a Half Men at face value, throwing in his two failed marriages and four kids, you see a recipe for big life events that change people, sometimes drastically. The question really becomes why is this not evident to those around him, presented as a possibility by those reporting on him, doctors commenting on his treatment needs?
Discussing his current girlfriends and unconventional household, everyone has a past and if these women had had children of their own, no one would be saying a word, no one would be calling child services; how many strippers, prostitutes are working their way through law school, med school, college, headed for a career? One of the co-hosts of The View shrewdly pointing out that, regardless of what we think, if these women have been a constant facet in the children’s lives, authorities involved shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss that consistency, rip them away from it. No one should have removed his kids to begin with, certainly not in the middle of the night, especially since the alleged threat was against their mother. If anything, it should have prompted the court to arrange neutral and/or supervised pick ups and drop offs of the children to insure theirs and their mother’s safety. Another casualty of lack luster reporting, the custody deal reached between Sheen and his ex after both submitted to drug testing documenting their sobriety to each other. Continuing, it is hypocritical for us, the public, to shun Sheen’s lifestyle, then turning right around to watch the TLC series Sister Wives, HBO’s hit show Big Love giving an intimate look into polygamy, a lifestyle breaking the law. Sheen has two women in his life and a family dynamic that works for all parities within it; the rest is no one’s business.
Lastly Charlie Sheen is not a negative example for people fighting addiction or mental illness; on the contrary, he’s a prime example of circumstances characterized as mental illness that may not be, a prime example of how choosing to change your life can lead people to believe you’re unstable. Reporters, doctors, specialists chattering about his need to be on a psych hold, calling him a current addict, drug user when he’s not does more to make sure ordinary people avoid drug treatment, shy away from counseling than Charlie Sheen’s highly publicized string of bad behavior could ever do. Those who supposedly have it together in society forget all too quickly people have a right to self destruct if they want to; people have a right to organize their life the way they want to, provided it’s within the law. Everything else is open to interpretation.