Friday, March 4, 2011


Yes yes, I am about to do a Charlie Sheen post.  But I bet it's not what you think....

Much has been said by and about Charlie Sheen in the last week.  Certainly he has brought most of it on himself.  Clearly he is also a fellow with issues.

Or... is he.

What troubles me about the whole Sheen drama is the amount of people who are diagnosing a mental illness.  Words like "bi-polar" and "manic" have been thrown around all too often by people who are not in a position to diagnose.  So called psychologists, counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists are saying things like, "Oh it's clear he is bi-polar", based entirely on excerpts of comments he's made on various radio and television shows.  

Even the general public gets a say in the matter, as normal people-on-the-street are interviewed about what they think is wrong.  How exactly is some random passerby qualified to answer questions on the mental state of someone they never have met and know only through movies and TV?

That kind of irks me.  It reminds me of the news story floating around a couple weeks ago about Steve Jobs.  I saw the story early in it's life.  A Doctor hired by the National Enquirer looked at  pictures some paparazzi had taken of Steve Jobs leaving a cancer clinic.  This (undoubtedly saint-like) Doctor pronounced that Steve Jobs had 6 weeks to live, based solely on the photos.  Later in the day, someone dropped the National Enquirer part from the story, and the mainstream media started reporting it as fact.

Yes, Charlie Sheen is the flavor of the moment and everyone seems to want to watch the guy self-destruct (whether or not thats actually what's happening).  However that is no excuse for supposed professionals to go off the reservation and diagnose someone based on sound bites.  Isn't there some sort of professional code of conduct?  Or is a professional code of conduct totally negated by the amount of money that TMZ might pay for you to say, "BI-POLAR!" on camera?

I think most people assume Charlie Sheen has some sort of issue. Is he ill?  Or is he just Peter Pan, refusing to grow up.  Whether it is a real mental illness or its something as simple as a guy who has boatloads of money preferring to party and live with porn stars rather then conform to society's definition of what a man his age should do, only Charlie Sheen and his actual Doctors know. 

The nonsense that's been going on in the news does a great disservice to real mental health professionals, and trivializes people who are living with actual mental health issues.

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