My Dear Friend Charlie Sheen
My average morning: My alarm clock blasts the stereotypical sound associated with 7 a.m. mornings. I awake from what I wouldn’t even call sleep, and I stare at the ceiling wondering how I’m going to survive today’s chemistry exam when even the TA insists that this is his “cherry on the top.” Glancing over at my roommate as he snores louder than Yawkey Way on opening day at Fenway Park, I think to myself why couldn’t you just close your mouth and breath through your nose? Looking back at the clock, I guesstimate how much time I have left to savor the comfort of my own bed before jumping up to begin my whole routine. Well, at least this isn’t the worst day I’ve ever had…LOSING.
Charlie Sheen’s average morning: Lounging in bed with his porn star girlfriend strewn across his body and a model in the other arm, the text message of his personal trainer awakens the beast from his multi-million dollar master bedroom. Its 5 a.m. and Charlie is sweating bullets in his household gym, while his trainer continues to sculpt the comedian’s six pack. Following the extreme workout, Charlie offers his trainer or anyone for that matter, a cigar from his conveniently located hidden vault as opposed to the traditional “would you like to stay for breakfast?” Standing in the kitchen looking out over his extravagant backyard pool with a cup of Folgers, he smiles….WINNING.
This may seem long overdue, but it has taken me until at least this point to really understand this whole fiasco surrounding Charlie Sheen. From the male perspective who wouldn’t want to be Charlie Sheen for one day? The guy wakes up with a porn star and model draped over him, and not to mention, he is swimming in money regardless of whether Two and a Half Men ever comes back on the air. Although Sheen may come off as vulgar and inconsiderate, especially when looking at his past relationships, he is living the life right now. Not to mention the fact that all of these recent interviews have only increased his popularity and wealth! However, I’m not saying what he did is right, but there is more than what meets the eye with Charlie Sheen.
A complex illness that is characterized by dramatic and unpredictable mood swings, you could say bipolar disorder is the perfect disorder for a successful actor to have. More importantly, it is clear now that this was also handed down to Charlie through his bipolar father, Martin Sheen. Studies at Stanford University, which explored the genetic connection of bipolar disorder found that children with one biological parent with bipolar I or bipolar II disorder have an increased likelihood of having the condition. In this study researchers reported that 51% of children are likely to obtain a disorder ranging from bipolar disorder to something such as ADHD.
There are several types of bipolar disorders, all of which involve episodes of depression and mania to a degree. Mainly though, we can break down bipolar disorder into bipolar-depression and bipolar-mania. Experts believe bipolar disorder is partly caused by an underlying problem with the balance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Three brain chemicals, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine are involved in both brain and bodily functions. The disruption of these systems in various balances is what leads to various mental illnesses. During the most recent interviews depicting his radical conversations with various reporters, Charlie demonstrated bipolar-mania related symptoms including everything from excessive happiness and excitement to restlessness and racing thoughts. But we must remember, genetics wasn’t the sole source of Charlie’s problem, for he invited cocaine to the party.
Deep in the brain there are centers that provide feelings of euphoria and pleasure also know as reward centers. An event that is “rewarding” is accompanied by the release of a chemical known as dopamine. Dopamine allows feelings of pleasure and euphoria. Normally, the dopamine is released into small gaps between neurons in the brain where it binds with proteins in the gaps and sends the appropriate signals to the brain. The dopamine then leaves the gap. Cocaine substance abuse disrupts this process. Cocaine actually blocks the dopamine from leaving the gaps between the brain’s neurons leading to a buildup of dopamine, which continually stimulates the brain. Now when we put all of the puzzle pieces together, at least we can understand why Charlie was sweating to death with his pupils dilated, consumed by his feelings of being “alive.”
In short, Charlie and I live completely different lives. I’m a college student trying to work my way up the ladder of success on the east coast, while Charlie is lounging in bed with his porn star girlfriend. Although I could tell him certain combinations of counseling and medication are available to him, at least to stabilize his mood over time, at this point, I don’t think he would consider my suggestion a WINNING option…
Bipolar Disorder – WebMD
Cocaine Abuse – Drug Rehab 101