The stigmatization of the disease was responsible for the salacious interest and inquiry. The gracious and courageous response will serve to help remove the stigma for so many, including me--and maybe Charlie Sheen.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is known as the genius disease (many of us like to think). Mark Twain had it, as did Ludwig Von Beethoven, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Teddy Roosevelt and Vincent Van Gogh. So does Ted Turner, Jane Pauley, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and, I suspect, Charlie Sheen.
I have much in common with Charlie Sheen. He is being brutalized too. I wish the media could recognize mental illness and addiction issues for what they are and not showcase Charlie as the Wild Man From Borneo. He is sick. I disagree with the portrayal of Charlie in Newsweek's March 21 article titled "Charlie Sheen Is Winning." He isn't winning. He isn't a role model or someone to emulate, despite the ever-shifting mores of our instant pop culture. He is, simply, a manic depressive like me and like Catherine. He has exhibited the best and the worst of the disease. It can be fun. It can make you crazy. And it can kill you. Anyone with bipolar disorder knows that I am right.
For my part, I am going to do everything in my power to help reduce the stigma. I am not from Hollywood; I am just from little old Olympia, Washington. But in this arena, I hope I can help to make a difference too. Stigmatizing mental illness ought to be a crime.