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Charlie Sheen isn't funny

It's easy to laugh at a grandiose addict taking his rant on the road, but troubled Charlie Sheen may have a mental illness and, if so, needs help.

March 12, 2011|Sandy Banks

It would be unethical, she told me this week, to offer a "diagnostic impression" of Sheen. "But I feel for him, whatever he has. He's doing things in public that call for compassion." Instead we've responded with "bear-baiting — like the ancient rituals of tormenting, then watching for the response.

"I get the sense people are just waiting for disaster, in a way. And then they'll feel terrible when it happens."

Bipolar disorder "is a very treatable disorder," she said. "It's hard for people to understand that when what they see in an extreme public setting is somebody just disintegrating."

When I finished interviewing Jamison, I pulled "An Unquiet Mind" from my bookcase and found a passage that made me shudder:

"There is a thin line between what is considered zany and what is considered to be… 'inappropriate,'" she wrote. "And only a sliverish gap exists between being thought intense, or a bit volatile, and being dismissively labeled 'unstable.'"

I think Sheen's crossed that line and dropped into that gap. And it's time for us to stop laughing.

sandy.banks@latimes.com

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