One week ago today, we lost Carrie Fisher. While many will remember her as the daughter of famous parents, as Princess Leia and the best writers around, Ms. Fisher will also be remembered for her battle with mental illness.
Mental illness, in its various forms affects millions around the world. Some are able to put on a face and go about their business, pretending that they are emotionally healthy. Others are crippled by their demons, forced to spend their days in the shadows, afraid to even step out of those shadows. Carrie Fisher was one of us. Diagnosed with bi polar disorder in her twenties, she embraced her demons and openly commented on them with honesty, gusto and a sense of humor that few with mental illness have the bravery to speak of.
I’ve been a fan of hers since my teens, when the original trilogy was re-released in movie theaters. Over the years, I’ve come to admire Carrie Fisher not just for her most famous on-screen alter ego, but for the bravery and the sense of humor that allowed her to face her demons and live her life to the fullest. Those of us living with mental illness want to live a full life, but our demons hold us back. She was our voice and our courage. She spoke when we couldn’t. She gave us the push we needed to give our demons the middle finger and just enjoy life.
It’s only been seven days she left this world. While our tears may still flow, we can start to remember why we loved her.
RIP Carrie, you are missed.