A good biography does much more than provide the basic facts found on any general internet search. It introduces the reader to the real person that is sometimes hidden behind history and the PR machine.
I loved this book. As much as I knew about Ms. Fisher before I read it, I learned even more. She was intelligent, incredibly funny, smartass, loyal to those she loved, and vulnerable. What made this one special was that it showed her humanity. It is a complete picture of a woman who has inspired generations of fans, women, and those living with mental illness to not be afraid of being who they are.
I normally loathe to discuss this particular family, but this topic hits too close to home.
Mental illness of any kind is not a joke, nor it is a drama king/queen’s way of getting attention. It is a real health condition that requires support and access to medical care. Until we realize that and put in the structure needed to help those who suffer, it will never be on par with physical illness.
Mental illness is real. It is not a made up to gain sympathy or a reason to throw a pity party. Millions (myself included) suffer around the world from the various diseases that are labelled as mental illness. Unfortunately, it takes someone like Mariah Carey to add another light to the darkness and another voice to the reality of living with mental illness.
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.