Mental health is messy. It is not glamorous, it is not fun. It makes people uncomfortable, so much so that those who share their stories are often told that they are oversharing or coming across as entirely disordered. That’s what made Carrie Fisher such an amazing woman- she is the epitome of bravery. In spite of the big Hollywood expectations that surrounded her, she allowed her true, messy self to be seen. She made it okay to share our stories. She gave a big middle finger to the stigma that is associated with mental illness and lived so courageously. She will always be an icon in American cinematic history, but what I truly hope she is remembered for is her mental health advocacy.
“At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of.” -Carrie Fisher
In honor of Carrie, I will continue to be seen as messy- to share my story, authentically and vulnerably. Because I believe that one day, people who struggle with mental illness will no longer face stigma and instead, will be supported and loved during their pursuit of overcoming their illness. I will live like the Princess, like the General in order to help others.
Photo from the Huffington Post’s amazing piece on the OG mental health hero.