To Carrie Fisher, Who Gave Me Hope in My Battle With Mental Illness
I’m looking up at the moon tonight from my chair and whispering, “May the force be with you always.” A tear finds its way from my eye, silently making its path down my cheek and hits my hoodie after leaving my chin. You’ve left the Earth a little dimmer as you’ve made the night sky a little brighter.
Today the world lost not only a Princess of Sci Fi, but a general fighting the war against the stigma on mental health. A role model not just for little girls who deserve to know that they can be heroes, but people with neurological differences who want to live alongside those who don’t have mental health issues in the mainstream.
You spoke openly about your battle with bipolar disorder and addiction and you chose to use your fight to help others. Because of you those of us in the mental health community feel more able to talk about our own journeys. You’ve helped to break down barriers and build bridges. You’ve shown us that we are our best advocates.
My mental health issues are not the same as yours, but that doesn’t change that when I heard you talk about your bipolar disorder and addiction, I felt reassured that I could cope with my post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and addiction. That if you could find a way to cope, maybe so could I.
In recent years, I’ve found my support network, I’ve found my coping mechanisms and I’ve looked at the work you’ve done, knowing that whilst for me, you’ve provided only a gentle nudge, for others you’ve been the most important of lifelines. I hope that I and many others can continue your work by speaking out about our conditions so that others don’t feel so alone.
In recent years, I had the pleasure to walk past you at a few conventions and watch you “glitter-bomb” other guests, interact with attendees and light up when you saw young girls dressed like Leia, but my favorite memory will be of seeing you talk quietly to a young girl I had spoken to earlier on one particular day at the table I was working at, who had anxiety issues. She was maybe 15 years old, and very quiet. You were near the toilets, and she was lit up from within. I don’t know what you said and I only saw the two of you for a moment, but the look on her face will stay with me. You clearly made her day and her mother had a look of a parent who couldn’t believe that someone understood.
Sleep sweet, General Organa, we will continue your fight now.
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