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How Carrie Fisher Inspires Me to Be My Best Self as a Person With Bipolar Disorder

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I relate a lot to Carrie Fisher.

She’s funny, poignant, sweet, and charitable. I’d like to think I have some of those same qualities.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

I once had the opportunity to meet her and got to tell her how much I appreciated the work she does to bring light to bipolar disorder. I’ll never forget the hug she gave me and how she seemed to genuinely care how I was doing at that exact moment.

I love hearing her talk about the struggles she has with bipolar disorder. I’m really a nobody with bipolar disorder who writes articles that get a few views here and there. But Carrie Fisher, Demi Lovato, and others speak and command attention.

I appreciate the work she does because she gives me hope. She inspires me to keep writing and to keep sharing my story. The fact that she is so raw and honest encourages me to do the same. I think she does the same for others who are struggling with mental illness.

There’s a quote, “with great power comes great responsibility,” and I feel that celebrities who struggle with mental illness and come out about it have a responsibility to be real. Don’t sugarcoat it. Help people see we’re human. We have fallibilities, yet we have redeeming qualities as well. Fight the stigma.

I can’t do that as a relatively anonymous writer, but my heroes like Carrie Fisher can.

I love that she fights the stigma and does it in spades.

I’m grateful for people like her who have the courage to show the dark side of mental illness, as well as the light side — that there is hope of recovery, and even though the possibility of relapse is always there, challenges can be overcome. A “normal” life of purpose and happiness is possible, even with serious mental illness.

That’s what I love about Carrie Fisher. She shows there is hope of a meaningful life, no matter how the odds are stacked. I’ll keep trying. I’ll keep fighting the good fight because I’ve got a role model to help keep me on point.

Photo by Matt Klein

Originally published: November 5, 2016
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