Living with bipolar is tough, and there’s no doubt that we face a struggle that many don’t. We often look at ourselves as unlucky or different because we have a diagnosis that potentially can change our lives. However, here’s a statement which will shock you: Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at an early age was something that made me better. It forced me to try different things and approach situations differently. I learned to handle emotional situations much better at the same time becoming very patient. It also forced me to research and find information pertaining to bipolar which otherwise I wouldn’t have had a reason to do.
During my research, I started to notice how bipolar truly doesn’t discriminate because it affects everyone. You can be the most successful person in the world with millions of dollars, and have to cope with bipolar. Here’s the thing; age, color, ethnicity, income, and social status doesn’t matter. The mind can be affected all the same, and coping with it requires the same approach too.
Carrie Fisher: Actor, Writer, Humorist, and Mental Health Advocate
We all know Carrie Fisher from her role in Star Wars where in 1977 she starred as Princess Leia. Before that, in 1975, Carrie Fisher made her movie debut starring with Warren Beatty in the comedy, Shampoo. She is the daughter of two famous people of their own: Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Her mom was very famous throughout the Golden Age of Hollywood.
In 1980 and 1983, she was once again cast as Princess Leia in the Star Wars movie – The Empire Strikes (1980) and The Return of the Jedi (1983). To promote the movie, she starred on the cover of Rolling Stones in July 12, 1980 and the summer of 1983 with her costars.
Carrie Fisher has been very public about her battle with bipolar disorder. In 2000, on an episode of 20/20, she discussed her diagnosis and her addictions to cocaine and prescription medication. Her drug use was a form of self-medication, and she took pain medication such as Percodan to “dial down”. In 2001, in an interview with Psychology Today, she stated – “Drugs made me feel normal”.
At one point, Carrie Fisher was receiving ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) every six weeks to “blow apart the cement away” in her brain. In her later years, she became an advocate for bipolar awareness, shedding light on the struggles facing those with the mental illness. During this time, she also did several interviews where she talked openly about bipolar disorder and answered questions on how she managed it.
Carrie Fisher was an icon and she grew up during a time where Hollywood pioneered some of the greatest movies we’ve seen ever. Star Wars continues to be a hit and people remember her iconic role as Princess Leia. Here’s the thing that many of us need to understand:
I believe, it was during her later years, after being diagnosed with bipolar, that she did some of her best work. I know many of you might not agree, but think about the countless interviews, books, and performances where she would talk openly about her disorder and push to increase mental health awareness.
I want to quote something from Paul Cumming who is a long-time advocate for bipolar:
“The power of celebrity was best shown by Carrie that by being public, and funny, she demystified our diagnosis and showed by example we can live well and thrive.” – nytimes.com
Hopefully, after reading this you’ll think positively in terms of your limitations. I’ve said it before, your only limitation when living with bipolar is yourself. Carrie Fisher conquered Hollywood, was an author, advocated for bipolar, and shed light on the debate regarding bipolar and creativity. I’ll admit, some of my best creative work was done while during a manic episode. Even though I prefer to stay neutral in my mood, it’s important to note that bipolar, during a manic state, did spark a level of creativity which wasn’t apparent before.
After reading this, I pray all of you find the strength and motivation knowing that living with bipolar doesn’t limit you at all. Maybe one day, through hard work and focus, you’ll be the next Hollywood star, an author, and advocate for bipolar disorder. I believe deep inside, with the right mentality and keeping a state of positivity, I’ll be able to conquer anything that comes in my way.
Carrie Fisher Princess Leia photo credit: http://popwrapped.com/watch-carrie-fisher-star-wars-audition/
Rolling Stones photo credit: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/pictures/1980-rolling-stone-covers-20040511
feature photo credit: http://wixtechs.com/carrie-fisher-has-died-at-the-age-of-60/