In December 2016, the impact of actress Carrie Fisher’s death was felt across the world.
Fans mourned Fisher’s talent and humour, but also her ability to speak about mental health issues in a relatable and honest way.
The iconic role of Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy made Fisher Hollywood royalty at a young age. But under the overwhelming pressure of the spotlight, she struggled with substance misuse issues throughout her 20s.
At the age of 28, Fisher was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a condition that can affect a person’s moods, causing a swing from one extreme to another.
People with bipolar disorder have periods or "episodes" of depression, where they may feel very low and lethargic, or mania, where they often feel very high and overactive.
Other famous people with bipolar disorder include Demi Lovato, Stephen Fry, Mariah Carey and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
To mark Star Wars Day, which is unofficially recognised on 4 May, we’ve revisited some of Fisher’s most inspiring quotes relating to mental health.
On not being ashamed:
I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on.
— December 2000
On the stigma surrounding mental illness:
One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. 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.
— In her 2008 memoir “Wishful Drinking”
On surviving manic episodes:
I don’t really remember what I did. I haven’t watched the videos that people took. I know it got bad. I was in a very severe manic state, which bordered on psychosis. Certainly delusional. I wasn’t clear what was going on. I was just trying to survive.
— September 2013
On chasing your dreams anyway:
Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.
― April 2013
On helping a loved one with bipolar disorder:
If you feel like your child or friend or spouse is showing signs of this illness, if you can get them in touch with somebody else they can talk to and share their experience with and not just feel like they’re being told they’re ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ or ‘stupid,’ then they can relate somehow.
— November 2004
On finding courage:
We have been given a challenging illness, and there is no other option than to meet those challenges. Think of it as an opportunity to be heroic—not ‘I survived living in Mosul during an attack’ heroic, but an emotional survival. An opportunity to be a good example to others who might share our disorder.
— November 2016,
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