✨Stay afraid but do it anyway.✨
And perhaps I’m a little touchy on the subject and maybe I hold Carrie a little too dear to my heart, but the reason I do is because Carrie Fisher helped me realize I was mentally ill.
Oh I knew I was crazy, in the same vague way you worry that you’ve left the stove on at home, despite not having cooked yourself a meal in weeks because you’re too depressed to eat a proper meal. (Except you don’t call it that, you call it “laziness” and maybe try and convince yourself it’s a new diet called “whatever requires the least amount of effort to put calories into my face”.)
Something was “off” inside my head, but no one seemed to care about it too much. Even when they threw me into eating rehab for a perceived eating disorder—despite lacking several of the vital criteria on the checklist to have typical eating disordered behavior—no one gave too much of a shit. I was just a girl who was “too nervous”, “too in touch with my emotions”, “too fragile”, I was “attention seeking”. And their remedy to this was ignore me and wonder why I crashed and burned at regular intervals, blame me for being selfish, then go back to not giving a fuck until it inconvenienced their life again.
I was crazy. But maybe I wasn’t. Maybe if I just tried harder…so I learned to cope. I became the one who Coped. I was There For Everyone. I became Reliable and above all else, I learned to be Funny and make It funny.
My mother still hates that. She thinks it’s crass for women to be funny. Personally I think I’m fucking hysterical, but then what do I know, I’m fucking nuts.
Later, now with hindsight and being able to look at my life from a safe(-r) mindset surrounded by people who care and want to help, I realize that what I was going through was (and is) untreated PTSD. Whether or not the PTSD caused the other issues, like the depression, the anxiety, the compulsive behaviors or the ADHD I think I might have, I don’t know. I likely will never know, because the Thing happened and shot my still developing child brain into a million tiny fragmented pieces of unparalleled terror and poor coping mechanisms. It doesn’t really matter at this point, all that matters is dealing with all of it as best as I can, however I can. But there’s a very real chance I might never have gotten to this stage if I hadn’t found out that Princess Leia, my childhood icon who helped me feel brave and strong while my world was ending, had written a book about living with mental health issues.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from it to be honest. I knew vaguely, that Carrie Fisher had issues. The word “junkie” had been used by my father—while unironically taking a drink from his self-medicating poison of choice and my mother tutted and tisked about how some people just ought to pull themselves together.
Ten, maybe twelve minutes into the book locked away in my room, I can’t even tell you anymore whether I was crying because I was laughing so hard or if I was laughing because I was crying my heart out, but I was having a fucking revelation.
This was me, holy shit this was me, this was me, this was me, an unboken mantra in my head pounding to the beat of my heart, this was me, this is me—I do exist.
That’s a weird thought to have, right? I do exist.
It wasn’t, “I’m normal”, because normal is not this. It’s not feeling like your mind is running a million miles a second in circles while simultaneously wading uphill through treacle and juggling chainsaws while trying to keep all your Life Plates spinning and oh gods someone just handed you a kitten to look after. What it is however, is fairly common, and suffered with varying degrees of severity by a rather sizable chunk of the world’s population. I mean, who knew? I sure as shit didn’t. I thought it was all in my head.
You know what I mean.
I’m told some people get up in the mornings and go through their entire day without once having an intrusive thought or struggling to do basic shit like take a shower and manage to remember to feed themselves. I know, seems fake right? It certainly does to me.
And here was Carrie, my Princess Leia, laying out her issues past, present and probable future, in what remains one of the funniest, most brutal attempts at self-lobotomy on paper I have ever had the privilege to read. I consumed that book in mere hours, I devoured her words and breathed them in like inhaling steam in a sauna and breathing out fire in their wake and moved onto her next book, then her next, then her next, and by then there was this blessed thing called Twitter and it should be impossible to be hilarious and poignant through 140 emojis or less, but that was the kind of brilliant she was. And this was me, this was someone like me. And she was witty and brilliant and funny and yes, things were difficult for her and yes, some parts of her life were an absolute clusterfuck of mistakes, addiction and general all round fuckery leading up to that point…but she was still there, y’know? She was still there.
And it breaks my heart a little every day, knowing that I’ll never be able to tell her how important that was to me. And to thank her for it.
So instead I try to pay it forward. Every day, from one day to the next, I try to be a little kinder, a little brighter—a little more like Our Lady Carrie—and throw two loving sparkly middle fingers up at the world that tries to stamp out and demonize the notion that mentally ill people like me, like you, exist.
And we deserve to exist, and more than that, we deserve to be treated with human fucking decency.
And if you are of a mind that the latest news surrounding Carrie’s death means that she was any lesser of a vital energy force in this world, that she mattered less, that her words were less important or that she “deserved” to die because they found drugs in her autopsy report, it is with my profound and heartfelt best wishes, that I invite you to cordially:
✨🖕✨🖕✨🖕✨ Go Fuck Yourself ✨🖕✨🖕✨🖕✨
Don’t bother to RSVP.