“Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all”.
Actress and writer Carrie fisher was born on October 21, 1956 in Burbank, Los Angeles country, California. Her father was a singer Eddie fisher and her mother was actress Debbie Reynolds.
At early age, Fisher showed an interest in books and writing poetry. She eventually followed her famous parents into show business, first appearing at the age of 15 in Irene, a Broadway show starring her mother. In 1975, she made her film debut in “SHAMPOO” starring Warren beauty, Julie Christie and Goldie Hawn. But her big breakthrough came playing princess Leia in George luca’s block buster star wars(1977)opposite Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford. Her role as the smart and wisecracking princess made fisher a pop culture icon, and she reprised role in the film’s sequels “The empire strikes back (1980)” and “Return of the Jedi (1983)”
Around the early to mid 1980s Fisher struggled with alcohol, drugs and depression while appearing in a series of largely forgettable films, including “UNDER THE RAINBOW (1981)” and HOLLYWOOD VICE SQUAD (1986)”.
Fisher was well known for being outspoken about her drug and alcohol addiction and bipolar disorder , which she was diagnosed in her early twenties , and she frequently wrote about them in articles and her best selling 2008 memoir “WISHFUL DRINKING” (Simon and Schuster). Her voice encountered the stigma surrounding psychiatric disorders and helped support others with similar struggles – sometimes directly.
Fisher offered guidance to a young adult with bipolar disorder. In it, she explains that she initially rejected the bipolar disorder diagnosis. She received at the age of 24, only accepting it at age 28, “when I overdosed and finally got sober. Only then I was able to see nothing else explain away my behaviour.” She emphasized the importance of connecting with others who have the disorder adding “we have been given a challenging illness and there is no other option than to meet those challenges.”
Some have conjectured that Fisher’s earlier substance abuse and struggles with her weight may have contributed to her death, with medical doctors weighing in about the cardiovascular dangers of cocaine in particular. Though these hypotheses are speculative, one possibility that has been overlooked is the influence of her bipolar disorder which has been linked in several studies to cardiovascular disease and mortality.
The possible factors underlying the connection are numerous and often overlapping.” Negative lifestyle behaviours including suboptimal nutrition, being sedentary, cigarette smoking and excessive use of alcohol and substances are more common among people with bipolar disorder”, says Goldstein. The distress of the mood symptoms of mania and depression that define bipolar disorder and the life stress that occurs as a consequence of symptoms further adds to cardiovascular risk.
While fisher fit the bill for atleast several of these risk factors at different points in her life. In that November column in the “guardian”, she told the advice seeker, “Think of (your diagnosis) as an opportunity to be heroic, an emotional survival. An opportunity to be a good example to others who might share our disorders. The great actress and writer Carrie fisher closed her eyes in the year 2016 suffering a severe cardiac event on a flight, was not only an entertainment icon, but also a prominent health advocate. Carrie fisher’s famous quotes states that “I’ll NEVER BE KNOWN FOR MY WORK WITH BOUNDARIES” which she certainly accomplished in her life.
YOUR STRENGTH AND COURAGE DOES!