7 Compelling Carrie Fisher Quotes About Mental Health That We All Need To Hear

There’s nothing “good” to come out of celebrity deaths but over the festive period we’ve seen George Michael, Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds pass away. In the hours and days after their deaths, we’ve had an influx of stories regarding their charitable acts and how their fought their personal battles with pride. No other person has battled mental illness and fought so strongly than Carrie Fisher.

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I was not a Star Wars fan but I was a fan of anyone who spoke the truth about the painful, deliberating, torturous and often funny side of living with mental illness. As well as prolific substance abuse, Carrie lived with bipolar and kicked it well and truly in the balls.

Here are 7 quotes by the late actress which will continue to inspire me:

“Without medication I would not be able to function in this world. Medication has made me a good mother, a good friend, a good daughter.”

If we’re breaking the stigma around mental health, we also need to break the fear around medication. Medication personally saved my life and I’d be nothing without it. But there’s still such a barrier around it. People struggle with the concept of taking something which will have an effect on their mind but it’s literally no different to taking a pill for low iron levels or a hormone issue. Carrie understood that.

“I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital.”

Following on from the comment regarding medication, Carrie’s acceptance that- in its most blunt form- mental health is a chemical imbalance is something we all sometimes need to hear. When mental health problems blight your life, it’s easy to blame yourself or those around you for your problems but it often helps to remind yourself it’s not your fault and just the way your brain is wired.

“I’m very sane about how crazy I am.”

This makes me laugh every single time.

“We treat beauty like an accomplishment, and that is insane. Everyone in L.A. says, ‘Oh, you look good,’ and you listen for them to say you’ve lost weight. It’s never ‘How are you?’ or ‘You seem happy!'”
This quote is from a recent interview with Good Housekeeping magazine and is absolutely true, both inside and outside LA. In our digital world, we’re complimented on the image and not the inside. It’s time to change that.

“The world of manic depression is a world of bad judgment calls.”

Sometimes, actually a lot of the time, mental illness is to blame for actions in your life. Understanding that can be hard- it’s taken me 14 years to do it- but it’s true. Some of the things I’ve done in life, the mistakes I’ve made, have been down to my illness and I’d never have done them otherwise. Manic depression is a bastard but the important thing is to make things right and as positive as possible when you’re feeling well and stable.

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“The only lesson for me, or anybody, is that you have to get help. It’s not a neat illness. It doesn’t go away.”
Anyone with mental health problems will get that confidence when things have been clear for a while. You’ve been feeling stable for a little longer than usual, you’re sleeping well and feeling more confidence. You think “At last! My mental illness is cured!” and then soon it comes crashing down again. Truth is, those of us who suffer from mental health problems have to accept they’ll never go away and even if we go years without any bad experiences, it’s important to acknowledge and seek help when it rears its ugly head.
“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. Better me than you”
FUCK YES! To me, this quote is everything. I want more people to be able to speak about their mental health problems this way. Tackling your own mind on a daily basis requires huge balls and we need to face the fight head on. Let’s honour Carrie’s memory and carry on surviving with determination, courage and tenacity.
Rest in peace, Carrie. You were a one-off.

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This Tweet From A Reader Shows How Important Journalism For Teens Really Is

Stats, social media scheduling, strategy planning and editorial calendar-ing, just several things I was juggling on a super stressful work day just before we finished for Christmas when I got the tweet that I’d basically been waiting for my entire life.

Despite the pinch-me parts of my job, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in a bubble and suddenly posh parries, interviewing The Vamps and producing work which is read by over a million people per month just becomes part of the every day. Clearly I appreciate and value my job but when I’m walking round Sainsburys toying between types of pesto or shaving my legs in a hurry before a date, I don’t really consider how lucky I am.

So when I got a tweet from a young fan of the site one manic, stressful Wednesday evening, I cried at my desk because I could have easily written that tweet to Jo Elvin of Glamour or an abundance of journalists at the likes of More, Vogue, Sugar or Mizz when I was young… Or snail mail, as it would have been at the time.

The young female, who I’ve since found out is 14 from Hungary, tweeted me this:

Followed by:

And OMG it was the most relatable thing ever!

When I was as young as eight and started reading pre-teen magazines, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Despite not really understanding what a journalist was, I knew that’s what I wanted to be. When I got to 13, I’d read Sugar and More and giggle at Position Of The Fortnight pages because I thought sex was gross and people surely weren’t that bendy (wrong on the first, 100% right on the second)

Magazines, and later blogs, became my escape in my early teens and beyond from mental health problems and my mother taught me the value of some serious self care time with an hour-long bubble bath with only a brand new magazine for company. When I couldn’t escape my own mind, magazines helped.

Whether it was losing myself in a beautiful Tim Burton for Vogue fashion editorial and later making collages from the pages or reading sex confessions which I totally believed were sent in from real people (secret: some actually are but some aren’t), nothing gave me more pleasure.

When I studied media at college and later Fashion  Communication at Uni, I defended print publications and shouted the sheer joy of paper magazines to anyone who would and would not listen. Despite working for a digital publication now, my ethos is still the same- there’s nothing better than finding a title that just works for you.

It’s so easy to lose the real value of the readership when the number goes past hundreds of thousands because you just can’t grasp the number in terms of real people in a room or a stadium. But comments like the one above remind me why I’m a journalist, especially a journalist specialising in teens and young people- because they need it the most.

My friend Lucy recently spoke so passionately about this when she uploaded a video discussing how she’d lost her job when teen site Sugarscape closed recently.

Teens relied on that site- whether it was for the latest 1D news or how to do the latest nail art trend at home. All of that might sound like fluffy filler to you but teens face so much shit these days that if they can find any sort of escapism, comfort and happiness in a piece of journalism then that’s amazing.

Political uncertainty, the pressure of social media, rising mental health problems and the “normal” stuff teens go through like puberty, hormones, relationships and exam stress… As a 27 year old woman who has been through her share of shit and come out stronger, I know how important having a place of light is.

When I got that tweet it reminded me of the human aspect of digital journalism. It also reminded me of my teen self who had big dreams but felt like she had no hope of escaping her tiny village or her own mind. I was that teen once who idolised so many journalists and editors and they were the inspiration I needed to achieve my own dreams. If I can be that for one person, my career is worth every late night, every long meeting and every stress over Facebook’s bloody algorithm…

Thank you, F,  you have no idea what your tweets meant to me.