The late actress, Carrie Fisher, who passed away last December, spoke candidly about her struggle with bipolar and the addictions that plagued her pretty much throughout her life. Like it appears to be the case with many victims of mental disorders, Fisher was not only a fabulously gifted film and stage performer and best selling author, but an extremely intelligent woman. Earlier this morning, when I discovered the story on twitter, opinions varied about the published article. Majority of comments showed that people were unhappy or uncomfortable with what they saw as a disparaging to Fisher. Others saw it as the media's usual tendency to sensationalize in order to sell papers. These people asked that Fisher be left to rest in peace. In fact, only a couple of people conceded that the story might discourage drug use. (I don't recall mention of mental illness.) I, of course, had a different view of the article.
There's nothing new about the media sensationalizing news for profit. It's a business, and, like any business, newspapers and other news outlets are as much about disseminating news as they are about making money. That being said, some reports, like the story in question, is what's referred to as "human interest" story. I can understand where people, who see the story as "exploitative" and slanderous to a beloved entertainer are coming from. No one wants to see unflattering stuff dredged up about someone they admire and/or love, much less one who's unable to defend herself. And make no mistake Carrie Fisher, along with her legendary mother, Debbie Reynolds, were loved and admired. They certainly were Hollywoods royalty. However, if you have been touched--directly or indirected--by mental illness like I--and millions around the world--have, the story will have a different meaning.
There's something called "the cocktail effect." It's when, for example, we, ladies buy that "unique" dress or pair of shoes, then soon discover that every Jane, Janet and June has the same exact thing . Or, when anyone of you men finally get to that special sports car which you'd never seen anywhere else except in magazine or television ads, only to start seeing one, two, or more soon after leaving the lot. This is what it was like for me when my beloved daughter fell victim to bipolar disorder, a disease whose I'd never heard of until then. Unfortunately, my family and I were also some of the unlucky ones who didn't have good and caring enough doctors and psychiatrist/therapist to even refer us to organizations like the National Alliance for Mentally Ill (NAMI) or other similar support groups. We discovered them by ourselves when, alas, it was too late. This is almost 13 years ago. Since then, I've come to learn a lot about not just bipolar but other mental illnesses, including the umpteen numbers of the victims around the world who, along with their families, suffer in silence because of the shame and stigma that accompany the disorders.
One of Carrie Fisher's legacies is the unreserved candor and humor with which she informed the public about bipolar and the addiction that, as we've now come learn, haunted her to the grave. To this end, I don't agree with the aforementioned critical comments that criticize the newspaper that published the said story. Fisher isn't turning in her grave and wouldn't be offended by the report. In fact, her daughter said as much after the story broke. She felt that her mother would've been happy to know that she was able to help someone from the grave (my words) who was struggling with the same illness that plagued her while alive she was alive. For those us, such as myself, who have been forced into membership of a club we never asked to join, we are eternally grateful to people like Ms. Fisher and her fellow thespians, who use their fame and celebrity status to highlight, educate and enlighten millions of people about this horrible insidious disease and other mental disorders like schizophrenia, clinical depression, and so on and so forth.
To Ms. Fisher, my daughter, Njeri, and millions of others who directly or indirectly were taken away by any of the said illnesses or hand addiction, we pray that your soul rest in eternal peace and that your suffering and subsequent deaths will not be in vain.
To read the article, please click on the link below. If you have any problems, just google "Carrie Fisher's autopsy." It's a very short article, by the way.
Wishing everyone a healthy, long and productive life.
Thank you to help stamp out shame and stigma from mental illnesses.