Carrie Fisher was a total badass.
The actress, who died Tuesday at the age of 60 after suffering a heart attack, spoke out on mental illness many times ― something almost unheard of in Hollywood at the time she began sharing publicly.
She gave honest testimonies of the trials and triumphs of battling addiction and bipolar disorder, displaying a no-holds-barred attitude when it comes to discussing the realities of mental health conditions.
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As we mourn her death, we also want to salute the original Princess Leia for her groundbreaking stance on mental health in the public eye. Below are few times Fisher stood up against stigma:
When she owned what was happening with her mental health.
”I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital … 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.”
The time she had this great response to being called the “poster child” of bipolar disorder.
“Well, I am hoping to get the centerfold in Psychology Today. … Now, it seems every show I watch there’s always someone bipolar in it! It’s going through the vernacular like ‘May the force be with you’ did. But I define it, rather than it defining me.”
When she offered sound advice on pursuing dreams despite mental illness.
”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.”
The time she got real about how it feels to go through manic episodes.
“You can’t stop. It’s very painful. It’s raw. You know, it’s rough … your bones burn … when you’re not busy talking and trying to drown it out.”
When she explained the only real way to manage a mental health condition.
“The only lesson for me, or for anybody, is that you have to get help. It’s not a neat illness. It doesn’t go away.”
And finally, when she shut down the shamers by explaining just how strong you have to be to deal with a mental health condition.
”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.”
“I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital,” Fisher said to Sawyer. “I used to think I was a drug addict, pure and simple — just someone who could not stop taking drugs willfully. And I was that. But it turns out that I am severely manic depressive.”
Fisher has been unusually outspoken for years about her mental health battles, something many fans mourned when Fisher died at age 60 on Tuesday after suffering a heart attack several days earlier on an airplane. The actress talked candidly about bipolar disorder and her treatments and how they affected her life. She acknowledged there was still a stigma when talking about mental health, but she wanted to help fight it.
“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,” Fisher told ABC News.
Though she sought treatment, took medication and underwent electroconvulsive therapy, Fisher battled with the illness her whole life. In 2013, she had a bipolar episode while performing on a cruise ship. She told People magazine that her medication went wrong and she wasn’t sleeping. The magazine reported that “shocked audience members watched as she rambled, slurred words and mumbled lyrics. Her dog relieved himself onstage as some people fled.” When the ship docked, Fisher checked into a psychiatric hospital to have her medication adjusted.
“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. I’m just lucky this hasn’t happened more,” Fisher said.
Over the years, Fisher also used humor to cope with her illness, such as when WebMD asked what it was like to be the “poster child” for bipolar disorder. “Well, I am hoping to get the centerfold in Psychology Today,’ ” she cracked.
“That’s my way of surviving, to abstract it into something that’s funny and not dangerous,” she told People. “It is not an entertainment. I’m not going to stop writing about it, but I have to understand it.”
the legendary Hollywood entertainer and mother of Carrie Fisher, died Wednesday, Reynolds’ son, Todd Fisher, confirmed to ABC News. Reynolds was 84.”The only good thing about this is that my mom wanted to be with my sister,” Todd Fisher said Wednesday, referring to Carrie Fisher’s death a day earlier.
On Tuesday, Reynolds addressed on Facebook the death of her daughter, thanking friends and fans for their continued support. Earlier that day, Carrie Fisher died at the age of 60, four days after she suffered cardiac arrest aboard a trans-Atlantic flight.
“Thank you to everyone who has embraced the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter,” Reynolds wrote. “I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to her next stop. Love Carries Mother.”
Reynolds was rushed to a Los Angeles–area hospital on Wednesday, a source close to the actress confirmed to ABC News.
A representative for the Los Angeles Fire Department said earlier Wednesday that authorities responded at 1:02 p.m. Pacific time to a medical aid request on the block where Reynolds has a home. The LAFD transported an adult female in “fair to serious” condition to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the representative said.
Todd Fisher told ABC affiliate KABC on Tuesday that family members were coming together to grieve their recent loss.
“My mother is very strong right now, and Billie, Carrie’s daughter, is very strong … We are all together now at this point,” he said.
Reynolds coped with her own health issues in the past, including what her son described as “a small stroke” last year.
In May, Carrie Fisher spoke to Entertainment Weekly and People about her mother’s health, calling her “frail.”
“It’s, a lot of times, terrifying watching my mother, who’s incredibly resilient, coping with certain health issues that she’s had,” Fisher said at the time. “[Performing is] the thing that gives her life, but it was also pulling it out of her, because she’d perform and then she’d have to recover. But this is someone who wants to go back and do it now. She became very ill, and now she’s bouncing back.”
LOS ANGELES —Debbie Reynolds’ son said Friday his mother and sister, actress Carrie Fisher, will have a joint funeral and will be buried together.
Todd Fisher said the actresses will be interred at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills, the final resting place of numerous celebrities, including Lucille Ball, Dick Van Patten, Liberace, Florence Henderson, David Carradine and Bette Davis.
The son said no date for the funeral has been set, but it will be private. A public memorial is being contemplated, but no plans have been finalized.
Earlier Friday, the Los Angeles coroner’s office released Carrie Fisher’s body to her family. Chief of Operations Brian Elias says an examination of Fisher was done, but he stopped short of calling it an autopsy and would not provide any details on what tests were done.
Elias said there was no timetable for when an official determination on what killed Fisher would be made.
Todd Fisher said the family wasn’t clear on what coroner’s officials had done during the examination, but was glad his sister’s body had been released to Forest Lawn. “My mother and my sister are together right now,” he said.
Carrie Fisher, 60, an actress and writer who starred as Princess Leia in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, died Tuesday after suffering a medical emergency Dec. 23 aboard a flight from London. Reynolds, 84, an Oscar-nominated actress who shot to fame after starring in “Singin’ in the Rain” at age 19, passed away Wednesday after being briefly hospitalized.
“She said, ‘I want to be with Carrie,’” Todd Fisher, told The Associated Press. “And then she was gone.”
In an ABC News interview that was to air Friday, Todd Fisher said that his mother joined his sister in death because Reynolds “didn’t want to leave Carrie and did not want her to be alone.”
“She didn’t die of a broken heart,” Fisher said in the “20/20” interview. “She just left to be with Carrie.”
Reynolds wasn’t inconsolable over her daughter’s death, he said, and instead simply expressed love for her.
“It’s a lot of times terrifying watching my mother, who’s incredibly resilient, coping with certain health issues that she’s had,” Fisher, 59, said of her 84-year-old mother. “We were really lucky…we got really what probably could be her last [big project].”
Although Reynolds is “doing really well,” Fisher said, she’s “been a little more frail.”
She said her mom “had an illness that she’s recovered amazingly from,” while noting that Reynolds “had a spinal issue.”
Director Fisher Steven, who was also interviewed, said Reynolds didn’t understand the concept of a documentary at first.
“She asked for a script when we started shooting,” Stevens told People and EW.
She eventually warmed up to the idea and persevered despite her health issues.
“There’s a moment in the film where she calls [co-director Alexis Bloom] and says, ‘I can’t film today,'” Stevens said. “There were moments where she did cancel but we were able to capture, I think, sort of, lightning in a bottle.”
The film, an intimate portrait of fame, family, aging and mother-daughter dynamics, has received enthusiastic reviews in Cannes and will appear on HBO early next year.
Earlier this week, Fisher told the Washington Post that she wanted to make the film because Reynolds, who still occasionally performs her nightclub act, had begun to decline both cognitively and physically.
“I didn’t know how much longer she would be performing,” the “Star Wars” star said of her mom. “It’s the thing that gives her life, but it was also pulling it out of her, because she’d perform and then she’d have to recover. But this is someone who wants to go back and do it now.”
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