Carrie Fisher’s death hit me harder than I thought it would. She was a trailblazer, an accomplished author, actress, speaker, general badass. I was drawn to her after I discovered her autobiographical books, the first being Wishful Drinking. Like the Bloggess said, “She never lost her battle with mental illness.” Carrie wasn’t afraid to share everything, including her very intimate battles with her MI, and part of that instinct has to come from wanting to help others. She emboldened me to seek the right treatments when I was really desperate and I didn’t feel so alone when I was reading her books. She became a friend to me in a time of need. I wish we could have known her longer.
Artists’ deaths have always hit me hard. I become very attached to my favorite writers, etc. When Michael Crichton died I was heartbroken and in tears. It was like a friend had died. His books carried me through so many years, and then his voice was just gone. It triggers a cascade of emotions. Yesterday I think I felt most emotions, from despair, to sadness, to rage, to joy, grief, relief, trepidation, etc. This is my emotional life. We’re all sad about Carrie, but for some reason feeling grief upsets what little balance my emotions can find, and I get really sad.
Yes, the holidays had me feeling very raw. I haven’t been around people a lot at all because I’m just bad at being human right now. It’s hard to be a person. So my emotions were running high and I didn’t have a protective layer. I was probably less friendly than I should have been and less interactive, but I tried. I did my best and that’s a first step. It will all get easier as I get out more, and I take classes and whatnot. But the life of someone with MI is curious. People tend to walk on eggshells whether they realize it or not, as if they don’t quite know what to say to me, whether I’ll crack, would they be responsible for a breakdown, am I OK? At least for now. Hopefully this will dissipate the more I become a real person again. I haven’t been a real person in years, so I don’t blame people for not knowing how to interact with me. I don’t know how to interact with you so that doesn’t surprise me at all.
I will say that learning to write when you know there is an audience of people you know is very challenging. I suddenly feel like some things are simply off limits, but I don’t want that to be true so I am fighting that insight. Obviously I edit myself: not everything belongs on the page and on the Internet. But I’d like to do it as little as possible, and that requires being brave, like Carrie. “Be afraid but do it anyway.” I am afraid, deeply afraid, but I also want deeply to share my world, to try and help just one person. So I’m going to fight, fight my battles and fight the fear, embrace it and move through it. “Confidence will follow.” I believe you Carrie, I do.