Rest in power, Carrie Fisher.
Actress, jokester, and animal-loving icon Carrie Fisher died on Dec. 27, 2016. As evidenced by the response that followed, her impact dismantling stigma surrounding mental illness will live on for generations to come.
The “Star Wars” legend, who died at age 60 less than one week after suffering a heart attack, was more than an actor. She fought for animal welfare. She railed against sexism, body-shaming, and ageism in Hollywood. And she often spoke candidly about living with addiction and bipolar disorder.
To many fans, Fisher’s openness about living with mental illness made a big difference.
Helping to stomp out the stigma against mental illness quickly became one way that fans honored Fisher’s legacy.
honor carrie fisher:
– normalize mental illness and its treatment
– take life a little less seriously
– destroy a fascist regime
— Isaiah Breen (@isikbreen) December 27, 2016
People began opening up about their own experiences living with mental illness using the #InHonorOfCarrie hashtag on Twitter.
As their responses show, Fisher’s commitment to live freely helped normalize mental illness. And it helped countless others do the same.
Because, really, mental illness is nothing to feel ashamed about.
Many used the hashtag to “come out” as someone living with a mental illness.
Sharing a secret with thousands of strangers is a very brave thing to do, after all.
I’m pretty open about being in recovery; I’ve been more circumspect about mental illness. In honor of Carrie Fisher: I’m bipolar, too.
— Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) December 27, 2016
One fan shared how Fisher’s book, “Shockaholic,” changed their life.
Others used the hashtag to send a simple, thoughtful note Fisher’s way.
Just by being herself, Fisher helped others understand you are not your mental illness.
Just by being herself, she helped others — at any age — seek help.
And just by being herself, she made it OK to not always be OK.
Fisher helped people understand why they should receive the care they deserve.
She lived a life that showed why no one should be held captive by any mental illness.
And in some small way, her bravery helped whole families heal.
Fisher’s on-screen legacy will no doubt live on for generations to come. But it’s the person who brought Princess Leia to life that the world will miss most.
As Maya Angelou once said, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Fisher made us feel alive. She helped us laugh. She helped us cry. And for millions around the world, she made it a little bit easier for us to simply be ourselves — mental illness and all.