If You Meet Carrie Fisher on the Road, Kill Her

I’ve always thought this would be a fabulous title for my book.

Carrie Fisher works triple duty for me as a metaphor-carrier.  She’s bipolar, obese and has that old Star Wars twinkle.  And if the Buddhist reference flies over some people’s heads, that’s okay, because the literal statement works for me, too.

When Carrie’s book Wishful Drinking came out, I rushed to get it.  Princess Leia was bipolar and telling the world!  I liked her other books and her humor, so I expected this book to be a winner.  But, alas, no.  At least not for me.

The pain behind her humor is clear and heart-wrenching.  I identified with her struggles and craziness.  But when she said electro-convulsive therapy saved her life, I threw the book away. ECT destroyed my brain and my life.  Reading about someone who swears by it, who gets zapped on a regular basis to control her symptoms, made me physically ill.

I find it interesting that while on tour with her one-woman show based on Wishful Drinking, Carrie’s weight ballooned.  It must have been difficult to dip into the horrors of her disease night after night, and I know as well as anyone that going unconscious with food is one way to deal with horror.  So, now she’s the new spokesperson for Jenny Craig.  And we all know how well that worked for Kirstie Alley.

Carrie, Carrie, Carrie.  We are sisters in so many ways.  I applaud your strength and your ability to pick yourself up and keep searching for the Answer.  I love that you never give up, even in the worst of times.  I love that you’ve kicked alcohol and drugs, temptations that most folks with bipolar disorder have to deal with.  Keep workin’ it, girlfriend.  If you ever need to come rub my belly, I’m here for you.

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. strugglingwithbipolar
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 07:40:58

    Have you seen Postcard From the Edge? It is also a book that was written by Carrie Fisher about her relationship with her mother after a suicide attempt. It is both humorous and incredibly sad. I did not know she went through ECT, and I am so sorry for what it has done to you. My doctors wanted me to try that or TMS and I managed to avoid it.


  2. pompeii
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 19:52:10

    Very late reply!

    I really enjoyed Wishful Drinking, but I can understand why you would have thrown the book away when she got to the ECT part.

    There was a post on someone’s blog that I read yesterday (can’t remember exactly where as I read a heap of blogs yesterday!), that had a link to an article about ECT. There was some mental health professional in an important position who also swears by the benefits of ECT. I find that more annoying to be honest because people may take that advice more seriously than Carrie’s. Or not…..who knows with the cult of celebrity!

    All that said, I read the book about 18mths ago, so I might think differently about it now. I find this can happen. I haven’t had to go down that path because, luckily for me, medication seems to work well. So far.

    I’m sad that ECT destroyed your brain and life. I find the medication I’m on does enough to mess with my memory etc.


    • Sandy Sue
      Feb 04, 2012 @ 06:39:48

      I know I overreacted to the book. Some people do get relief with ECT, and some are willing to suffer the side effects. It’s like the psych meds in a lot of ways–you just have to balance the benefits with the dangers. Like most every other bipolar person I’ve met, I just wish I’d had other options.


  3. Evonda
    Sep 16, 2012 @ 17:36:41

    Carrie Fisher’s books recently fell off the shelves at the local library and somehow wound up in my to-be-read-and-returned-to-the-library-not-more-than-2-weeks-late stack. I’m currently consuming (with the same relish with which I consume dark chocolate) The Best Awful. Her work contains brutal honesty and beautiful imagery. Feelings of “desperate aging girl despair” (The Best Awful) are probably shared by all middle-aged bipolar women.

    I agree with you on ECT.


  4. cabrogal
    Feb 16, 2015 @ 10:34:44

    Yah, I think I know what you mean.

    I’d like to be all accepting of whatever other people think helps get them through the night (and often pretend I am) and I know my own views of integrity and authenticity are ego-bound and applicable only to me (if that). God knows many of my own ways of dealing with what’s in my head have been strongly associated with various forms of delusion and fucked-uppedness.

    But really I’m like a liberal who refuses to admit that blacks make him uncomfortable.

    Godammit, don’t those people realise they’re only flogging that pill/therapy/belief system because it’s messed them up so much they can’t see how damaging it is!

    That sort of thing could never happen to me of course.


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