This is kinda-Sorta another Carrie Fisher tribute, but I’ll try not to make it like the others we’ve seen en masse last week on TV, in the newspapers and around the blogosphere. While I’ll be using quotes by Carrie, it’s more about me. It’s about me and how I look at life now based upon Carrie. How her life, and her words, affect me. The picture above is of Carrie’s dog, Gary, and it has nothing to do with this post. I used it because he makes me laugh whenever I see him. That darn tongue of his is always hanging out to the right.
“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.”
Sometimes I wish I hadn’t been as open and honest regarding having bipolar, mostly related to this blog. The reason is there are times I wish I could write about difficult situations I’ve had with people in my life who read this blog. However, since the very first day I was diagnosed, I have been open and honest. It’s comforting to read Carrie’s words which reinforce my belief that there is no shame and I keep on doing what I’m doing.
“But I think if you have the expectation that you’re going to be happy throughout your life — more to the point, if you have a need to be comfortable all the time – well, among other things, you have the makings of a classic drug addict or alcoholic.”
Classic drug addict and alcoholic – that’s me. Carrie is right. My substance abuse problems had been the result of having too high expectations in my life. I rarely ever get manic anymore, but the depression still hits more often than I like. Most of the time, when it comes, I’m not happy about it, but I accept it is happening and will eventually pass. It took a long way to get here, but I believe I finally reached that point. I’m thankful for my sobriety.
“If my life wasn’t funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable.”
My original idea for a tagline for this blog was “Bipolar: A serious disease that we take too seriously.” I still believe this to be true, but I never used it because I knew I could not live up to the standard of keeping it humorous all the time. It had more humor in its infancy and I don’t know why that’s changed. Overall, in my blog and my life, I need to take it all less seriously. I just may add that tagline sooner or later…maybe more sooner than later.
“I’m fine, but I’m bipolar. I’m on seven medications, and I take medication three times a day. This constantly puts me in touch with the illness I have. I’m never quite allowed to be free of that for a day. It’s like being a diabetic.”
This immediately touched me because I also take seven meds a day (well, one is as needed.) We’ve all heard the diabetic analogy many, many times. It’s repeated because it’s true.
“The world of manic depression is a world of bad judgment calls.”
Oh my God, yes. I could list all the bad judgment calls I’ve made in my life, but the list would be too long and would incriminate others. The good thing is I harbor less guilt than I used to. My pdoc and my therapist have done a good job of making me understand that most of my bad behavior and judgement occurred before I was properly diagnosed and medicated. I still feel shame and I’m working on it. I do understand that it doesn’t release me from cleaning up the messes I’m responsible for, but it does relieve the guilt.
“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
This quote comes from one of Carrie’s books, but I think it’s erroneous to say it’s from her. It’s been said in AA meetings for many decades. It still doesn’t make it less true. I’m proud to say I released myself from most of my resentments, primarily through working through the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I’m aware some resentments still exist and I’m working on those.
“Please stop debating about whether or not I aged well. Youth and beauty are not accomplishments, they’re the temporary, happy by-products of time and / or DNA. Don’t hold your breath for either.”
I have never attended any of my class reunions, but I’ve viewed the pictures online and thought, “Wow, they’ve gotten old. Thank God I don’t look that bad”. Now, when I look in the mirror, I realize I’ve aged too. I’m not going to say whether I, or they, look bad. I’m just going to say we’ve all aged. There is no good or bad about it.
“I don’t want life to imitate art. I want life to be art.”
This is not one of Carrie’s most famous quotes, but I believe it’s her most beautiful. I hope I’m able to succeed in living to this standard.
Below are my quotes from Carrie that I won’t comment on. I include them because they are either profound or funny:
“You know how most illnesses have symptoms you can recognize? Like fever, upset stomach, chills, whatever. Well, with manic depression, it’s sexual promiscuity, excessive spending, and substance abuse – and that just sounds like a fantastic weekend in Vegas to me!”
“Good anecdote–bad reality.”
“Instant gratification takes too long.”
“Anything you can do in excess for the wrong reasons is exciting to me.”
“As you get older, the pickings get slimmer, but the people don’t.”
“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. They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.”
And my all-time favorite Carrie Fisher quote is:
“I thought I would inaugurate a Bipolar Pride Day. You know, with floats and parades and stuff! On the floats we would get the depressives, and they wouldn’t even have to leave their beds – we’d just roll their beds out of their houses, and they could continue staring off miserably into space. And then for the manics, we’d have the manic marching band, with manics laughing and talking and shopping and fucking and making bad judgment calls.”
For more wonderful Carrie Fisher quotes, you can find many on Goodreads.