Carrie Fisher isn't only Princess Leia, she's a real life super-heroine
But, in the decades before she reprised her role in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," life had been anything but rainbows and butterflies for Fisher (or what would the nerd equivalent be..."Anything but Lightsabers and Ewoks?")
Did you know that Fisher was officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 29 after battling addiction to alcohol and a four-year drug binge? Did you know that, at one point, she was taking 39 Percadin a day to mellow out her manic state? And that, in 2011, she disclosed that she receives electroshock therapy every six weeks to help the worst symptoms of her chronic depression?
In an interview with Diane Sawyer, She described manic depression as a "world of bad judgement calls" that 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," she said.
She told Sawyer that, thanks to doctors, time and six different medications taken daily, "I outlasted my problems."
"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. Better me than you," she said.
For more than 10 years, Fisher has been a mental illness advocate (at a time when there was even more of stigma against it).
"I define it, rather than it defining me," she said in an extensive interview with WebMD.
The advice she gives to others battling mental illness is that you have to get help for it. It's not something that will get better on its own. And she stresses that it's not something to be ashamed of.
"In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls," she said in her book Wishful Drinking. "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."