I don’t generally follow ‘celebrities with mental illnesses’; nor do I find myself asssociating with the ’50 famous artists with bipolar disorder’ etc. Bipolar disorder is often associated with creativity, for example, but we’d be sensible to hold this lightly. John has talked about this previously. The harsh truth is that many with bipolar disorder don’t have a creative bone in their body. The association between creativity and bipolar can then become very punishing. Nor do I post positive statements on my mirror, or recite positive affirmations to get me through the day. It’s just me. I do believe in whatever gets you through the night. But I don’t see relentless positivity as being an entirely wholesome or even human state of affairs. I’m not certain it’s something we should strive for in fact. It’s just not very balanced. I’m not a negative or pessimistic person at all. But suffering exists. It’s ubiquitous. You don’t need to have a mental illness to suffer. It would be as well if we could look to all our fellow human beings and recognise that we’re no different – diagnosis or otherwise. Be kind to everyone because everyone’s on a hard road. And let’s give ourselves less of a hard time over feeling we have to be relentlessly positive the whole time……
However, from time to time it’s good to find a light in the dark. Something you can hold onto for a little while. From someone you recognise – who lived their mental illness in the glare of the spotlight but still managed to keep going. Who still managed to take the time to leave you some simple words to hold onto.
‘so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all……‘
Well, I’m barely keeping my head above the waves. I’ve stepped off of some cliff since I was whizzing around seeing John’s show just a few weeks ago. I’m super skilled at making like everything’s fine but I’m tired now of holding it all together. My next post I’ll have a think about those public faces we slap on ourselves before we leave the front door. For now, I take some courage and comfort from what Carrie Fisher said about it all. I also hope that her words might help someone else who’s reading this. For now I need all the courage and comfort I can get.