Remembering Carrie Fisher As More Than Just An Icon

Remembering Carrie Fisher As More Than Just An Icon

She constantly fought to normalize mental illness, and that deserves recognition.
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Many remember Carrie Fisher as the iconic Princess Leia, from the Star Wars franchise, who was a fearless, and perhaps the greatest, leader to the Rebel Alliance that constantly fought to end tyranny. What several may not know is how Fisher also fought to end the stigma around mental illness.

Carrie Fisher struggled with Bipolar Disorder and depression, but did not open up about it until the 1990s after the release of her very popular book, "Postcards From The Edge." It took battling a drug addiction for her to realize that she had more than just an addiction. Instead of hiding behind the stigma that seems to disgustingly surround mental illness, Fisher used her resources as a platform to normalize mental illness through constant openness about her own. By doing this, she inspired millions to be open about their own struggles with mental illness, and do their part in normalizing them. People were no longer afraid to admit that they struggled with something like Bipolar Disorder and they found it easier to accept that this was a part of who they were. Fisher said, "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."

One of the biggest contributors to the stigma around mental illness is medication. So many believe that taking medication to help battle mental illness is a sign of weakness and means you are probably crazy, when in reality, medication is a perfectly normal alternative form of help for a mental illness. Medication was another thing Fisher was very open about, admitting that "Without medication I would not be able to function in this world. Medication has made me a good mother, a good friend, and a good daughter." By simply saying this, she once again made millions feel more comfortable with their conditions and helped them feel "normal" when others see them as abnormal. Medication helped Fisher lead a "normal" life, and she constantly encouraged everyone to do what they had to do to lead their own version of a normal life, "whatever that means."

So thank you, Carrie Fisher, for being so open about something so personal and inspiring millions to do the same. Thank you for dedicating such a large portion of your life to helping normalize mental illness. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, approximately 43.8 million people experience mental illness in a given year. Mental illness is nothing shy of serious, but it is not something to make someone feel ashamed about. Mental illness deserves more attention that it receives, but it needs more positive attention. We need to be educating the masses about what mental illness is and how it impacts everyday life, rather than pushing it under the rug and making excuses.

"I've learned to celebrate my life, to embrace it. If I have the problems, the problems don't have me. They're not something to be ashamed of." - Carrie Fisher

If you know someone struggling with mental illness, please be supportive, and point them in the right directions. There are lots of available resources out there, these are just two that they can call:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Call 800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-741

Cover Image Credit: ABC News

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Buying New Clothes Every Month Has Been The Key To Helping Me Become Happy With My Body Again

Loving my body in new outfits has boosted my self image so much.

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Being body-positive has been really hard for me to do throughout 2019, despite there being an overwhelming surge in body-positivity around me, whether through my friends and family or YouTube. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone I want to make a jean size or two smaller like in the past. That being said, I've slowly been coming around to accepting the body I have now, instead of bashing it constantly. A key way I've come to accept the body I'm in now is through buying myself something new every month, like a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans or sneakers that help me see myself in a positive light. When I'm in a new outfit, I feel invincible. I don't think about how pudgy my stomach is, or about the hair I have growing in random places, like my neck or on my nose (yes, not just in, but ON too).

My bank account tends to suffer as of recently because of this, but it's worth it when I can genuinely feel good in what I am wearing every day. I like to wake up and think about how many outfits I can put together, ready to post my #OOTD for Snapchat without caring what anyone thinks. I've let social media dictate how I feel about myself more than I care to admit. I see how perfect all the models are in everything they're wearing from brands I know and love, yet when I try the same thing on, it's a whole different ugly story.

I don't enjoy trying things on to avoid the shame I feel when things don't fit me right, or if something that I thought would flatter me actually makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Instagram has really hurt my body image a lot — enough to make me delete it for a week after one post sent me spiraling. Going through those bumps made me finally realize it's not my fault if something doesn't fit. Sizes range depending on the item, it's the clothing items fault, not mine. Now that I see that, it's easier to brush off something not fitting me as it should. I know my size very well in the stores I frequent the most, so it's easier for me to pick out things I know will look good and not have to worry about the sizing issue.

Buying yourself something new is not something you should limit to every few months or longer. You shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone price wise every once and a while either. Coupons exist, stories always offer you them when you first sign up to receive emails and even texts. You can be crafty and still get a high price item for less. If you treat yourself to cheap things, you won't feel half as good as you want to. Granted, sticking to a limit is important but there's no shame in going over the limit every once and a while.

I love shopping as much as I love country music and writing short stories — a lot. Yes, I get yelled at almost every time I get something new. I need to save my money for important things, like for my sorority or for medical issues that could suddenly arise, or for utilities at my house next year off campus.

However, my mental well-being is not something I can ignore.

I can't push the good feelings aside to save 30 or 40 bucks a month. I don't want to feel as low as I've felt about myself anymore. I'm tired of feeling sad or angry at who I am, and I want to learn how to accept myself as I am. Buying myself something new, like clothes, is what offers a positive light to view myself under.

Whether you treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or to face masks, or to a new movie when it comes out — don't be afraid to do it. Put yourself first and you'll realize your worth and how much you've been ignoring it in the face of poor confidence.

My confidence isn't back up to where it used to be, but it's getting there.

It may not be the most cash efficient method of self-love, but my body positivity is better than it was a few months ago. Aerie and American Eagle have really helped me become happier with my body, and I can't thank them enough for being more inclusive for people like me who are learning to love themselves again in a new body.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hoping to promote our own body positivity, and it could all start with a simple purchase from your favorite store after you read this.

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