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Carrie Fisher, A True Advocate For Mental Health

Contributed by Richelle Bouska, Clinical Therapist at the Crossing Rivers Health Center for Behavioral Health


Tributes have been pouring out all over the country for the past couple of weeks in honor of Carrie Fisher. Carrie will be remembered for many reasons, including her passion and advocacy for mental health. Carrie was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when she was 24 and publicly battled addiction and alcoholism throughout her life.

“I am mentally ill. I can say that,” she said in an ABC interview with Diane Sawyer in 2000. “I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on.”

Mental health is something we should all be striving for as part of overall personal wellness. It is not just a topic for those who have been issued a particular diagnosis or diagnoses. Let’s admit it - we all have issues. Counseling is intended to be developmental in nature. It is for anyone and everyone who is interested in personal growth, rising above, moving beyond, healing, recovering, and becoming the best version of one’s self.

If you're looking for someone to talk to, there's someone to turn to. The CrossingRivers Health Center for Behavioral Health is here for you. Call 608.357.2700 or complete this short form to make an appointment.

Carrie was not ashamed of her battle. She was quite proud of it. She was a courageous survivor. She accepted the challenge and turned it into an opportunity to be heroic. She once stated, “The only lesson for me, or anybody, is that you have to get help."

That’s the thing we all have to remember - help is available. There is no reason why anyone should suffer. Seeking help is not a weakness. It takes a tremendous amount of courage, humility, strength, accountability, insight and self-awareness to reach out for and accept help. I think the strongest, healthiest people are those who take good care of themselves in all regards.

Carrie fought the stigma of mental health with wit and bravery. She was very open and candid about her struggles, and we can all thank her for that open spirit because no one should have to hide behind their feelings or struggles.

Early warning signs of mental illness

The American Psychiatric Association(APA), the following are early warning signs of mental illness:

  • Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in others.
  • A drop in functioning at work or school. For example, quitting sports, failing in school or having difficulty doing familiar tasks.
  • Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought that are hard to explain.
  • Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch.
  • Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity.
  • A vague feeling of being disconnected from yourself or your surroundings—a sense of unreality.
  • Illogical or magical thinking, such as exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events.
  • Fear or suspiciousness of others, or a strong nervous feeling.
  • Uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior.
  • Dramatic changes in sleep and appetite, or deterioration in personal hygiene.
  • Rapid or dramatic shifts in feelings.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these signs, Crossing Rivers Health Center for Behavioral Health is here to help. Behavioral health services are available in the Prairie du Chien and Fennimore areas.

Be an advocate for yourself and the people you care about. Please contact us at 608.357.2700.