There was only one princess us kids of the 80s wished to be
Princess Leia. We finally saw a heroine willing to fight the resistance and not stand idly by. As life’s struggles and curve balls come my way, I secretly pull from my childhood fantasy and ask, “What would Leia do?”
I honestly never knew much about Carrie Fisher’s struggles with bi-polar disorders growing up, but always looked to her as my idol. And while she was very outspoken about her illness, I felt it was easy to overlook due to her unyielding wit and hilarity. It wasn’t until later in life I appreciated her open honesty about bi-polar disorder and her effort to help change the taboo about mental illness. Rolling Stone summed it perfectly, “Fisher embraced her illnesses – bipolar disorder, alcoholism, drug addiction, and "serious body dysmorphia issues" – in a way that helped normalize them.”
Fisher helping to tackle the stigma of mental health through her own personal experience, finally gave voice to so many struggling with mental illness. From her, I learned how important it is to join open conversations, and see the other side of mental health more as an individual issue vs. a taboo. Yet still more needs to be done. Currently, 97,000 Utahns struggle with Persistent Mental illness disorder, and discussions about mental health still is still taboo in our state. Thanks to the support of the Alliance House, we are working to open the conversation by delving into personal experiences of those suffering from PMI with the first mental health film Ffestival in Utah named ‘Labeled’. Not only are there fascinating and artistic films on topics of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and others, we can create more open dialogue and help look past the negative and sometimes ignore the labels associated with these illnesses. This is a chance for Utah to begin erasing the taboos of mental disorders while seeing it through the lens of film.
For more information about Labeled’ Film Festival on March 23-26, join our Facebook group. This festival will illuminate the untold truths of mental health to our community. Hope to see you at this amazing event, and until then may the Force be with you!