On Carrie

I’ve been mulling over writing about this, and about her, for a long time. She died the day I married the love of my life, casting a bit of a dark cloud over that day. I haven’t been able to string enough words together in quick succession to make it work. It’s been a little over three weeks, you’d think I would’ve been able to put something together by now.

But no. All my words are messy. They’re all kinds of garbled and jumbled and scrambled and I don’t even know which way is out or up anymore when it comes to this.

And as I sit here, fondly remembering my favorite pieces of Wishful Drinking, I find it even harder to pull them–and myself–together. (As if it could’ve gotten any harder…)

I finished The Princess Diarist while sitting in the bathtub. I finished Wishful Drinking not long after–as I’d taken a sick day to pull myself together. As I read each and every word of those beautiful books, my heart broke a little bit more. I couldn’t quite get the tears to fall. I started Wishful Drinking right after Princess Diarist because I didn’t want to give her up yet. I couldn’t leave her yet. I still can’t leave her yet.

The world lost a bright light when it lost Carrie.

My world lost a bright light when it lost Carrie.

I lost an inspiration, a hero, a friend.

I’ve written a lot about my own struggles with bipolar disorder. It hasn’t been easy to deal with and there are days I still resent it. There are days I hate it and I hate myself and I curse everything that comes along with it. The days where I can’t make it to work, the days where all I want to do is cry. The bad days. The good days, those I’m grateful for. The manic days, where nothing can phase me, where I’m invincible and I don’t have a care in the world–those I would live for. But they don’t come without a cost. And the cost? It isn’t worth paying.

But, one of the first things I learned when I was first handed that diagnosis by a doctor that was less-than-friendly about it, was that Carrie had it too. Carrie had it and survived it. It didn’t kill her, like it threatened (and tried) to kill me (on more than one occasion).

She spoke about it in a way you could relate to, that could make you laugh, that could make you understand what it was like to be bipolar.

It’s something I try to do but fail miserably at. I’ve heard her explain it, I’ve watched her explain it, I’ve read her words explaining it. (In Wishful Drinking, she refers to her moods as “Roy” and “Pam,” where “Roy” is “Rollicking Roy” and “Pam” actually stands for “pissing and moaning”–something I absolutely understand, especially on the worst of the worst days.)

When I read her descriptions, I can commiserate, I can relate, and I understand. Carrie made that painful diagnosis a little easier for me to deal with. Of course, it’ll never be easy to deal with; it’ll always require some kind of medical assistance–whether mood stabilizers and antidepressants or something else down the road.

The more of her writing I read, the more inspired I feel to not only keep writing in general, but to keep writing about my illness. To keep being open about it, to not let it win on the days where it feels like it might drown me. To let my own versions of “Roy” and “Pam” know who’s boss. (Me, that’s who!)

As I read her words, in Diarist and Drinking, I realized that now, maybe more than ever, we can’t stop or give up. She wouldn’t want us to. She wouldn’t dare.

And as so many things are changing, her words and her strength are two of the very few things we can hold tight.

I miss her dearly. I’m so grateful for the works she gave the world, for her emoji-filled tweets, for her photos of Gary, and for her in general. My world got a lot darker when it lost her.


Editor's Note: This post first appeared on Jessica's blog, Rivers, Streams, and Painted Turtle Shells.

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