Tag Archives: mental illness

Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher, may she Rest In Peace, battled her mental illness for years, sometimes quite publicly. But I was surprised to learn that she credited electro-shock therapy with helping her to cope with the depression. My Grandma Layton didn’t have the positive experience of that therapy. But, at one of her darkest hours, it offered hope, and her thirteen treatments were completed before she found the healing art of Blind Contour Drawing. An excerpt, titled “Transverse Shadows”, from her biography/memoir, Signs Along The Way:

I was cold, hard marble. Despair and fear are at least feelings, and very intense ones. And affection is better than none. Having once been sensitive, I recalled the sensations, and as with pain, I could and did hold and ex­amine them. Now I was unable to experience them.

In this vacuum I wanted to make dejection and fear my friends, the way a person in unbearable suffering makes friends with his pain, groping the way to death.

I wanted to feel my way back to life, even if I had to endure death to do it.

Different experiences with different results. But Carrie and Grandma shared a common denominator: living with, and battling to overcome their disease by expressing themselves –  some way, somehow. Carrie wrote, acted, and advocated. Grandma Layton wrote, drew, and advocated. I am glad they both have found peace. – Judy Kay