In an attempt to meet a recruitment goal of 80,000 new soldiers, people with a history of cutting, bipolar disorder, depression and drug and alcohol abuse can now seek waivers to join the United States Army. The policy, enacted in August, went unannounced to the public. It joins other Army policy changes like hairstyles, beards, and headdress.
To meet last year's goal of 69,000 new recruits, the Army accepted more who scored poorly on aptitude tests, increased waivers granted for marijuana use and offered hundreds of millions of dollars in enlistment bonuses.
Carrie Fisher's hilariously tragic autobiographical novel, Postcards from the Edge, opens with the showstopper of a line, “Maybe I shouldn’t have given the guy who pumped my stomach my phone number but who cares? My life is over anyway.” The book lifted a suffocating veil from Fisher's life, and from the lives of countless others who, in reading her words, learned that living with mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. Later, she would speak about her struggles with bipolar disorder with similar candor.
"I shot through my twenties like a luminous thread through a dark needle, blazing toward my destination: Nowhere," she wrote. For a time, it may have seemed that way. The daughter of crooner Eddie Fisher and movie star Debbie Reynolds, who divorced when she was two, Fisher grew up in the spotlight. But when Star Wars catapulted her to stardom––and iconic status––at the age of nineteen, she self-medicated with alcohol and cocaine. That her addictions stemmed from an oft-misunderstood mental illness (the cause of violent mood swings and often frantic thoughts) was a cause to which she would dedicate much of her life. ”I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital...," she told Diane Sawyer. "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.”