I'm Patty Duke, I'm an actress have been for 55 of my 62 years and 26 years ago I was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder and since the diagnosis and the treatment,
I have been living a very balanced and happy life. My diagnosis did not come easily.
I had spent 30 something years in absolute turmoil and thinking I was a bad person. Finally, when I was 35, the diagnosis of bipolar disorder was made and treatment for that began.
The day my doctor told me that this was his diagnosis, my reaction was, â€œThank God, it has a name and it has a treatment.
In mania, I attracted everybody. I was just so bright, so funny, so big and so loud and then of course in the depressive state I wouldn't allow anyone near me.
So that was a lonely place that I went to. There are many, many people, who do not want to give up the mania. They'll live with the depression in order to have the mania.
I have been happy with my diagnosis and treatment and I don't stop taking my medicine so that I can be really good on stage. You know, I'm as creative as I'm going to be
and in some ways I think I'm more creative than I used to be. I've been living in San Francisco and I'm performing Madame Morrible in Wicked.
You know, when I was rehearsing to play this part, I couldn't quite get a grip on it and when you did this face all of a sudden the mystery was solved.
This show I think appeals to a part of us that needs to believe that if it's only for two hours you can be transported and I can't tell you what a joy it is to be part of making that happen.
This is the peaceful time. You know, certainly throughout history there have been giants of creativity who were also what we then called manic depressive.
There are people who have gotten the diagnosis and refused the treatment because to give up their creativity is to die.
It's frightening to me because most of them have families and the effect on those family members can be tragic.
You know, the driving force once I was in treatment and it was working was this burning thing in me that said, How do you keep this a secret?
You know -- you know something. That works, you have to tell.
Going around the country, speaking to people who have personal interest in bipolar disorder, I get a whole lot more out of it than they get from me that's for sure.
Learning that other people have the similar feeling is very reassuring in the old days it was I'm the only one who feels this way.
When you're in there and you're not treated, you think you're the only one and you find out that, you know what, ya ain't so special. There are a lot of folks out there.
In the last 26 years since my diagnosis, I have tried to use whatever celebrity I have to talk about this illness so as to make it as regular as any other illness.
I think we've made great strides. I don't think we're there yet and certainly society has much to do with us getting there.