wHAT the Fuck?
she actually died
Patty Duke is dead now?
i’M fucking SAD y’all
It feel in a way like my grandparent died
except I don’t really know my grandparents
I know Patty Duke
I know her because she let everyone know her
that happens when you write memoirs
I know I have said previously that Therese Borchard was the first Bipolar person I “knew”
but that isn’t actually true
It was Ms. Duke
I feel all respectful and shit like I should call her that
maybe I shouldn’t have sworn ?
oh well let’s keep going
At first I didn’t know it…that she was the first fellow Bipolar I “met”
As a kid I drank up The Patty Duke Show (reruns! I’m old but not that old)
thoroughly enjoying the preposterous premise and the dresses Cathy wore
Somewhat later I was slightly hypomanicly obsessed with the Miracle Worker
it spoke to something in me
a deep dark emotionality and poignancy
and I found it beautiful in a way that went beyond what people around me felt (same thing with Moonstruck shrug)
From the creepy black and white opening with her stumbling through dark hallways to chilling music
to the pure aliveness of the end
I was hooked into the story
and mesmerized by the acting
I’ve always been somewhat of a fool for superb acting
I can tend to be rather Holden Caulfield about movies but great acting sucks me in
and she sucked me in
and next thing I knew I read her page turning (to me?) intense crazy memoir Call Me Anna
and THAT my friends was the first time I came across
and so it didn’t cause me any judgement and there was no stigma or shame or anything in it to me.
Patty Duke had it. That was all. It seemed like it sucked immensely.
It made for an exciting heart breaking yet inspirational story
I didn’t know anything about society’s feelings surrounding it
I was an undiagnosed unaware cyclothymic teenager who felt removed from all of that….
like teenagers and humans tend to do…
I never thought anything like that would ever happen to me….
I also remember seeing the TV movie that was made out of Call Me Anna
I have somewhat recently scoured the world trying to find a way to see this movie and found it sadly impossible
maybe it will be possible now
now that she’s gone
And she played HERSELF in that movie
she played HERSELF people
rocking in corners
and hurling things around
and being Bipolar
literally reliving her own Bipolar
it is hard for me to imagine such bravery
such ferocious vulnerable exposure
especially 30 years ago
a time when Bipolar was even more stigmatized and way less understood and all of that good stuff
I felt a connection to her as a teenager…fascinated and inspired
so where do I go a large and raucous decade later when the Psychiatrist grabs my hand and stamps it with the Bipolar stamp….
I go to the Library of course and pick up….
Call Me Anna
and her other memoir A Brilliant Madness (a title I can’t help but love)
and I find comfort being immersed in the words of the one person I know is Bipolar
and I know she has “beaten” it…made a fine fine life for herself
overcome so much I mean Holy Hell what DIDN’T happen to her in childhood…
and given back in SO many ways…to our Bipolar community and so much more
she was as smart as a fire cracker
creative and beautiful inside and out
and witty of course…can’t do without witty around here
I went through youtube with a fine tooth comb watching her speak about Bipolar
I watched a clip of her on Oprah speaking to a newly diagnosed and suffering Bipolar man…
with a deep emotional ocean behind her eyes that can only come from one who KNOWS…
and she told him it could be better…. that he could have a good life
and that slammed me with a desperate trusting hope
and I cried
and I’m crying now
I’m actually kind of surprised how much the whole thing pings the back of my heart
but I’m also so sad because I just saw that her son, Samwise Gamgee…I mean Sean Astin, reported that she suffered horribly before her death
and I’m like
I don’t want it that way
I want her to have passed peacefully in her sleep like Gene Kelly or something
I know suffering is part of life and many people suffer terribly
but I still don’t want anyone to suffer
and to know of everything this woman went through….
a woman with such demons she tried to escape/kill herself numerous times
and then suffered terribly into death
and I think we could have used a lot more of her
I feel the loss for our community
she had a big voice
she was someone to point to….
I often did actually…when Bipolar came up…especially among an older crowd…stigma filled conversations and me voice shakingly piping up with….
“That isn’t what Bipolar really is. Look at Patty Duke… she’s Bipolar.”
too afraid to out myself but happily using Patty Duke as an example of what a Bipolar can look like….
and what a Bipolar life can be
And we NEED that stuff
She was very wise
I learned a lot from her
Bipolar stuff and other life stuff
and one thing that matters most to me is that she accepted the Manic Depression wholeheartedly while also refusing to renounce one of her mystical experiences….
refusing to write it off as nothing but fucked up brain shit
she stood up to her PsychDoc and he continued to tell her she was in denial of all sorts and had just had a delusional and psychotic blip of sorts.
and she was all like fuck that shit
and as a Bipolar chick with a fair amount of mystical experiences tucked away in special files…I appreciate this greatly…
the idea that someone else…so known and so Bipolar..ALSO believes that this shit does not have to be all One way or All the Other…..
that’s just me
and Ms. Duke
I tweeted once for a post on textbook Bipolar that
“Nobody is textbook Bipolar except maybe Patty Duke”
she really was pretty darn textbook Bipolar
which unfortunately also allowed me to deny my own issues because held up to her Bipolar mine looks nothing like it
except in ways
and I get it now
this last quote from her sums everything up….
to me it is the quote I want to cross stitch (or someone else to cross stitch for me. I can’t handle that shit) and hang on my wall……
“I’ve survived. I’ve beaten my own bad system and on some days, on most days, that feels like a miracle.”
It is a miracle
we all know that
Shall I be super cray cheesy right now and say……
we’re all Miracle Workers
We’re all Miracle Workers
What the fuck?
She’s really dead?????????