By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Jun 13, 2005 at 5:20 AM

{image1}In 1967, Patty Duke played the role of Neely O'Hara in the marvelously camp film, "The Valley of The Dolls." In the movie (and in the book), prescription drugs destroy O'Hara's world, but in Duke's real life, they are the saving grace.

By the time Duke was diagnosed with manic depressive disorder at age 35, she had already suffered decades of hearing voices, panic attacks, hallucinations and grandiose behaviors like spending exorbitant amounts of money. However, once she started taking lithium, one of the most common drugs taken by people who are bi-polar (manic depressive), she was able to function again.

On Wednesday, June 15, Duke will fly from her home in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho to Milwaukee to speak at IndependenceFirst's annual Power Lunch at the Midwest Airlines Center Ballroom about her struggle with manic depression and success strategies she has learned.

"The stigma of manic depression keeps people from getting the help they need, and being a people person, I feel it's my job to rally us and help us deal with the stigma together," says Duke, 58.

Duke, the star of "The Patty Duke Show" and a bundle of films and made-for-TV movies, says many manic depressives believe that taking medicine means losing creativity.

"One of my hurdles is trying to convince people that they will not lose their creativity or live in a monotone world if they take medication," she says. "Medication is an important tool and a way to successfully live life."

IndependenceFirst is a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities live independently in Milwaukee. Individual tickets are $50 and corporate tables are available. Call (414) 291-7520 for tickets or more information.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.