Desperately seeking advice and someone who could help her son, Pat sent an e-mail to Oscar® winner Patty Duke, who has been traveling the country helping people affected by bipolar disorder since she was diagnosed more than 25 years ago. To Pat's surprise, she received an e-mail response from Patty's husband Michael and The Oprah Show arranged a face-to-face meeting. Patty and Michael flew in to meet with Pat, Autumn and Chris.
Patty, who has spoken publicly about her own struggle with bipolar disorder, advises Chris and his family to try support groups. "There are peer groups here and I think it would behoove you to take a shot at going to one or more of the meetings," Patty says.
Patty gives Chris encouragement and tells him to hang on. "I pray that the pain you're feeling right now and the fear eases when you realize, number one, you're on the road, and number two, your family, they love you," Patty says. "I attempted suicide a few times. I realized only later, of course, that I don't want to die—I just wanted the pain to stop. You're now acquiring the tools to make the pain stop."
Although recovery is not an easy process, Patty tells Chris, "I know that this pain will lift—never as fast as we want it to—but you've got to hang onto the idea."
Afterwards, Chris says that meeting Patty helped to give him a little hope. "I've never talked to somebody that's recovered from this illness," he says. "It felt comforting."