Mix 97.3's Patty Dee has been on the air in Sioux Falls for more than 20 years, a radio fixture for people waking up in the morning. In the wake of the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams, she is stepping out from behind the microphone and sharing her struggles with depression.
Patty Dee is the upbeat voice on the radio every weekday morning, getting people energized for the start of their day. Behind the microphone lies a battle she has been part of since the early 1990's. Patty Dee suffers from depression.
"Because we do have a job where we are allowed to have an awful lot of fun, it's not something that really comes here and knocks on the door to say 'Let me in,'" Dee said.
Dee was always around medicine when she was a kid. Her father was a psychiatrist, her mother a psychiatric nurse. They never hid the fact that depression was part of their family.
"My dad was bipolar. My mother had depression. Both of my siblings do and I do. But it wasn't until I was in college, I had a younger sister who attempted suicide," Dee said.
That's when she realized just how powerful a disease depression really is.
Jared: Have you gotten close to that point?
Patty: I have.
She still remembers that moment and how much control the disease truly had.
"It's not cowardly, it's not being selfish because you cannot think clearly. All you're thinking about is ending your own pain, and that's just something people don't understand," Dee said.
With the help of medication and therapy, Dee is today living her life alongside depression, knowing full well that it can take control again at any time. This week, the death of Robin Williams led her to her computer where she shared her own story, hoping that speaking out about her struggles could help others.
"People have inner lives that we don't necessarily put out there all the time. Everyone has struggles, whether it's clinical depression or something else," Dee said.
Even though she doesn't consider herself the biggest face of depression, many people who have responded to her Facebook post are glad she has spoken out.
Dee hopes she can be the voice that leads others to seek help.
"People will always give you signs. You just have to be listening and looking," Dee said.
There are a number of resources available for those who may be suffering from depression, including a crisis hotline that is open 24/7. You can call them at 1-800-273-8255.
Here is the complete interview with Patty: