We Love Soaps: I admire the way you have made active choices to have more peace in your life, even if it meant giving up the job of DAYS.
Patsy Pease: Whenever you’re selling out your soul to be successful it’s time to quit. There are some actresses over there, I don’t know where they went, but they’re behind an iron door, just to be able to survive. But I can’t do that. I don’t have whatever it is that makes rawhide skin that you can’t penetrate. I seem to be unable to do that. I would still be working today if I could. But I can’t. I wear my heart on my sleeve and what comes out of my mouth is exactly the way I feel. You never have to guess with me, if I have something to say I’ll tell you.
We Love Soaps: What were your visits to DAYS like after your left in 1992?
Patsy Pease: It was just kind of funny. I would get these long faces, these sympathetic looks, like “Awww, here she is.” And I would be looking at them like, “Awww, there they are. Those poor things. They’re trapped in a building which has no sunshine for 12 to 14 hours a day. They look haggard and awful. They say terrible things behind each other’s backs. And they think this is fun and successful? Oh God, those poor little babies! And I get to leave to go home to my three dogs and my two wonderful boys? And I have great friends and we have a wonderful time really talking about things that matter? Awww. Poor Patsy!”
We Love Soaps: If they ever offered you a contract to come back...
Patsy Pease: No!
We Love Soaps: Even if Charles [Shaughnessy] was willing?
Patsy Pease: No.
We Love Soaps: Well I guess that’s pretty wise given the state of affairs over there recently.
Patsy Pease: The funny this is, you can look at the show and you can tell nothing has changed.
We Love Soaps: Just like a toxic family system, huh?
Patsy Pease: Worse than family toxic systems. You see, toxic family systems always have some kind of humility, somewhere, where a few members ask for help. But they have so much money and so much wealth and so much fame, why would they ever need to ask for help? And who can they ever trust?
We Love Soaps: How do you think the actors who have been there for decades have been able to do it?
Patsy Pease: To be honest with you? I wouldn’t want to be in the same park with many of them. Oh I’ve had breakdowns before, I’m not the calendar girl for mental health, that’s for damn sure. And I will proudly say that. I am human! If I get pushed and prodded and jerked around and have my child’s life in danger, then yeah, I do get very, very depressed. Good grief, can you imagine that? That I would actually get depressed with things like that going on? And a boss telling you that you’re being unprofessional, and you just have to do your job, and now play crazy because your mother is crazy? I don’t know about you, Damon, but as a human being, I got very depressed.
But when you have no feelings left, and you fell off the end of the world somewhere, you can easily do things like that. Now, you won’t do a good job, because if you have no feelings left then it’s going to be kind of hard to act. However, I saw several actresses, after I left the show have plenty of opportunity to show their, oh, “variety,” and it kind of left me null and void. But they were still there, showing their variety in a way that I and everyone else knew they would. I mean, it’s also called "bad acting." But you end up having to sacrifice something if you’re going to stay in a toxic family situation.
We Love Soaps: Yes, I think that is a choice, a choice I’m not sure I’d want to make.
Patsy Pease: The trips back have been very, very refreshing for me.
We Love Soaps: Now about this last trip last year...
Patsy Pease: I’ve never been so happy! Because a lot of times when things get really tough financially, you think, “Oh maybe if I just tried a little bit harder...” and these thoughts go through your head naturally because you’re struggling to pay your bills. However, when you get the opportunity like I’ve had to visit, that last job that I had, every time I’d walk out at the door I’d go, “Oh God, thank you, thank you ,thank you, I’ve never made a better decision in my life! Thank God, I don’t want to end up like those people! Please God, I don’t want to end up like those people! They’re dead, and they don’t even know it!” It’s not the same people I started out with 22 years ago. There were signs of life 22 years ago. Vivacious, wonderful, full, laughing, life. And I can’t recognize that person 22 years later. There’s something very odd about that to me.
We Love Soaps: As a viewer I have seen this too. And it wasn’t until these clips started appearing on YouTube that I was able to see the difference, how much life had been in these actors back then. Before that I had wondered if I was just young and impressionable, or if there truly something magical about the show back then?
Patsy Pease: No, no, there was something magical, there was something wonderful.
We Love Soaps: It had a soul in the early and mid 1980s.
Patsy Pease: Yes! And I’m not trying to personality bash. I’m just saying, my God! For people, if they think that money and fame is going to fix it, take a look at the clips from 22 years ago, and take a look at the work by the same person now. And tell me, please tell me, if there’s a soul left in that body. If there’s a sparkle! I saw a sparkle in the eyes of people I worked with 22 years ago. There was a light coming out of their face, out of their being, they had light. It’s not there now. And that’s sad to me! Something happened along the way, steady, consistent and over time.
We Love Soaps: It sounds like they made compromises you weren’t willing to make.
Patsy Pease: And I’m not saying I’m better than they are. I’m the last person to say I’m better than they are. Look, I can be a basket case at any moment of the day. You can tell me I didn’t pick up my dog right and I’ll feel guilty and run out the door with eight empty bags...that’s not a well person either. [laughs] I’m not saying I’m better. I’m not saying I’m well. I’m not a poster child for mental health, we all know that. So let’s just accept that right away. But what I am saying is that I just have such an amount of fun that I am refusing to give up today. When I go to bed at night, my mind is free. I have genuine peace. And I don’t think you can put a price tag on that.
We Love Soaps: I don’t think so either.
Patsy Pease: Maybe I’m wrong. If this goes out on the podcast, I’m willing to admit that I could be wrong. But I just know for me, when any job starts costing me more than what they’re paying me, it’s time to quit.
Patsy Pease - Part One
Patsy Pease - Part Two
Patsy Pease - Part Three
Patsy Pease - Part Four
Damon L. Jacobs is a Marriage Family Therapist practicing in New York City, and the author of Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve. He blogs regularly at www.shouldless.com.