Depression (cont.)

MEMBER QUESTION:
How did you get the most out of your therapy sessions, and are you still in therapy?

BRACCO:
I wrote all my questions down at night or whenever, during the week. Whenever I felt I wanted to talk about something, I wrote it down. I had a little book and wrote down things I wanted to talk about so when I got there I didn't say "Oh, I wanted to ask you about ... Now I can't remember."

MODERATOR:
That's always a good idea before seeing any physician.

BRACCO:
Absolutely. I never wasted a minute in there.

"I had anxiety when my daughter went to college and I became an empty nester; I had separation anxiety. I was sleepless. I was waiting. I was anxious all the time -- every day."

MEMBER:
I have been diagnosed with clinical depression and work every day; you know it's something you have to do and you do it. However, I'm constantly thinking that I'd rather be at home curled up in bed. I mistakenly thought it was because I was lazy.

MODERATOR:
Did you ever question yourself in that way before you sought therapy?

BRACCO:
All I know is that there are so many different symptoms of depression. There are so many different ways that people deal with depression. This is one of the reasons why I've come out and said to people "no, it's not that you're lazy -- there are reasons." Talk therapy and medication can help you. It's a terrible thing to have to suffer through.

MEMBER QUESTION:
I suffer from panic disorder and agoraphobia. Did you have trouble with anxiety of any kind while suffering from depression? I find I become depressed as a result of relapses and setbacks.

BRACCO:
I had anxiety when my daughter went to college and I became an empty nester; I had separation anxiety . I was sleepless. I was waiting. I was anxious all the time -- every day. Finally after five or six weeks of that, I called the doctor and I said, "Something is wrong again."

Then I realized -- just in that one phone call -- that I was waiting for my daughter to come home. I was an empty nester.

MODERATOR:
How old were your children? You have one daughter?

BRACCO:
Two daughters; 26 and 19.

MODERATOR:
How old were they when you realized you were suffering from depression?

BRACCO:
Margo was already in college and I had Stella at home. It's really all been with Stella, and she was young.

MEMBER QUESTION:
It seems that there are so many people who suffer from mental illness, depression, bipolar and anxiety disorders. Did you find that despite this knowledge you still felt like you were the "old crazy one" amongst friends and family?

BRACCO:
Yes. I felt that it was only me, that nobody could really understand, and it wasn't even worth talking about.

I think that's also a big key -- when you feel that your family and your friends are sick of talking to you about it, it's a good clue to go talk to a doctor.

MODERATOR:
Did your co-workers notice what was going on with you and speak to you about it?

BRACCO:
Not really. It wasn't like I was working every single day on the set. But many of the people that I worked with on The Sopranos have been through therapy or are on medication. It was something that we all had, it was like we shared a kindred spirit.

MODERATOR:
That must have helped you get through it.

BRACCO:
Yes. It was kind of a relief in a way. It wasn't like I had to explain anything. They knew it; they had been there, they had done that. We all related to each other on that level -- without shame, without embarrassment.

"I really don't believe I tried to hide it, I just didn't realize that I was just existing instead of living."

MEMBER QUESTION:
I have clinical depression and am just getting over a major bout of depression. I need to return to work and I'm frightened. How do you get the courage to go on when you're dealing with depression?