Depression (cont.)

BRACCO:
You've got to find that fire in your belly.

I used to tell everybody that I lived in Barnes & Noble at the self-help section. So much so that one time somebody asked me if I'd like a chair. In there I read a lot of books. I read one book when I was depressed that kind of screamed out to me. This book told me that it's OK to be depressed; it's a great time to look at yourself and figure out really who you are. Don't look at it as wasted time, look at it as a time to better yourself, know yourself better, and decide what you want to do and where you want to go with it. For some reason, that screamed out to me.

MODERATOR:
Loraine, we have a question from a father whose child was a Columbine survivor who then took his own life:

MEMBER QUESTION:
Do you have any comments on how people hide their depression and how someone might look for it? Did you try to hide your depression?

BRACCO:
No, I never really tried to hide it. I just didn't really know I was in it. I really don't believe I tried to hide it, I just didn't realize that I was just existing instead of living.

I want to say to this man that I'm so sorry. My heart is broken for him. I'll say a prayer tonight for his child.

MODERATOR:
It's very difficult for those on the outside looking in to try to understand what it's like for someone who is in the grip of depression. I believe that's one of the most valuable things that you can share with people is to try to give us some insight because those on the outside really don't know what you're going through and how we can help. I think that that's probably what that dad was asking. How could I have helped, what can we do for others? What would you suggest if someone wanted to help someone who was a friend or loved one who they suspected might be going through depression?

BRACCO:
I would, first thing I would say, get them under a doctor's care.

MODERATOR:
Do you feel the joy in your life again?

BRACCO:
Yes.

MODERATOR:
What was the first thing that you noticed that led you to believe you were on the road to recovery?

BRACCO:
Oh, it was very quick. Five or six weeks into the medication, I knew there was a big difference.

MODERATOR:
Are you still on your meds?

BRACCO:
I am not.

MEMBER QUESTION:
Most research suggests that people relapse when they go off antidepressants. I've found that to be true personally. You have not suffered that?

BRACCO:
Not yet, but there's always "around the corner." But I will never wait a year of my life to go and talk to the doctor.

"Take every avenue -- talk therapy, doctor, friends, family, reading -- everything. Take every avenue that is available today, and there are avenues available, to get better. You can't do it alone."

MODERATOR:
Do you have any other advice for someone suffering from depression?

BRACCO:
I think they need to really dig and be honest with themselves. Take every avenue -- talk therapy, doctor, friends, family, reading -- everything. Take every avenue that is available today, and there are avenues available, to get better. You can't do it alone.

MODERATOR:
I want to thank you for being with us today, Loraine. You have been absolutely wonderful. We appreciate you sharing your story. You're feeling well these days?

BRACCO:
Great.

MODERATOR:
Feeling the joy?

BRACCO:
Yes, and I wish that for everyone.

MODERATOR:
How is filming coming on The Sopranos?

BRACCO:
We just started. The first script is good.

MODERATOR:
We're all excited and anxious to see you again as Dr. Jennifer Melfi. You're our favorite psychiatrist on TV and it's a wonderful series.

BRACCO:
Thank you.

MODERATOR:
Our thanks to Lorraine Bracco for joining us today. And thank you, members, for your great questions. I'm sorry we couldn't get to all of them. For more discussion on this topic, be sure to visit the WebMD message boards to ask questions of our online health professionals, and to share questions, comments, and support with other WebMD members.

This transcript was edited for clarity



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