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Linda Dano magazine spread

Linda Dano Depression is Another World

Emmy Award-winning television star Linda Dano, lauded for her long-running role as Felicia Gallant on Another World, has acted in venues from the large screen to the small. But America knows her best as the celebrity of daytime drama, a dynamite performer on shows like All My Children, As the World Turns, One Life To Live and General Hospital. Throughout her career the multi-talented performer—who is also a designer, author, columnist and former talk show host—has kept the drama on-screen, leading a fulfilling off-screen life of love, family and friendship.

Because of Dano’s success, abundance of support and consistently positive outlook on life, she and those around her were surprised recently when she was diagnosed with depression. In September of 2004, Dano lost her husband Frank to lung cancer, and on the day of his funeral she received word that her 93-year-old mother had died. These tragedies drew Dano into a web of misery from which she could not untangle herself. “My husband and I were great friends, and he filled all of the areas of my life,” she explained in an interview with ABILITY Magazine. “Everything I did, he was involved in. He was someone I trusted and could count on. He was more than just my lover and my mate.”

Immediately following her husband’s death, Dano began experiencing severe symptoms of depression, falling into what she calls “a dark hole.” She had trouble sleeping, ate erratically, lost interest in the activities she once loved, had trouble remembering things, was wracked by physical pains and cried constantly. She believed she was simply mourning the loss of two loved ones and would surely “snap out of it with time,” but as the months wore on she came to a point of hopelessness. “In those moments in my life when things have been tough, I have always drawn strength from inside myself and somehow gotten through the hard times,” says Dano. “This was the first time in my life I couldn’t get through it—I couldn’t help myself. I didn’t care about anything. And as time went on it wasn’t getting any better.”

After seven months of these overwhelming feelings, Dano sought a professional diagnosis, and her doctor recognized that she was experiencing clinical depression. Dano decided against medication—though she believes it can be helpful for some people—but she did begin therapy. She also found that the support from her friends was critical in helping her survive her darkest periods. “I had three or four girlfriends who literally made it their business to take care of me. They called every day, came by, brought me dinner, walked the dogs, listened to me cry. They wouldn’t tell me, ‘Oh, come on. Snap out of it. You’ll be fine.’ No one did that. And they became my support partners.”

Several months into her recovery, Dano has seen improvement in many of her symptoms, and her hope for the future has returned. Still, each day presents its own struggles. “I have to talk myself into getting out of bed every morning, and I used to bound out of bed. Mornings were my time! And now mornings are not my time, because the depression makes me not want to get up.” Importantly, she still relies on the emotional support from her girlfriends to sustain her. “My friends will call and ask, ‘How are you doing today?’ And I’ll say, ‘I’m okay.’ Then they’ll press me, ‘No, how are you really doing? How’s your head today?’ So I’ll admit, ‘Um, today wasn’t such a great day.’ And then we’ll talk about it. Somehow it just makes all the difference in the world."....Continued in ABILITY Magazine

by Dahvi Fischer

www.supportpartnersprogram.com


ABILITY Magazine
Other articles in the Marlee Matlin issue include Letter from the Editor Hidden Disability; Senator Harkin Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act; Headlines Stroke Rehab, JAN and Web Accessibility, IBM and Technology Innovators; Humor Reality Check and Pet Peeves; Deaf Community — Vibrant and Strong; Assistive Technology CSUN Conference; Casting a Broader Net Performing Arts Studio West; Memoirs to Our Stars Jane Wollman Rusoff; Recipes Fruity Delights; Shall We Overcome A United Community; There is Room at the Inn Book Review; Once Upon a Sign Sign Language for Tots; Events and Conferences...subscribe


More excerpts from the Marlee Matlin issue:

Marlee Matlin — From Children of a Lesser God to Godmother

Linda Dano — Depression is Another World

Joe Montana Tips on Blood Pressure Control

Forgotten Children UCP Report on Foster Care

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