Linda Dano, a long time performer in daytime soap operas—perhaps best known as Gretel Rae Cummings Faulkner Buchanan, a role she reprized on a number of daytime soaps—and a bestselling author, talk show host and businesswoman, will be in Nashville to host a free seminar on depression and discuss her personal struggle with the illness. 

During the event, she will be joined by Nashville-based Dr. Jon Draud to teach people with depression and their loved ones about the illness.  Participants will learn how to recognize the symptoms of depression understand what can trigger the illness and map out a wellness plan.

Dano was married for over twenty years to advertising executive Frank Attardi until his death of lung cancer in late 2004.

Additionally, participants will learn about Support Partners – an exciting program that offers step-by-step instruction on how to build partnerships between people living with depression and those who want to help them to encourage recovery. The event is free of charge and light refreshments and snacks will be served. 

Attendees are invited to remain after to participate in a meet-and-greet at which Dano will sign autographs and talk with anyone who would like to talk with her further. Registration is recommended but not required. To register, please call toll-free 800-964-1510. The event will take place on August 15, at the Lowes Vanderbilt Plaza, 2100 West End Ave in Nashville, from 6-7:30 p.m.

Dano took time recently while at an event in Denver, Colorado to speak on the phone with O&AN in an exclusive interview about her battle with depression and ways to overcome the illness.

For more information about Support Partners, please visit www.SupportPartnersProgram.com. Support Partners is co-sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company and the National Women’s Health Resource Center.

O&AN:  Why do you feel is it so important for you to share your story of suffering from depression with people around the country?

Dano:  With this campaign we want to teach people how to build a support system of their own.  A lot of the people who will be reading this piece on me are at home essentially living a dual life.  They contend to everyone they are fine and go about their day laughing and joking, but inside they feel no passion, no happiness. They feel frightened and very much alone. It’s a lot of work to maintain that facade and I really want them all to know that it doesn’t have to be that way. 

This awareness campaign is trying to get to these people and encourage them to reach out and say it to someone.  The minute you do that you are saying to yourself “Okay, I need help.”  Often I hear people respond to someone’s claim of depression with doubt or outright ridicule such as “God, what have you got to be depressed about?”  People need to realize that depression is not just something you can “Snap out of” so readily. 

O&AN:  In your own case what was the cause of your bout with depression?

Dano:  September of 2004 my husband died of lung cancer.  Nine days later my mother died. Naturally, I fell apart.  At the time I maintained to everyone that I was only grieving. I was so naive that it took some time for me to understand that I was more than just down. I was actually suffering from an illness.  When someone sees my picture they don’t automatically connect me with depression.  It’s never been who I am.  So, it was shocking to me to discover this.  Now I know that if it can happen to me it can happen to absolutely anyone.  It’s incredibly important for me to let people know that I am getting better.  I feel stronger and happier every day.  Depression will play havoc with the entire body and there can be many components to it that may not get connected until they take that first step and admit they are depressed.

O&AN:  What happens when someone tries to tell another person and they respond with “What do you have to be depressed about?”

Dano:  It is essential that you reach out to someone for help and support. If you have trouble relating your feelings to one person try someone else and keep trying until you find someone who will listen.  Go to a doctor and get yourself evaluated.  Ask if they know any support groups in the area that could help.

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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