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The Delta Burke and Gerald McRaney Interview (Page 2 of 3)

An Interview with Delta Burke and Gerald McRaney

GM: Like anybody else, I get depressed over stuff that happens, but itís not the same problem Delta has.  Everybody gets depressed and, yes, this situation caused me to get into a blue funk from time-to-time, just like any other thing would cause itóa death, a loss of job or something like that.

DB: He would show it differently, though, because he was very stoic. Iíve noticed in the last couple of years as Iíve gotten much stronger and was making sure I was seeing my therapist regularly that Mac started going through a depression, but I donít think he realized he was. I noticed it because there were a lot of the symptoms I had, like sleeping a lot or in bed a lot. I still go back and do that, and each of us might fall into what the partner is doing. I thought, Iíve got to keep going to my therapist. I canít fall into this with him. I needed to do what I could do and talk with him about it, and then he came out of it. Recently, I had a bad couple of months and I was getting very down on myself, or negative about things. He realized he had to keep doing what was right for him, which was to get out and still do certain things for himself and not get sucked into this with me. We do have to watch that because thatís easy to have happen.

GB: I know you were a caregiver for your mom as she fought breast cancer.

DB: In í97, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and the next month, I was diagnosed with diabetes. So it was very overwhelming, but I didnít take care of me. I took the pills the doctor gave me, but I didnít read anything about diabetes and I didnít change my diet. The whole family was wrapped up in breast cancer. We knew nothing about it; we hadnít dealt with it in the family before. We were trying to learn what to do and where was the best place for mom; everything was focused on that. A year later, she had gone through the lumpectomy and all the treatments and the doctor told me that Iím going to end up on insulin if I donít do something. Then I got scared enough to start to tend to what was going on with me.

GB: Thatís generally a prime caregiver trait we have. We forget weíre human too.

DB: Yeah, you donít take care of yourself because you feel guilty if you do; you should be there all the time and sympathetic and loving and nurturing all the time. Thatís kind of impossible. Nobody is that good and you canít be that perfect. I remember saying to my mother when she was taking care of my grandmother, ďYou need to take time for yourself, too,Ē which she was not able to do very well, either. But when it happened to me, I, of course didnít even think of that. Youíre always better at giving advice.

GB: What advice would you give to a caregiver of someone living with depression?

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