Stargate's Amanda Tapping opens up about her mental health struggles from loss and isolation during the pandemic.
Amanda Tapping, best known for playing Samantha Carter in Stargate SG-1, says she struggled with her mental health during Covid-19 lockdowns. The actress grappled with anxiety and isolation brought about by the pandemic. However, her emotional strain was intensified by the devastating loss of her mother to cancer on August 19, 2021.
“My mom was sick during Covid and died during Covid,” Tapping told The Companion in a recent interview. “It was horrible to see her world instantly get so much smaller because she was immune-compromised and couldn’t go anywhere. I was very lucky that I went back to work after five months off,” the Stargate actress continued.
When the supernatural drama Motherland: Fort Salem resumed production, Tapping was getting tested three times a week. So she knew it was safe to visit her mom. But lockdown was still a struggle as the Stargate star’s mom felt increasingly isolated. “I watched her struggle and start to feel invisible, as she put it. Then to lose her during that, while we were still not coming out of lockdown…”
Still, Tapping managed to resume her career as an actor, director, and producer, contributing to projects such as the forthcoming Dead Boy Detectives. However, the persisting challenges of the pandemic hindered her ability to establish meaningful connections and impeded her path to recovery.
“Let’s just say it was easy for me to go down the rabbit hole, which I so often do,” she recalled.
Tapping explained that she felt isolated and scared as she didn’t understand what was going on. “There was a lot of anxiety about it. I understand the mask, and I understand why we all wore them, but it was hard,” the Stargate actress continued.
“It’s really hard to breathe 14 hours a day on a film set into your mask with a face shield and just come home and feel like you’re oxygen deprived.”
“We were all dealing with a lot, but I think losing my mom during that time… that sunk me,” Tapping continued. “There wasn’t the sense of being able to go out and meet with friends and go for lunch and cry and hug each other.”
Fortunately, she found solace in the wider community formed by the fandom of shows like Stargate.
This connection eventually led Tapping to participate in The Companion for Amanda Tapping: Embracing Mental Health as a Fandom, a live virtual event dedicated to discussing mental health challenges, fundraising for various mental health organizations, and even facilitating intimate discussions within smaller working groups.
Stargate fans with their own mental health concerns could also be heard directly. The initiative helped Tapping realize that acknowledging one’s struggles is a vital initial step toward recovery.
Proceeds from ticket sales were directed to mental health charities chosen by Tapping, such as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) in the US, Kids Help Phone in Canada, and Mind in the UK.
Having a positive impact on Stargate fans and the people she works with is crucial for Tapping.
However, it often comes at a cost, as being strong for others can be exhausting. “When I’m on a set, and there [are] 100-plus people looking at me, I will put on the happy face,” Tapping said. “I will act super confident and happy because I know that’s what people need.”
While Tapping sees value in being a positive, strong leader, she also knows that it’s okay to ask for help. “It’s so important to let that drop and be able to turn to your friends or your family or whomever and just let it go: ‘I am not okay today,’” the Stargate star continued.
The actress credits her friends for helping her get through the lowest moments in her life with a bit of tough love when needed.
Meanwhile, Amanda Tapping’s next project is the upcoming fantasy drama Dead Boy Detectives, where she serves as director. Developed for Netflix by Steve Yockey, the series is based on the DC Comics characters of the same name by Neil Gaiman and Matt Wagner. A release date is yet to be announced.
While it’s unclear which episodes the Stargate actress will direct, Dead Boy Detectives promise to be a compelling series. The story follows Charles Rowland and Edwin Paine, who decide not to enter the afterlife when they die. Instead, the pair decides to stay on Earth and investigate crimes with a supernatural twist.