David Letterman tells Barbara Walters he gets ‘medicinal help’ for depression — In a special that was about heart disease and open heart surgery, in particular, Barbara Walters may not have expected that the take away news among audiences would be instead about depression. Guest David Letterman and Ms. Walters spoke about the disorder during her program Friday night, A Barbara Walters Special: A Matter of Life and Death.
The discussion came about naturally in talking about the after-effects of the surgery. The host of The Late Show with David Letterman spoke to Ms. Walters about his own open heart surgery, then about the emotions he felt afterwards.
“I would find myself busting into tears and sobbing uncontrollably with joy,” said the comedian.
“Joy?” Ms. Walters said.
David Letterman said that after the surgery reality set in that he knew he had been through something traumatic and survived — he was alive. The ordeal is such a shock to one’s system that it’s perhaps natural for the body and mind to respond, he mused.
Asked if he got depressed, he said, “I know what depression is. Depression is a black hole.” It is different from sadness or “feeling blue.” Clinical depression that involves a chemical imbalance in the brain is different and often requires medication, the talk show host noted. He didn’t seem to suffer that as a result of the surgery.
Ms. Walters picked up on the fact that he seemed to know the difference in the various states of mind and asked whether he spoke from experience with depression and whether he is on medication to treat it now.
“I get medicinal help for depression,” Mr. Letterman said.
With millions of Americans affected by depression, the news of another high-profile person battling the problem is perhaps as comforting to hear as Mr. Letterman’s admission was surprising to hear by others.
With his admission, David Letterman joins several other well-known people who have said publicly that they have had, or currently still do have, a struggle with depression. Others include CBS news journalist Mike Wallace and entertainer, Marie Osmond.
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