In an in-depth interview with Charlie Rose on Thursday, late night icon David Letterman opened up about his experiences behind the desk — and, on a more personal level, his battle with depression. He was hesitant to take medication to help him fight off his darkest periods.
“[I was] always quite skeptical about it,” Letterman admits. “And my friend and doctor, Louis Aronne, 20 years ago, he said, ‘You should take something for this.’ And I said, ‘No,’ because I thought it would make me loopy or make me hallucinate or make me drowsy. And he said, ‘I’m telling you, just try ten milligrams.'”
Letterman began taking the medication to treat depression and developed the shingles, and as then put on painkillers. “Part of the concoction of drugs they give you to fight that pain are pretty serious. And I just got tired of taking them. So I stopped taking them,” he says. “Part of that created in me this nervous anxiety. And then I was really screwed. So that’s when I said to Louis, ‘Okay, okay, I’ll try anything just to get rid of this depression.’ Because it was, it’s different than, ‘Oh, I don’t feel good today.’ It’s different than feeling sad. It’s different than feeling blue. It’s really like a friend of mine says, it’s the world with 20/20 vision.”
Now, Letterman says that fatherhood has helped him balance his life. “It’s like you get your prescription updated. You can see things that you never saw before.”