How Rosie O'Donnell Beat Depression

ByABC News via logo
August 8, 2001, 4:03 PM

N E W   Y O R K, Aug. 9 -- With her broad, smiling face, quick wit and infectious laugh, it's hard to believe that Rosie O'Donnell even gets the blues.

But, as the TV show hostess reveals in the latest issue of her magazine Rosie , she has struggled with depression her entire life. "I am one of the haunted," she wrote, saying she only freed herself of depression's grip two years ago, at age 37, with the help of antidepressants.

Depression is an illness that haunts many Americans, particularly women. In any given one-year period nearly 10 percent of the population 19 million Americans, including 12 million women suffer from depression.

O'Donnell wrote about her own trials with depression in the September issue of her magazine, which launched this spring.

A Secret Revealed

"It is scary to read it back to myself to let it go out there into the world, this dark piece of me," she wrote. O'Donnell decided to reveal her depression because she wanted to help others who suffer from it feel less alone.

In an exclusive interview with ABCNEWS' Good Morning America, O'Donnell said she went through 10 years of seeing different therapists before deciding to take medication for depression.

"I would list all my complaints of my childhood and they would listen and nod and say 'I think you need medication,'" O'Donnell said. "And after they said it two or three times I would get another shrink and change my number so they couldn't call me back."

Why talk about it now? She's not sure. When she watches her performance in the 1992 movie A League of Her Own, O'Donnell says she can see her own depression coming through.

She said her emotional state was at its worst in her infamous television interview with Tom Selleck two years ago, when she blasted him for appearing in an ad for the National Rifle Association. Soon it was she who was being accused of hypocrisy. Her local paper reported that her son's bodyguard had applied for a gun permit. At the time she defended herself by saying that she sometimes has security people who carry guns, and that they should be regulated, not banned.