Rick Springfield opens up about his battle with depression

The rock star spoke candidly about his decades-long battle with depression in hopes that his story can help others.
3:00 | 01/16/18

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Transcript for Rick Springfield opens up about his battle with depression
have no more time. Time's up with you. ABC news exclusive with '80s rocker Rick Springfield opening up about his battle with depression. ABC's Paula Faris sat down with him for a very honest and important conversation, Paula. Very important conversation, robin. Good morning, everyone. Rick Springfield tells me that depression is part of his physical, spiritual and chemical makeup and in many ways he says it's what drives him and his music. He has been to the darkest and deepest of valleys and wants people to know there is help ??? you know I wish I had Jessie's girl ??? Reporter: He is the rocker and heartthrob famous forhits like "I've done everything for you ??? . ??? I've done everything for you ??? Reporter: Now 68, Rick Springfield giving us a taste of his iconic song before a recent concert. ??? Where can I find a woman like that ??? Nice. Reporter: But these days his music has a different sound and a darker edge. ??? on his new album called "The snake king" with songses like Jesus is an atheist, little demon and suicide manifesto ??? meet mow ??? Reporter: Admittedly it's a different record for him but very much fueled by his lifelong battle with depression and suicide. You write, quote, it gets so bad sometimes I just want it all to stop. There's nothing worth living for. Rick, is that truly how you feel that there's nothing -- No, not at all. It was how I felt -- how I have felt -- I've been there in that place and that's where the song came from. Reporter: He's long been open about his depression. In his autobiography "Late, late at night" writing about a failed suicide attempt at ages 16. I put the noose around the thing and stood on a chair and kicked it away and hung there for awhile until I started to lose consciousness and the rope broke or came undone or something. Reporter: His depression which he refers to as Mr. D has never left him and drove him to a place last year where he once again thought about ending it all. Did it scare you? At first it did, yeah. You know, it's weird. You kind of become acclimatized, it becomes almost like a fend and, yeah, a way 0 get away from the pain. Why did you decide not to do it. I worked my way through it. Which I've always done. Do you have suicidal thoughts a lot? My god, yeah, but it's part of my makeup. How do you explain it to your children? You have two boys. They see the darkness in me. You know, none of them go, what, they see it. You know, and I've been very open with them. What do you think it would do to your family? Oh, it would devastate them at the really dark moment, that is a non-issue. You're not thinking about that. No. You're not thinking about your family. You think they'll get through it and they will because we're human beings and we deal with stuff. What are you thinking about? Just getting out. When it gets to that point that the pain is pretty intolerable. You have legions of fans but they're baffled as to why you would feel the way that you do when you have accomplished so much. Accomplishment is nothing. It doesn't change who you are. That's the big belief. Fame and success and money do not heal. Reporter: He copes through meditation and medication. He channels most of his depression into his writing and music. Pick up a guitar or start writing, that's what I do wit. I don't know where I'd be if I didn't have that outlet. Reporter: The rocker now hoping his story can help the many battling this disease. What do you want people to cull from your story. I want them to have hope and know that the moment will pass. I mean, I'm an example of the moment passing because I've been there a couple of times and haven't, you know -- for want of a better phrase pulled the trigger. That will pass but his depression he says will never go away and he doesn't know where he would be without his music but it's not just one thing, it's meditation, it's medication when it gets really bad for him and hugging his dog being grateful and it's channeling all of those feelings into his music. Thank you for sharing that with us, Paula. Appreciate it. Ginger and I will have a conversation with Jen about it and, of course, you've been very open in your new book about depression. Much like him for that exact reason and it's been surreal to hear the number of people who are dealing with it right now as we're talking this morning. Yeah so what is the number? When you talk about the who, guys, 19 million Americans, that includes children and teenagers and adults. This is the estimation and when you talk about who, listen, depression does not discriminate. This affects the ole, the young, the rich, the poor, famous, all ethnic groups. If you ask someone what the typical person with depression looks like it looks like any of us and it looks like Rick Springfield That's the hardest thing is knowing the signs and I think that's what family members have reach out and asked me what do I look for? For me self-harm and depression came along with isolation. That was the first thing, when I pulled back and became anti-social, when I really kept myself alone, what are the some of the other -- There is a very long list, some are up here on this graphic. But, you know, signs of feeling empty, lack of interest, a change in your eating habits. Feeling tearful. You need to know these signs and symptoms, not just for yourself but to recognize them in other people because if you ask someone are you depressed they're not going to be offended by that you're not make a social judgment but a potentially life-saving decision. Talk about the difference here. Many of us experience sadness. It goes far beyond that and people want to know how it can be treated. Listen, the good news is there are more treatment options than ever before when you talk about the depression. You know, therapy and counseling are really important. Medications can be life saving. Brain stimulation, supments, clinical trial, tlement fry therapies and the key is asking for help or approaching someone else struggling and we have to be crystal clear. The analogy I like to give to patients is think of a flower being deprived of water. Maybe it'll just result in some dry roots or maybe it will kill the plant. This is a medical condition that can have a range of severity. It can be mild that people live with every single day or it can be fatal. How have you dealt with it. For me it's people around me that have asked me are you going to hurt yourself. So it's gone that deep and then for me it took hospitalization. It really took committing to therapy and honesty with myself because there was a long time where I couldn't est with myself and when I did that that's when things changed. It sounds like he found it in his music and he's talking about it so that alone, you've healed. In dropping that stigma. And dropping the stigma and you help do that and Rick is doing that too. Why are we so -- because if you have cancer anything else you talk about that. High blood pressure, you would treat it. This is no different. Thank you, Jen. Michael.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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