Dick Cavett was the host of “The Dick Cavett Show” and the co-author of two books, “Cavett” (1974) and “Eye on Cavett” (1983). He has appeared on Broadway in “Otherwise Engaged,” “Into the Woods” and as narrator in “The Rocky Horror Show,” and has made guest appearances in movies and on TV shows including “Forrest Gump” and “The Simpsons.” He currently operates a blog for the “Opinionator” section of the New York Times. Mr. Cavett lives in New York City and Montauk, N.Y.
Question: What is your advice to those suffering from depression?
Dick Cavett: Yeah, get help immediately. If you have a relative who's lost interest in everything and doesn't get out of bed, who doesn't care for things they used to, can't imagine anything that would give them any pleasure, don't fool around with it, get therapy, get help, get medication if that's right for you, or talk therapy, or something. But the very simple reason that you don't want to fool with it is, people with depression commit suicide. There's a lot more to know about depression than that glib answer, but that's not, I'm not glad I've had depression, but the pay off, if there's any, has been the fact that I've talked about it and that people have said, on the street even, "You saved my dad's life, he thought if this could happen to you, it's all right for it to happen to him." One of the uses of celebrity, perhaps? Or, "Well, you saved my daughter who always liked you and then she said, 'Gee, he's had this,'" and then, whatever.
But it's a ticking time bomb, it ends and it does not help to tell the person suffering it, "Get up and get out and have some fun and forget it, stop thinking about yourself and pull up your socks and play some tennis and you'll be fine." It'll help to play tennis, because you'll have some endorphins moving and you'll feel a little better. But you don't do any favors to the depressed person by saying, "Come on, snap out of it."
Question: Did you get help quickly?
Dick Cavett: I didn't get help very--no, I should've gotten help a lot earlier, I did, I suppose the first and second times, because you think, this can't be happening again. But the help is there and it must be used.