CBS

Information on Depression

Posted on Nov 16, 2011 05:13am

Dr. Maria OquendoNo project has been a greater source of pride for CBS Cares than our interview in 2006 with Mike Wallace about his courageous battle and triumph over depression. We know that it meant a lot to Mike that his story provided so much inspiration to millions suffering from depression and their families. We mourn the passing of Mike in 2012. But with the kind support of  CBS News and Mike's family - including his wife Mary who passed away soon after - we are proud to keep this interview on the CBS Cares website. And if you are seriously depressed, there is no greater honor you could accord to the legacy of Mike Wallace than to read his story - and reach out for help. - CBS Cares, April 16, 2012 "There's nothing, repeat, nothing to be ashamed of when you're going through a depression. If you get help, the chances of your licking it are really good. But, you have to get yourself onto a safe path."
- Mike Wallace

As our newly produced public service announcements convey, serious depression is a medical disease that requires treatment. It affects millions of Americans as well as millions more family members and friends. There may be life events that are catalysts to depression, but experts reiterate that it is largely a physical disease, affected by brain chemistry and function, and it is a medical disease as much as diabetes or a heart condition.

Our first interview in this section is with CBS' Mike Wallace, Co-Editor of 60 Minutes. We feel that Mike Wallace's own courageous battle and recovery from severe depression, as he relayed in our interview, conveys a very important messa­ge: Mike Wallace is one of the last people one would expect to suffer from depression. He is a tough, hard-hitting news correspondent with great character strengths. He had overcome childhood and adolescent challenges and the devastating death of a young son in Greece, which influenced his decision to dedicate his career exclusively to news. As a news correspondent, he had for years exposed corruption and fraud, confronting the perpetrators directly.

Yet, in 1984, even Mike Wallace was unexpectedly struck by a depression that overwhelmed him and sent his life into an uncontrollable spiral. The trigger-point to that depression was a $120 million libel lawsuit against CBS by General Westmoreland, the commander of US forces in Vietnam, over a Mike Wallace report in 1982. That report indicated that General Westmoreland had helped mislead the American public by misrepresenting enemy troop strength in Vietnam.

In our interview, Mike Wallace explains exactly what he went through, how his depression was initially misdiagnosed and how he lost complete control over his life. He explains how, with the support of his wife, finding the right psychiatrist and receiving treatment, he was able to finally overcome the deep depressive episodes and reclaim his life. The interview also reveals how depression affected a trip that Mike undertook to Lebanon to interview the head of Hezbollah, Sheikh Fadlallah, who was suspected of masterminding the bombing that killed hundreds of US Marines in Beirut... a trip that the CIA had urged him to cancel because of the significant dangers to him personally.

MIKE WALLACE INTERVIEW

CBS CARES: Mike, thank you for finding the time to talk with us about your personal battle with depression. We think your story is very important, because it shows that even someone who is such a role model to millions of our viewers and whose career was built by taking on some of the toughest stories can be hit by depression and beat it. Basically, that there's nothing for them to be ashamed of if they have depression and they can get through it, just like you did.

MIKE WALLACE: That's right... nothing at all to be ashamed about. I think it's very important that CBS is doing this project. Before you start, let me show you something. Look at this letter I received from Max Cleland.

CBS CARES: That's Senator Max Cleland, the former Senator from Georgia and war hero who lost his legs in Vietnam?

MIKE WALLACE: Indeed, yes. Max fell into a deep depression and I heard about it. I'd never met him before and I just called him up. Because the best thing that you can do when you've been through depression yourself is reach out to someone who is now experiencing the same thing and say, "Look, I came through it. I survived. I'm worth it. I am as happy as one can be under the circumstances. As bad as it seems now, you can make it through, just like I did."

CBS CARES: The way you express that helps explain why the experts say it can make a difference for a seriously depressed person to speak to others who've been through it and made it beyond.

MIKE WALLACE: It really does help. For example, through my depressive episodes, I spoke a lot to my good friends Bill Styron (the Pulitzer winning author) and Artie Buchwald (the writer, columnist and humorist) who went through bad depressions about the same time I did. We really helped support each other. We used to call ourselves the "Blues Brothers"!

CBS CARES: We've read that your first serious depression struck you in the early 1980's when General Westmoreland, former commander of US forces in Vietnam, sued CBS for $120 million, alleging libel in your CBS Reports story "The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception." Your story had indicated that General Westmoreland misled the American people about enemy troop strength during the Vietnam War. What was it about the lawsuit that caused you to be overwhelmed by a serious depression?

MIKE WALLACE: Well, I had to sit there in that drafty courtroom in Foley Square and the plaintiff put on its case first. So, I had to sit there every day and listen to myself publicly being called, in effect, a liar, a cheat and many other words to attack one's ethics and self-pride.

CBS CARES: That must have been dreadful. But at the time you already had decades of great credibility and were an established benchmark of ethical, yet tough broadcast journalism. Why did a plaintiff counsel's self-serving strategy rock the emotional foundation, of all people, Mike Wallace? Couldn't you just take it where it was coming from?

MIKE WALLACE: Well, the psychiatrist I found carefully studied the situation and, after long conversations with me said, "You know something, Mr. Wallace, what you're worried about is that you're going to have to answer the kind of questions that you like to ask." He told me that he had to prepare me in case we lost because the way I felt, if we lost, my life would be over as far as I was concerned. That's what I believed because I was in this screwed up, depressed state of mind. I'd just completely lost perspective.

CBS CARES: So was a big part of this that you'd lost the control you'd always had over your life and you felt your reputation as a news correspondent was suddenly in the unpredictable hands of a jury?

MIKE WALLACE: That's exactly right. And what happened, too, is that I was there in front of the jury, in their unpredictable hands as you say, while my own hands were shaking because I was taking medication.

CBS CARES: What medication were you taking and, in addition to shaking, did it cause any other side effects?

MIKE WALLACE: I was taking what they call an antidepressant drug called Ludiomil at that time. It was before the newer SSRI antidepressants like Zoloft. In addition to causing my hands to shake, the Ludiomil made me thirsty, dried up my throat and there were a couple of other side effects.

CBS CARES: What symptoms of depression did you experience?

MIKE WALLACE: At first I couldn't sleep, then I couldn't eat. I felt hopeless and I just couldn't cope… and then I just lost all perspective on things. You know, you become crazy. I had done a story for 60 Minutes on depression previously, but I had no idea that I was now experiencing it. Finally, I collapsed and just went to bed.

CBS CARES: How did you get help?

MIKE WALLACE: My wife, Mary, thought it was depression. She called a local hospital to see if somebody couldn't help. And through that I was connected with my psychiatrist. So, he took me over. He didn't really know what I did professionally, but he studied the situation closely, explained to me why I was feeling as I did, and diagnosed and started treating depression.

CBS CARES: As I recall, the outcome of the Westmoreland lawsuit was that you didn't have to retract a single fact in your story about Vietnam?

MIKE WALLACE: Not one.

CBS CARES: Well, when you were vindicated in this way, did you start to feel better?

MIKE WALLACE: Yes, I did feel immediately better because of that. As you can imagine, it was a big relief. But there was this underlying depression that had already been unleashed and my feeling better was also because of the antidepressant I was on and the talk therapy that my psychiatrist was giving me.

CBS CARES: OK, so you're feeling much better, the facts in your Vietnam broadcast stood solid after the litigation and you're seemingly back in control of your life… why did you later plunge back into another deep depression?

MIKE WALLACE: I was told to stay on the Ludiomil for six months and wean myself off under my psychiatrist's guidance, little by little. Well, I was doing pretty well. And stupidly, I took myself off by just quitting, not tapering down. And I was playing tennis a few months later and broke my wrist. And there I was again, back in a very deep depression.

CBS CARES: In addition to possible effects from stopping the antidepressant too quickly, was there anything else about the tennis injury or your life at that time that you think might have caused you to plunge into another bad depression?

MIKE WALLACE: The crumbling of one's body.

CBS CARES: Do you mean that breaking a bone is a painful reminder…emotionally as well as physically… of the fragility of one's body and life?

MIKE WALLACE: Yes, the realization of this fragility was indeed a factor in this second depression. So, there I was again, caught in a deep depression. Now, having come through it once, I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel. But, having said that, the weeks, the days in this condition were like decades in my mind.

CBS CARES: Had you ever experienced depression before the Westmoreland lawsuit?

MIKE WALLACE: Never.

CBS CARES: You said a bit earlier that you had done a story on depression for 60 Minutes before your own depression. Was that the one about how depression, from nowhere, devastated the life of the head of a major California corporation?

MIKE WALLACE: Yes, that's the one.

CBS CARES: Would your 60 Minutes story on depression have been different if you'd done it during or after your depression?

MIKE WALLACE: Oh, it would have been very different. I would have brought a level of understanding that is only possible when you have personally experienced something. You see, we're talking about a long time ago, 20-25 years back. There wasn't the common knowledge… not that there's that much knowledge now. But it was still very much the "Big D," like cancer was the "Big C."

CBS CARES: "Big D" in the sense that depression was…still is… stigmatized?

MIKE WALLACE: That's exactly right.

CBS CARES: Well, because some people, unfortunately, see depression as a stigma and your being a high profile celebrity, were some people unwilling to recognize what your wife Mary and your psychiatrist did--that you were suffering from depression?

MIKE WALLACE: Yes. My general practitioner, for example. This is when I first started experiencing symptoms and before I really fell apart and came under the care of my psychiatrist. Anyway, I kept going to my regular doctor at the time and he said to me: "Mike, come on! You've been through tough times before. Get your act together." There are a lot of situations where people, even some doctors, miss a patient's depression or just can't deal with it themselves.

CBS CARES: We heard exactly the same thing in an interview with one of the leading psychiatrists for this project, that even certain primary care doctors can't deal with a patient who has depression, even though it's also a medical illness. So your own primary care doctor was telling you basically to just "Snap out of it?"

MIKE WALLACE: That's exactly right. He was saying "Mike, you don't want to go public with depression. It's bad for you." I swear, what I was being told was "it's bad for your image." In any case, I came out of it the second time. And then by my 75th birthday, for some reason, this was a kind of a watershed and I began to fall into a bad depression again.

CBS CARES: Some of the leading psychiatrists we interviewed for this project told us that severe depression typically occurs in the age range of 20s or 30s, maybe the 40s. They say it's very unusual for it to happen later in life, which seems to be your situation.

MIKE WALLACE: Well, I know plenty of older people who have suffered from bad depression for the first time later in their lives.

CBS CARES: Did you ever previously in your life have bouts of depression, maybe not as bad as at the time of Westmoreland or later, but still bad?

MIKE WALLACE: No. I mean, I never before experienced that kind of emotional pain, spaciness, the feeling of complete helplessness, loss of perspective, etcetera.

CBS CARES: Do you mind if I ask you a hard question?

MIKE WALLACE: No, of course not.

CBS CARES: Thanks. If the subject is too hard, please just let me know and we'll move to another one immediately. It's been reported that in 1962, your son Peter tragically fell off a cliff while on vacation in Greece and died at the age of 19. Didn't that trigger some depression and how did you cope with a tragedy of that dimension?

MIKE WALLACE: It was of course very, very painful. It also changed my life because it changed my career life. Before Peter's death, I was doing a variety of things in broadcasting. Not just news, because in those days you could do news, a quiz show and even commercials, and I did all of them. I used to say to myself, "Hey, you can't afford not to do some of these things in order to support your children." I had two of my own children then and two step-kids. When Peter was killed, I made up my mind… I was going to quit everything. I had enough money for a year. And it helped me cope by channeling some of this into my career choice: saying to myself "better do just what I want to do" and that meant getting a job exclusively in news.

CBS CARES: That's when Dick Salant, then President of CBS News, hired you in early 1963?

MIKE WALLACE: Exactly right. (LAUGHING)…you know that too? You certainly prepare thoroughly for your interviews at CBS Cares!

CBS CARES: Thank you. One of the members of our CBS Cares team is in her early 20s. When I told her that it was your 87th birthday this week, she said, and I am using her exact words, "But Mike Wallace looks like a spring chicken!"

MIKE WALLACE: (LAUGHTER)

CBS CARES: Well, it's often been said that the key to a long and healthy life is happiness. You're still at the top of your profession, you look great and healthy. How do you reconcile all this with your various bouts with severe depression? Are you an exception to the rule?

MIKE WALLACE: Well, I think the important thing here is that I fought against my depression and got help. I got the right psychiatrist and the right therapy for me, which was talk therapy and effective medication. I reached out to people who had gone through it and speaking to them helped me a lot, because I could see that there was light at the end of that tunnel. My wife Mary made a big difference, too, as did some good friends. I exercised, because my psychiatrist recommended that and it really helps, too. Anyway, I did everything I could to get as well as possible with this disease and to get on with my life. If I'd given in to depression, or not got through it, I wouldn't have lasted this long.

CBS CARES: Were there any issues in your early years that could have made you more susceptible to depression later in life?

MIKE WALLACE: I used to have acne when I was a kid growing up. You can imagine how serious that was in making you feel bad. And I had skinny bow legs. I mean, as a kid growing up, I was an insecure fella, as a result of which I said, "Look, I'm going to prove that I can do something with my life despite all of that." But I was never, you know, when I see some kids today who are close to their parents, close to their friends… I think it's simply wonderful. I was not a happy kid. Back in those days, I remember the sick, gray days were better. Because when it was sunny I'd feel worse.

CBS CARES: The experts also tell us that genetics are an important factor in determining susceptibility to depression later in life. Was anyone in your immediate family depressive?

MIKE WALLACE: Genetically, I think my mother probably was. I'm pretty sure she had a tendency towards depression.

CBS CARES: Well, can you tell us more about Mike Wallace as a boy?

MIKE WALLACE: Myron Wallace? Myron Wallace was my name as a kid. What was he like? He was good… happy-go-lucky.

CBS CARES: Experts tell us that genetics, environment, self image and so on are factors that can determine whether someone is susceptible to depression later in life when an event provides a trigger. With your mother's tendency toward depression, the bruising of a young boy's self esteem because of acne and the fact that you recall the gray, sick days as better… could depression maybe have been lurking within till it was finally triggered at the time of Westmoreland?

MIKE WALLACE: Apparently, someplace down in there something was lurking. And I really do mean that the acne thing was traumatic. You know, being 15, 16 years old in high school and not wanting to even look at yourself in the mirror is very hard. I was always reasonably successful. Got good, though not great, grades. I was captain of the tennis team, just very involved in being a boy.

CBS CARES: With these childhood insecurities, where do you think your strength of character emerged from? Were they a reaction against them?

MIKE WALLACE: I never regarded myself as possessing great strength of character.

CBS CARES: Well, wouldn't you agree that exceptional strength of character seems well established when someone reacted to adversities with a strong determination to beat them and succeed in life, and then more than succeeded in a very competitive profession, which is not for the faint of heart?

MIKE WALLACE: I was damn well going to succeed one way or another, yes. And I ultimately wanted it to be in the television news business. I wanted like the dickens to overcome some of this stuff. It was a challenge.

CBS CARES: So, could depression have been knocking at your door for years without your realizing it, before Westmoreland?

MIKE WALLACE: Yes. I wouldn't be surprised. I wouldn't be surprised at all.

CBS CARES: When you first got depressed, whom did you first tell? Whom did you reach out to first?

MIKE WALLACE: Well, the first one was my regular doctor, whom, as I said, didn't think or refused to think it was depression. But as I said earlier, my wife Mary did.

CBS CARES: She made a big difference to you?

MIKE WALLACE: Oh, very much so.

CBS CARES: Can you elaborate on how she did that?

MIKE WALLACE: She was there for me. She quickly realized I was suffering from depression. She took action by calling the hospital and helping me find the right psychiatrist. And she was always supportive and never doubted that I would beat this, even when I did.

CBS CARES: How did you meet your wife, Mary?

MIKE WALLACE: I'd worked with and known her husband years before… Ted Yates… he was a producer and wanted to be a reporter and producer. On the first day of the Arab-Israeli Six Day War, he was on the Jordanian side of Jerusalem and was shot in the head by an Israeli sharpshooter, leaving three children. Mary and I were like cousins at the time… stayed friends… and years later, I invited her to stay with me at my place on Martha's Vineyard when I was alone. That was about the time of the Westmoreland lawsuit. So, it started as friends and then became much more.

CBS CARES: Did your depression ever escalate to the point where you felt suicidal?

MIKE WALLACE: Oh, it certainly did.

CBS CARES: How far did that go?

MIKE WALLACE: Close. On two or three occasions, I came very, very close. But, when I got the right help and treatment, I was able to put that behind me.

CBS CARES: When you saw your psychiatrist, what treatment did he give you immediately?

MIKE WALLACE: Talk… psychotherapy with that antidepressant medication, Ludiomil. And then, after my 75th birthday, Zoloft, the new SSRI antidepressant had been developed. My psychiatrist prescribed it, played around with the dose to get it right. When he did, that helped a lot.

CBS CARES: How did you know that you were starting to feel better? Was there a given moment or was it gradual?

MIKE WALLACE: Yes. There was a given moment.

CBS CARES: Can you describe that?

MIKE WALLACE: Oh, what happened was, I had an opportunity to go to Beirut to interview the head of Hezbollah, Sheik Fadlallah - I talked to the CIA and they said, "Well, look, this could be very dangerous and something bad could really happen if you do this interview."

CBS CARES: That's not a surprise considering that you were a Jewish correspondent doing this story and working for a high profile American television network. Wasn't Sheik Fadlallah suspected of planning the bombing in Beirut that killed hundreds of US Marines?

MIKE WALLACE: Yes, exactly.

CBS CARES: Were you still depressed when you planned this trip?

MIKE WALLACE: Yes, very much so.

CBS CARES: Do you think that your depression might have made you ignore the CIA's warning… care less that your life could be in danger by going to Beirut for this story?

MIKE WALLACE: Exactly. As far as I was concerned, if something happened during that trip, that was a good way to die. I was quite serious about that. I didn't care right then if I lived or died. Really.

CBS CARES: Can you please clarify something? Why were you depressed at this late stage when, as you described, you'd been put on Zoloft during a prior depressive episode and it was working so well?

MIKE WALLACE: I had actually been off the Zoloft for awhile previously and resumed taking it when I got depressed this next time. But these antidepressants can take a bit of time to start working, so the Zoloft hadn't yet kicked in at the time I left for Beirut.

CBS CARES: So you're depressed, ignore the warnings of the CIA about risking your life by doing this story and fly to Beirut… was it there that you started to recover from the depression or after you returned from doing that interview?

MIKE WALLACE: I was up in the hotel in Beirut, looking down into a destroyed part of the city and just hoping, waiting for the Zoloft to take hold. And it was about four or five, six weeks that it hadn't taken hold. And you know about the day without help? Well, this felt like the century without help.

And I just woke up one morning in Beirut and I felt much better. At first, I didn't believe it and the next morning it was even better. And that was about 12 years ago.

CBS CARES: Do you still experience depression these days?

MIKE WALLACE: No. You know, just normal wear and tear of life. But my depression is well under control now, thanks to good treatment.

CBS CARES: As the letter you showed us from Senator Max Cleland shows, you've touched a lot of people very positively through reaching out to others with depression. Can you tell us more about how you have used your journey to help others?

MIKE WALLACE: Well, for example, as I told you, two very good friends of mine - Bill Styron and Artie Buchwald - suffered from depression about the same time as I did. Calling ourselves the "Blues Brothers," we'd go to locations and talk to groups of people about depression as we'd experienced it. The places were always full on the nights that we did it and I think we reached a lot of people this way.

I also did a film entitled Dead Blue: Surviving Depression with Bill Styron and Martha Manning which ran on HBO and had a great response. People still ask where they can get a copy of that film.

CBS CARES: When was the first time you spoke publicly about your depression?

MIKE WALLACE: For quite awhile, I didn't want to speak about it because of the stigma. The first time was when I was on the Bob Costas show called Later, which was airing at 1:30 in the morning. And all Bob was talking to me about was 60 Minutes. I suddenly realized, "Hey! It's 1:30AM in the morning and there must be a lot of people watching this program who can't sleep because they're depressed." So, I started then to speak openly about my experience. I just felt a responsibility to do that and let depressed people know that there's no reason for shame… it's a medical illness no different from any other… and there are ways to get treated just as I was.

CBS CARES: What was the response to your speaking out on the Bob Costas show?

MIKE WALLACE: Bob told me he'd never had a response like that. There were… well, still are… so many people out there who needed to be reached. To be able to say to somebody who's going through that hell, "Hey, I was there, I know how you're feeling, and take a look… my God I'm back on track!"

CBS CARES: Many people with severe depression, including your friend, William Styron, in his powerful book "Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness," describe a feeling of total hopelessness. And they also convey that it's impossible to communicate what severe depression feels like unless you've been through it. Was that your experience too?

MIKE WALLACE: Absolutely. You just feel hopelessness, hopelessness. When is it going to end? You ask yourself "what's wrong if I take my life?!" I mean, come on. It's just not pain, physical pain...it's even worse than that.

CBS CARES: You seem to be very fortunate in the psychiatrist you found. What was it about your psychiatrist that made such a big difference to you?

MIKE WALLACE: Because he fully understood, I felt. And he was treating me with medication, but also with talk therapy. In the middle of the Westmoreland trial, I had to show up at court and I did so every day. But I would take a cab up to my psychiatrist's office at lunchtime a couple of times a week, sometimes three times, to get a lube job from him. And he really is good… he takes it seriously, he's perceptive, he's supportive and he's private. I've sent other people to him, really difficult cases.

CBS CARES: Mind if I ask another possibly sensitive question?

MIKE WALLACE: Sure.

CBS CARES: Thanks. Again, if it is too sensitive, please let me know and I'll move off the subject. Well, after your son Peter had tragically died and you basically focused your energies and your skills and your talents on work for the next 20 years, is it possible that the attack on your professional credibility by General Westmoreland's counsel rocked your emotional foundation to a greater extent because it related to a career you'd dedicated yourself to as a result of Peter's death?

MIKE WALLACE: Oh, absolutely. What they did was very personal in many ways. And indeed, I had invested a lot in my work over the years… and to see my ethics and integrity attacked in that public way. You devote yourself to your career and getting stories right. Then you sit there in a courtroom and have to listen to them present a case about this lying, cheating reporter, which is not you… but you can't do anything about it.

CBS CARES: Can you tell us about your work with the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression? We're going to provide a link to their website at the end of our section on depression.

MIKE WALLACE: Oh, that's very good.

CBS CARES: What should readers of this interview know about this organization?

MIKE WALLACE: My wife Mary is deeply involved with NARSAD. If you are a companion of a depressive and you have to put up with the bastard who you love, but who can be a pain in the butt at the same time, and you search for other people who are in the same position, little by little, she found herself drawn to other women who were in similar positions. And little by little, she got more involved and more involved. And Mary is not an organization-oriented woman, if you will. But NARSAD, National Association for Research for Schizophrenia and Depression, takes mental illness very seriously. And a woman by the name of Connie Lieber has run it forever… developed it into one of the most important privately funded organizations for psychiatric research. Many of the people who have supported it financially through the years have kids who are either schizophrenics or depressives. And a lot of these people have a lot of money. And they really give a lot. And NARSAD has done extraordinary research into schizophrenia and depression. I just have nothing but great respect for all of these people.

CBS CARES: Many thousands of people, maybe many more, who are depressed are going to be reading this interview. What would you like to say, coming from the heart and head of Mike Wallace, directly to them right now, as they're reading this interview? What's important for you to communicate to them?

MIKE WALLACE: First of all, there's nothing, repeat, nothing to be ashamed of when you're going through depression. It is, believe it or not, an illness. And that's it. And you should find yourself a good psychiatrist or psychologist. And if that psychiatrist thinks that medications are right for you, get on those medications and stay on them. If they aren't working, follow the instructions of the psychiatrist or psychologist. If you can get a psychiatrist who talks, gives psychotherapy as well as giving medication, in my estimation, it's a lot better. At least, it was for me. But I believe just about anybody can be treated and can get better. Even if talk therapy or medications don't work, which is less usual, there are other options. For example, a close friend of mine finally had to have ECT (Electro Convulsive Therapy), shock treatment, and it's helped him through the years. And so the message is a positive one: there's more than hope, there are effective treatments. I think for most individuals, if you get help, the chances of your licking it are really good. But you have to get yourself onto a safe path.

CBS CARES: Do you feel that having gone through depression and dealt with it head-on, surpassed it, that you're a fuller person?

MIKE WALLACE: Oh, yes.

CBS CARES: Can you elaborate on that?

MIKE WALLACE: I'm more compassionate, I'm more understanding and, ultimately, my life has been a lot fuller because I experienced this.

CBS CARES: Well, as the saying goes, in life "we're all in the departure lounge waiting for our flights to be called." How does Mike Wallace feel about mortality? You have had and still have an amazing life. You're very young in many ways. How do you feel about mortality?

MIKE WALLACE: You mean do I want to die? I've thought about it, yes.

CBS CARES: It's of course unavoidable, but is it an acceptable proposition to you?

MIKE WALLACE: It is an acceptable and inevitable proposition. Frankly, I don't fully understand why I've lasted this long, comparatively.

CBS CARES: Thank you for spending so much time with us today.

MIKE WALLACE: Soon after you sat down opposite me, it was obvious that you cared enough to find the background for all of this and you came out and were willing to ask the harder questions, too. And that makes someone being interviewed want to respond and give more to an interviewer like that.

CBS CARES: Well, thank you very much for those generous comments. And thank you for providing this project with so many insights into your personal journey. As I said when we started this interview, the fact that even Mike Wallace can experience depression and the fact that people can be treated just like you were, sends a really important message.

MIKE WALLACE: You're very welcome. I'm glad I could help.