Smiling Through with Dick Cavett

July 15, 2008

Depression is a widespread problem in our society, although open discussion of it is uncommon. We stigmatize those who exhibit mental disorders and so ordinary discussion about a disease as common as depression is uncomfortable, at least. Sufferers often fear that others might find out about their disease and think less of them as a result- or worse, they could lose jobs and friends. There needs to be more open discussion about depression and the other mental disorders so that sufferers do not have bear the additional load of the negative judgements.


In regard to this, the great talk show host of past decades, Dick Cavett, has lately been writing a column for the New York Times. In his piece, “Smiling Through”, from June 27, 2008 he writes with personal eloquence about his experience addressing an audience about his own struggles with depression. In his follow-up piece, “Smiling Through Part 2 from July 11, he says that he was surprised at the “outpouring” of response he got from the first article- nearly 500 at this date and over 300 so far to the more recent piece.

These are quite worth reading to get a perspective on depression, not just from Cavett’s experience, but from some of the celebrities he interviewed on his show, like the great playwrite Tennessee Williams, for example, with whom Cavett is shown in a video from the show. The selected quotes from some of the responders to his original column are also worth reading.

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