Hanging upside down helps Rosie beat blues

Tv Review

March 10, 2007|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,sun television critic

Rosie O'Donnell hung upside down by her legs from a yoga swing. She confessed to hiding in her room with the lights out and not going out for days at a time. She told viewers how she couldn't stop crying.

The 44-year-old comedian has said and done her share of silly things since joining ABC's The View in September, but yesterday, she was nothing short of brilliant as co-host of a special edition of the morning talk show that focused on women and depression.

When O'Donnell is on her game, she uses her personal history - from her battles with the scale to her sexual orientation - as effectively as any performer in popular culture to create enlightening entertainment. And yesterday, she expertly mined her struggle with depression to lead the cast of The View through a show sure to win an Emmy for the wealth of information that it offered in a fast-paced, engaging manner.

In trying to explain to viewers that depression is a disease and that victims need to seek help and not be ashamed, O'Donnell opened the show talking about how the murder of 13 people in the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado sent her into a downward spiral - even though she knew none of the victims.

"I couldn't stop crying. I stayed in my room, and the lights were off. I couldn't get out of bed, and that's when I started taking medication," she told viewers.

She said that in addition to taking antidepressants, she now also practices yoga and "inversion therapy," which involves hanging upside down from a swing for 15 to 30 minutes a day.

"It gets the good stuff flowing to the brain," she said.

Staying perfectly on message throughout the hour, O'Donnell closed the show with an uplifting message.

"Depression is a tough thing to deal with," she said, sticking to an approach that offered no sugar-coating for the pain.

"But it is survivable. I'm living proof."

david.zurawik@baltsun.com

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