Q: What has followed that? How are you spending your time now?
TJ: We have ignored a huge piece of my life, which is that I was hit by depression in my mid 40's at the L.A. Times. I attributed a great deal of that not simply to keeping this workaholic schedule and working myself into it, but also the struggle against the other members of the family. Otis and I were striving to keep that newspaper and that company independent. We were striving to continue with the qualities that we had established and we were on our way to making the Los Angeles Times as good as the New York Times. Everybody was already saying it's one of the three best papers in America. New York Times, Washington Post, L.A.Times...but my having that job removed from me, removed my self worth. It took away my, as I now look back, as I say to people, you are more than a title, you are more than a position, you are many other things. You are a father, you are a husband, you are a member of your community, you are a good guy in a whole variety of ways. I had to learn that lesson the hard way. I had wrapped so much of my self worth into that position. Maybe it went all the way back to my childhood, wanting to make it, and I had made it to the ultimate in many ways when I had risen to that job at the Los Angeles Times. Anyway, Edwina forced me to go and get therapy and I started a series of, beginning with Lithium and going through other medications. I really only started to come out of it in a huge way when I got here to Atlanta. CNN was a great new opportunity. I had a spectacular new physician. Dr. Charles Nemeroff at Emory, he put me on a new medication that worked. I don't know how much of it was the new medication and how much of it was the new opportunity, but the combination of the two enabled me to get back in a significant way. I retired in 2001, even though I had an opportunity for a new three year contract. I saw another burnout coming. Twenty-four hour news, 7 days a week, traveling the world, some days going in and leaving that day for Moscow or Beijing or some place…You can love things too much, too. Basketball players might love basketball, but they can't play it 24 hours, 7 days a week without burning out. I was doing it...so what am I doing now? I work a great deal in the field of mental health. I meet regularly with people who come to me and want to talk with me about their depression. I am doing all I know how to do to eliminate the stigma--the terrible, terrible stigma--that is attached to mental health. People say, well what do you mean by that? If it is known that if you have a mental health problem it can be used against you in the work place, it can be used against you in government. For example, you, Tom, are coming up in the hierarchy at the University of Georgia, but somebody learns that you have depression and they say to Mike Adams, "Well, you do know that Tom Jackson has a mental health problem." It can clobber a career. That’s wrong. We should think of it like a broken arm, a broken leg, it's treatable. You can deal successfully with depression. Art Buchwald did, Mike Wallace did, William Styron did, J.B. Fuqua did, I have. With the right diagnosis of treatment, you can deal successfully with depression. I spent a lot of my time and a lot of my money helping people who have it. I do say, though, if it is going to cost you your progression in the company or in the government, or whatever, keep it private. They would say, "Oh, Mr. Johnson, I am in a highly classified job in the government, and each year I have to fill in this form that says,do you now or have you ever taken a mood altering drug?" I say, "You have two choices. You can put NA, which is I am not answering, or you can write down, Yes, I take Effexor or Paxil or Prozac or whatever...but frankly, that is really risky until we really get people educated about this particular illness better than they are today. I would like the pilot of my plane to be taking an antidepressant if he is depressed. I would like the people in the CIA or at the Pentagon who are leading us on major decisions not to be hiding or not to be seeing psychiatrists or to a doctor to be treated. Why should we treat mental illness any different than physical illness? After all, the brain is the most important of our physiology. So, I work a great deal on that. I serve on the board or have served on the board of the Mayo Clinic, I'm now on the board of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, because I care a great deal about trying to help other people. Edwina and I have been blessed with resources. We are giving back those resources, as much of it privately and secretly as we can to help people to have opportunities like I had.