"60 Minutes" inquisitor Mike Wallace says his battle with depression took him to reptilian depths but he's much better now.

Wallace spoke Wednesday at a symposium on mood disorders at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore in what he said was a "payback" for the treatment he received. Wallace said his problems started in 1984 while William Westmoreland, the Vietnam War era general, was suing over a CBS report that said he inflated casualty figures."You sit there for the first two months and hear yourself called a liar and a cheat day after day and you begin to feel lower than a snake's belly," Wallace said.

He put up a facade to keep his cohorts from knowing about his depression, but he collapsed from exhaustion before Westmoreland eventually dropped the suit. Wallace underwent therapy and was put on medication and says the past four or five years have been the best of his life.

"I understand myself better, and I understand the parameters of my head and my psyche so much better," he said.