I am feeling generally like crap over a personal thing and so I find myself waking up in the middle of the night, in semi panic, and just needing to write.
So I write. Tonight it is about John Fetterman. Senator John Fetterman from Pennsylvania and his well reported struggles.
The Senator is currently hospitalized at Walter Reed for depression. He has been very open about it, and I appreciate him for it. As we all should.
I actually worked against Fetterman in last year’s senate race— not for the idiotic Dr. Oz, but another. A good guy who refused to use Fetterman’s struggles against him in the campaign. It was rumored that Fetterman was not entirely well throughout and we had marching orders to not discuss it under any circumstances. If we were going to win, we were going to win clean, and that has stuck with me.
It was Reaganesque, actually. I worked for a good guy.
Anyway, I am very familiar with Fetterman’s struggles. I also deal with depression, and am an empath. I feel for him and I think he is a solid public servant.
Senators are an interesting bunch. I worked for Jesse Helms amongst others. Jesse’s best friend in the Senate was Joe Biden, by the way…not a subject either often felt like talking about. That’s another column for another day.
Senators are supposed to be flawless, even though those who know them like me know they are quite not. But yet, that is the narrative.
So for one to publicly check himself into a hospital for depression, of all things, is quite remarkable.
Again, I struggle with depression and it sometimes is debilitating for me. And I’m not even a Senator.
By simply being real, Senator John Fetterman is doing a great service to a lot of Americans who struggle. Americans like me.
Psychiatry.org defines depression as “a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home”
The fact that it is a bit taboo just makes it worse. You see, we aren’t really allowed to talk about it, though we need to. It is hard to explain to people why yesterday we blew up at them when we didn’t mean to. It results in a lot of broken relationships that we didn’t want nor need to break. Its just…a disease.
More from Psychiatry.org: Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can occur at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime. There is a high degree of heritability (approximately 40%) when first-degree relatives (parents/children/siblings) have depression.
I don’t know if Fetterman has a family history, and it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that depression is real and we need to be more open about it. Sitting in a hospital bed, Senator Fetterman is sparking that dialogue. Lets all wish him well and lets all take a lesson from this and not be shy when it comes to depression. It’s important.