Sen. Fetterman of Pa. was afraid that depression news would ruin his political career
U.S. Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania has revealed his struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts, stating that he sought treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Fetterman claims the pressure of his political career, combined with the effects of a stroke he suffered during his Senate campaign, led to a state of clinical depression. His health has improved after undergoing six weeks of inpatient treatment, with his depression now in “remission”, and he is now actively participating in Senate proceedings.
U.S. Senator John Fetterman Opens up About Battle with Depression
U.S. Senator John Fetterman shares his battle with depression, admitting having “dark conversations” about self-harm before seeking treatment. He feared the impact on his three school-age kids, expressing, “I can’t let them be left alone or not to understand why he would have done that.”
Fetterman checked into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, last February. His struggle came amidst coping with the effects of a stroke he had in May 2022, during his campaign for one of the Senate’s most contested seats.
Despite his victory over Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz, which solidified Democrats’ control of the Senate and catapulted him to national figure status, Fetterman was battling crippling depression, scaring his kids and prompting him to dread his swearing-in on Capitol Hill.
Depression Battle Takes Toll On Newly Elected Senator
Two months later, he was at Walter Reed, with aides describing him as withdrawn and uninterested. “I knew I needed help,” Fetterman said, before checking into Walter Reed. This was the first time he publicly discussed his battle with depression, which he has experienced intermittently throughout his life.
After six weeks at Walter Reed, he left with his depression “in remission,” according to a statement from his office. Doctors describe “remission” as when a patient returns to normal social function, indistinguishable from someone who has never had depression.
Fetterman now remains a visible presence in the Capitol, engaging with reporters, joking with Senate colleagues, and actively participating at Senate hearings. To those facing their own “dark holiday time,” he offered hope, assuring “Next year’s can be the best ever. And that’s what happened for me.”
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