Fetterman Specifies Depression's Low Point

Treatment works, says senator, now back on job at Capitol
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2023 5:06 PM CDT
Treatment Works, Says Fetterman, Back on Job
Sen. John Fetterman walks at the Capitol in Washington on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Back at work on Capitol Hill, Sen. John Fetterman has traced the development of his clinical depression. The low points didn't necessarily reflect troubled times in his life, he told People. And his wife, Gisele, said she became the most concerned the night the Democrat won election to the Senate from Pennsylvania last fall. Parts of the campaign, including criticism of his debate performance and being called a vegetable after he had a stroke, had been hard on Fetterman. "After he won, you expect someone to be at their highest and really happy and celebratory," she said. "And after winning, he seemed to be at the lowest."

The new senator realized it, too. By the time he took the oath of office, Fetterman said, the "depression was in full force." He'd struggled with depression for years but never thought it serious enough to require treatment, per the Hill. He now thinks the Senate campaign against Republican Mehmet Oz accelerated the progression of the disease. Soon, he checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment for clinical depression. Six weeks later, that led to what he calls one of the happiest days of his life, when his doctor told him, "I believe that your depression is in remission." He returned to the Capitol on Monday.

Fetterman regrets not getting help sooner, and he wants other people to know they don't have to fight depression on their own. His wife studied the disease and tried to get him to a doctor but couldn't. "He had to do that hard part himself," Gisele Fetterman said. "We all can get made healthier," said her husband, who added that he now finds life joyful instead of only bearable. Fetterman advises anyone struggling to get professional help. "Address your depression," he said. "I was skeptical it would make anything better, but it did. It works." (More John Fetterman stories.)

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