Fetterman explains battling depression, seeking treatment in emotional interview

WASHINGTON — Senator John Fetterman (D-Pa.) “begged” people struggling with mental health to seek a cure like his on MSNBC’s “Joe Scarborough Presents.” “Thanks to that, I was saved from suffering.”

Just one month after being discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, just outside Washington, Fetterman told Scarborough in an emotional interview aired Monday night that he battled clinical depression. He talked about his recent experiences and the hospital treatment that helped him recover.

Fetterman, who suffered a stroke nearly a year ago, suffered worsening depression after being elected to the Senate in November.

From left, Joe Scarborough interviews Democratic Senator John Fetterman on May 5, 2023.NBC News

“I couldn’t get out of bed. It wasn’t just because I was tired, it was because I didn’t want to.” A grim campaign.

Fetterman was sworn in as a senator in January and was hospitalized in early February after feeling lightheaded. A week later, he checked into Walter Reed for treatment for depression.

“I will never forget my decision,” Fetterman said of what prompted Scarborough to seek help. may become.”

Fetterman said he was “skeptical” at the beginning of the process and was in a “rough place” for the first few weeks. As my best friend said, there were moments when I was afraid you wouldn’t come back.

“I scared my family,” he said, adding that he didn’t care about the political ramifications because he felt, “This is my last and best chance to save myself.”

During the first three weeks of treatment, Fetterman said he didn’t see his children because he was “ashamed of what I did.” But a few weeks later, they visited and brought a post-it note that Fetterman’s dad had left for him, and wrote dozens of encouraging notes that hung all over his room. .

Democratic Senator John Fetterman is interviewed by Joe Scarborough on May 5, 2023.NBC News

Fetterman described the moment as a turning point in his therapy, saying the love of his family was his “catalyst.”

“That’s what sparked my thinking: there’s a big, big reason to get better,” he said. “You have a lot to fight for.”

Ultimately, he said, “One of the best decisions of my life was my doctor. [saying]”Your depression is in remission.”

“Exposing my children to the fear of losing me was really the single biggest motivation to take it on,” he said.

When he was hospitalized, Fetterman had symptoms of severe depression but no suicidal thoughts, said Dr. David Williamson, Walter Reid’s chief neuropsychiatric and medical director, in the Senate Office. Fetterman’s symptoms, which worsened in the eight weeks before his hospitalization, were low blood pressure that may have affected cerebral circulation, according to the report. Williamson said at the time.

Williamson said Fetterman’s depression was managed with medication. In the weeks that followed, Fetterman’s doctors said his mood improved and he began sleeping, eating and hydrating.

Fetterman was discharged from Walter Reed on March 31 after checking in on February 15.

Fetterman said depression and mental health crises are “human problems” regardless of political party. Encouraging people to seek treatment should be a national priority, and it is one of his own personal goals.

“I have a big obligation to pay it forward when I redeem it,” he said.

If you or someone you know is in danger, call 988 and contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 800-273-8255send HOME to 741741, or SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.

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