John Fetterman checked himself into Walter Reed Hospital for treatment of his clinical depression. Fox News pounced on it while pretending they gave a damn.
February 16, 2023

Earlier Thursday, Senator John Fetterman's chief of staff put out a statement announcing that the senator was checking himself into Walter Reed Hospital to be treated for clinical depression.

Fetterman's wife Gisele also added her own thoughts:

Recovering from a serious stroke isn't easy. Recovering from one while running for office is even harder, and recovering from one while learning a new job and protocols for the job and retaining all of that is almost an impossible task, one that certainly takes a toll. I speak from experience. It took me the better part of two years to manage the panic and anxiety I'd feel whenever I felt even slightly off or my blood pressure skyrocketed for no apparent reason. I spent those two years in and out of the ER, learning to control the anxiety as best as I could. And my stroke was mild, leaving me only slightly impaired in ways that don't involve interfacing with the public or in public forums.

We don't talk about mental health enough. We don't talk about the stigma attached to it. And here we have a brave senator doing just that, and this is what Fox News thought was appropriate for their pundits to say.

Geraldo Rivera delivered this verdict: "However, I fear that he is in very, very fragile health, and does not look well," Rivera said with a look of faux concern. "He's kind of a clunky kind of guy, but to think that he's not sharp inside as well as out is really very troubling."

Here's a news flash for Geraldo Rivera: Depression doesn't make one less "sharp." It manifests in lots of different ways, but lack of sharpness is not one of them. And as Sam Stein pointed out, Fetterman isn't the only elected official to suffer from depression. He's just the first one to acknowledge it publicly.

Depression and anxiety go hand in hand. There's certainly plenty of anxiety for Senator Fetterman right now, and even with accommodations, it's got to be tough to get used to all of the different aspects of being in the Senate.

I admire him for taking steps to get better, and being willing to shed the stigma attached, even if Republicans would like to slap the "unsharp" label all over him.

How about we show him some support and compassion for the steps he's taking? And give him some space to heal.

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