The Speaker’s Statement

Today Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson released the following statement:

“As you know, in an effort to protect my family, I have and will continue to have a practice that I do not discuss my personal and private life. However, in this situation, I feel compelled to speak out in order to possibly help others. For the past two and a half years, ever since my separation and divorce, I have struggled with the disease of depression. Depression is a disease which affects millions of people everyday in this country. Like most people who suffer from depression, I regularly see a physician and take prescription medications.

“While depression often seems to be resolved on occasion, when personal trials or tribulations arise, it flares back up. That is what occurred with me. My depression became so severe that I took substantial steps to do harm to myself and to take my own life. I am thankful that because of medical intervention I have instead been able to now receive help and support.

“Just as the estimated 17 million other Americans who share the challenge of depression, I am ashamed and embarrassed. I realize now the high level of love and encouragement that surrounds me, and that is why I am sharing this with you. It is my hope that by coming forward and admitting my depression and attempt to take my own life that others may have the strength to seek treatment, too.

“The effects of depression peak during the holiday season we are now approaching. If you know someone who is struggling, reach out to them. Listen to them. Take their fears and concerns seriously.

“I ask that the media use discernment if they report this and remember my friends and family who are also hurting. I fully believe this has and will continue to push me to find my best self and use my position of leadership to raise awareness and let others know they are not alone. Thank you for your thoughts and your prayers.”

44 comments

  1. fishtail says:

    My heart goes out to him. And I must say that it takes a tremendous amount of courage to come forth and speak about it. I don’t agree with everything he has done politicically, but I certainly agree that he deserves a ton of sympathy and understanding. May he continue to recover.

  2. Chris says:

    The man risks political suicide to help prevent others from committing real suicide.

    That my friends, is real leadership.

    • AubieTurtle says:

      I would be inclined to agree with you if he hadn’t used the same old cynical political tool of making the announcement on Friday afternoon at the close of business that has been used for decades to bury unfavorable news.

      I do hope he gets the treatment he needs and ends up as a mentally fit member of society and a happy member of his family but let’s not pretend this announcement was something he did out of concern for others suffering from depression.

  3. Rick Day says:

    For the good of the people, when an elected official is not of physical or mental capacity to hold office, they should respectfully resign, to work full time on healing their family and/or themselves.

    No one would begrudge that sacrifice. I hope the Speaker, like Senate President Johnson before him, will see fit to do what is right for all.

    • ByteMe says:

      Since he describes it as being stress-related, I can’t imagine how that’s going to play out in the closing days of the legislature when things get really stressful.

      Of course, asking powerful politicians to step aside for their own good is not a conversation most politicians without power want to have.

      • AubieTurtle says:

        True but you can bet that it will be used against him even if only through whisper campaigns. If he gets proper treatment, it would be a terrible waste of his talents for him to kicked out in the cold but I’m sure he can be successful in many areas other than politics. I hate to say it but no matter how many guarantees his doctors make about his mental health, he is unlikely to gain the confidence of enough of the general public. If he wants to stay in politics, perhaps an appointed position would be better use of his talents.

      • ByteMe says:

        In many ways, it is a physical issue, but one that he says is triggered by personal stress-related situations and plays tricks with his brain. Tricks that made him want to harm himself.

        Is he really the best choice the GOP have to lead the House? Will any GOP politician have the balls to stand up and say “enough”?

        • Sleepy Tom says:

          He’s better than any Democrat out there. Those folks are so insane they want to ruin everyone else’s lives. At least Glenn is only a danger to himself.

          • ByteMe says:

            “Our guy may want to kill himself sometimes, but it’s better than the Democrats who want to kill everyone else”. Yeah, there’s sycophant “logic” for you.

          • Sleepy Tom says:

            Byte: Democrats wouldn’t know “logic” if it bit them in the rear-end. Don’t use words you don’t understand the meaning of.

  4. Donna Locke says:

    Not long ago, a cardiologist showed me a diagram while we were talking about a relative’s heart. The diagram illustrated how a heart with blocked arteries had grown new arterial pathways around the blockage and in other directions.

    Give yourself a chance and more time to do that, Glenn. Good luck.

    Most of life is just showing up — for life. If we can find a way just to keep showing up, often things take care of themselves, sometimes in the most unforeseen ways.

  5. Howard Roark says:

    Prayers for the speaker and his family.

    He should resign and focus totally on his recovery and family.

  6. John Konop says:

    This took real guts. Mental illness is very serious issue that should be treated as such. I think too many are very judgmental about this illness and do not understand that it is an illness.

    God Bless the Speaker.

  7. Demonbeck says:

    Until he shows that his health issues prevent him from completing his duties as Speaker, all of you who are calling for his resignation should back off.

    No one ever asked anyone to resign because they were too obese and no one should ask the speaker because he is being treated for a different health issue.

    I say kudos to him for his courage and his leadership in this instance. I could only hope our other state leaders would be as forthright with their personal lives as he.

    I, for one, will keep the Speaker in my thoughts and prayers as he deals with this very difficult medical issue.

  8. Until he shows that his health issues prevent him from completing his duties as Speaker…

    Umm, he’s admitted to having mental health issues and tried to kill himself. Specifically what more do you need?

    The hypocrisy in the Georgia GOP never ceases to amaze me. They say they’re for smaller/limited government but many of them constantly vote to increase it’s size and scope. They say they’re for less taxes, but most of the proposed tax increases last session came from members of the GOP. They say they’re for more freedom and constantly support legislation that takes freedoms away.

    Now, one of their leaders admits to being mentally unstable and we’re all asked to ignore it… aaah, no!

    Even the US Constitution has a provision for the President to be removed from office or to temporarily step aside if his mental capacity is diminished. The remaining GOP leadership in the house , as well as the Speaker himself, should consider a similar action.

    I would like to conclude that I do wish for a quick recovery for Speaker Richardson. When he is on top of his game he is definitely a force to be reckoned with. I can even admit that I agree with him politically speaking, quite often. That being said, the citizens of Georgia deserve to have it’s leaders in full charge of their mental faculties . Therefore, at a minimum, the Speaker should be removed from his leadership position temporarily. And when it can be demonstrated that he has been cured, his re-instatement should be immediate. Unless, of course, a new Speaker is duly elected to replace him.

    In the mean time, my thoughts and prayers will be for Speaker Richardson, his family and for the remaining leadership that have tough decisions to make now and in the coming session.

    I really do wish him the best and for a full recovery.

    • Demonbeck says:

      Depression is a mood disorder, not a sign of mental instability.

      Depression has nothing to do with new taxes, the size of government or personal freedoms.

      • Depression has nothing to do with new taxes, the size of government or personal freedoms.

        Says you… those are precisely the things that DO make me depressed!

        Oh sorry, wrong thread for this?

      • Demon,
        I said my peace. However, I don’t consider someone that attempts suicide as being mentally stable. It is also proof that he is currently not safe to himself and/or others and his decision making ability is being affected. He needs to reduce his stress by removing himself from potentially stressful situation, spend more time with friends and family and continue with treatment. I’m truly sorry, but these are facts that need to be faced.

      • Soulja Boy says:

        I’m surprised it took an attempted suicide for Glenn to finally convince all of you sychophants that he is mentally unstable and wholly unfit to lead.

        Have you not been paying attention during the last 3+ legislative sessions?

      • John Konop says:

        Demonbeck

        “Depression is a mood disorder, not a sign of mental instability.”

        This is not true it all depends. I am not saying the Speaker has this issue but depression can cause mental instability.

        • John Konop says:

          FYI

          Demonbeck

          Depression is one of the most common health conditions in the world. Depression isn’t a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply “snap out of.” Depression, formally called major depression, major depressive disorder or clinical depression, is a medical illness that involves the mind and body. It affects how you think and behave and can cause a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may not be able to go about your usual daily activities, and depression may make you feel as if life just isn’t worth living anymore.

          Most health professionals today consider depression a chronic illness that requires long-term treatment, much like diabetes or high blood pressure. Although some people experience only one episode of depression, most have repeated episodes of depression symptoms throughout their life.

          Effective diagnosis and treatment can help reduce even severe depression symptoms. And with effective treatment, most people with depression feel better, often within weeks, and can return to the daily activities they previously enjoyed.

          http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/DS00175

  9. Hochimama says:

    Ok, some of you negative folks need to look in the mirror and get a life. If you have not read Joel’s open letter, do so now, and then go back and read your stupid negative comments. You should be sent to your room without supper. Where is your decency.

  10. oompaloompa says:

    I bet there are alot of other legislators that suffer from the same illness, but handle it with prescription drugs or booze or numerous other distractions. Richardson is the only one to talk about it. What I’m not sure is whether he did so by his own accord or from pressure by the media.

    Regardless, Godspeed Mr. Speaker.

  11. Donna Locke says:

    Anyone prescribed antidepressant drugs should do research on these medications. These and some other drugs are known to cause suicidal thoughts and impulsions, and I think some of them carry that warning in the package inserts.

    It would not surprise me if this is a major part of the problem here. An acquaintance of mine here in my town was prescribed these drugs and other drugs after recent surgery. She had never shown any suicidal inclinations. A couple of weeks on the drugs, and she was sitting with her husband on the couch one night watching TV, talking calmly and companionably, with no indication of anything wrong. The husband dozed off, and the woman got into her car in her pajamas and drove straight to a river and jumped in. She did not survive. Her shocked husband blames the drugs.

    • ByteMe says:

      Even if you get the right combination of medications, your body may counter-adjust and then you’re constantly trying to hit a moving target and eventually spiral into another episode.

      Sometimes it really is as simple as taking one drug at a prescribed dosage. Sometimes it’s not and until your in treatment for a while, it’s impossible to know how you will react to the drugs. Or whether you will even notice if you’re not properly reacting to the drugs. Especially if you don’t have a strong personal support structure around you that you trust.

    • Donna Locke says:

      Well, I tried twice here to post a link to WebMD’s listing of side effects for antidepressants such as Zoloft and Prozac, side effects that include suicidal thoughts and impulsions. I guess the comment went to the spam folder, although it was just one link. Anyway you can go to WebMD and read it.

      • Donna Locke says:

        Thanks for the retrieval. I do think such deadly “side effects” are downplayed by the drug companies and are more common than we are led to believe. This is also true with drugs other than antidepressants. For example, research the controversy over Norvasc, a blood pressure drug.

        I’ve had life-threatening reactions to a number of common drugs for common ailments and found that doctors did not always take such reactions seriously and certainly did not report them to any oversight agency. Trying to report such incidents oneself is an exercise in futility, I found.

        We don’t get an accurate picture of drug safety.

        My point is that we must consider this factor in the situation under discussion here.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Donna,

      No body knows why individual humans take suicide as an option. Suicide is something I believe almost everyone ‘thinks’ about at some point in life. Blame the drugs? Might be right. Might be best to blame the drugs.

      I hope I never blame the survivors or the ‘victim.’

      I agree with ByteMe. Like ByteMe says, when you’re under treatment, you might not even notice how you’re reacting to your ‘meds,’ even with warnings.

      But, yes, you’re right. Most anti-depressant meds have a correlation to increased suicidal thoughts and impulses during the initial exposure.

      Mad Dog

  12. Jeff says:

    I’m sorry, but I’ve got to go on record opposing my OWN Chairman here.

    Daniel, much like any other tragedy or near tragedy, there WILL be a time for reckoning and sifting through the fall out. But 48 hrs later isn’t it.

    I’ve been where the Speaker has been, at least in this regard, and it was the beginning of the birth of the man everyone on this board knows. I’m thankful the Speaker was unsuccessful in his attempt, and successful in publicly talking about it. Yes, I acknowledge the political realities of the timing of the announcement, but he is still one of few anywhere NEAR his level of power and influence to openly talk about these issues. That takes some cajones right there.

    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for opening up this discussion during this season. We’ll sort out the politics of it later, and I may yet ultimately agree with my Chairman on them.

    For now, best wishes for a speedy recovery and a heartfelt thank you from a fellow survivor.

  13. Mad Dog says:

    To Mr. Richardson,

    “I feel your pain.”

    To most of the others here.

    Well done.

    In my humble opinion, mental health issues are much less stigmatized because we have grown somewhat as a society and because we see what an eight war does to an all volunteer defense force. And their families.

    Mad Dog

  14. Skyler Akins says:

    I will pray for the Speaker.

    However, The Speaker lost his family, but I will never be able to legally have one in Georgia because of him, and his party; and that makes my heart very heavy.

    • Donna Locke says:

      I sympathize, Skyler, and, trust me, a number of Republicans do also but feel trapped by their party expectations, despite the party’s deviation from true conservatism on this and other issues.

Comments are closed.