Rep. Jackson ‘Debilitated’ By Depression, Wife Reports

The mystery of the disappearance of Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. seems to be resolved:

The wife of ailing U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is finally talking.

In an exclusive interview, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) walked Sneed through the dark days since her husband’s “collapse.” She also dispelled rumors that her husband, who is being treated for depression at Mayo Clinic, attempted suicide or was receiving help for alcohol and drug addiction.

“No, no, none of that is true,” said Sandi Jackson, who has been at the helm of her husband’s health care since he collapsed on June 10 at their home in Washington, D.C.

Ald. Jackson, who has spent the past month traveling from home to hospital to work, also provided a dramatic timeline for the congressman’s stunning absence, which netted sympathy and . . . criticism.

“His collapse was D-Day for us,” said Sandi Jackson, who tells Sneed her husband had become “completely debilitated by depression.”

She also claims the congressman’s world since June 10 has been immersed in a “news blackout.”

“We decided to impose a news blackout during his treatment to enable him to heal,” said Mrs. Jackson. Reports of Rep. Jackson being upset over the federal indictment of his old friend, Raghuveer Nayak, “can’t be true,” the alderman told Sneed. That’s because Nayak was arrested June 20 — after the blackout was imposed.

“He doesn’t know anything about the indictment.”

The congressman’s collapse had been prefaced by a tough political schedule, scrutiny, scandal and balancing a family life.

“I was in Chicago, when Jesse — who was at home in Washington, D.C. — collapsed,” she said. “His father, Rev. Jackson, called him on the phone and felt he didn’t sound right.

“Jesse told his father he was so exhausted, he couldn’t take another step.

“That’s when Rev. Jackson and Jesse’s brother, Yusef, took him to GW [George Washington] Hospital,” said Mrs. Jackson.

Jackson’s wife goes on to speculate that Jackson’s gastric surgery and significant weight loss may have played a role in his condition. Not being a doctor, I can’t speak to that but it’s not hard to imagine that large physical changes over a short period of time can have an impact on one’s brain chemistry.

I have to wonder what took Jackson’s people so long to get the record straight. They could have told reporters, and his constituents this weeks ago. I realize that mental health issues still care somewhat of a stigma in our society, but they do deserve some kind of an answer especially since Jackson is supposed to be standing for re-election in November and it’s not at all clear that he’ll be in any condition to resume his duties any time soon.

Notwithstanding that, I do hope the Congressman is able to deal with the problems facing him successfully and that his health returns to normal.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.