Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was “completely debilitated by depression” when he “collapsed” two months ago, his wife told the Chicago Sun-Times.
“His collapse was D-Day for us,” Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson told the newspaper.
Speaking out for the first time since her husband took medical leave in June, Sandi Jackson said the Illinois Democrat absolutely did not attempt suicide or was receiving treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.
“No, no, none of that is true,” she said.
She said Rep. Jackson was at their home in Washington, D.C. when it happened on June 10.
“His father, Rev. Jackson, called him on the phone and felt he didn’t sound right,” Sandi Jackson said. “Jesse told his father he was so exhausted, he couldn’t take another step.”
She said Rev. Jackson and Jesse’s brother Yusef met him at home and took him to a D.C. hospital. Sandi Jackson said her husband’s “body was just worn out…it was obvious he was suffering from a form of depression.”
He was taken to a mental health treatment center in Tucson, Ariz., where a possibility of a correlation between Jackson’s depression and his 2004 gastric bypass weight loss surgery was raised “due to lack of nutrients.” That’s when the decision was made to take him to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. for additional screening, according to the Sun-Times.
“What I can tell you is my husband has his good days and bad days and they are increasing his depression medication to therapeutic levels,” Sandi Jackson said. “They are now trying to find out if his depression, which has not yet been diagnosed as a bipolar disorder, is connected to the weight-loss surgery. We don’t know.”
She added, “Jesse is now gaining weight and eating and feeling better in that sense, but he is still very depressed. But I am encouraged by the number of tests they are running and the quality of the analysis.”
Sandi Jackson said any decision about whether her husband will return to work before Labor Day and attend the Democratic National Convention is be “up to the doctors,” but added, “we should know soon.”
She also said her husband has been in a “news blackout” during his entire treatment.
“We decided to impose a news blackout during his treatment to enable him to heal,” Sandi Jackson said.
Rep. Jackson is currently under investigation for allegedly offering to raise campaign cash for then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for being appointed to Barack Obama’s old Senate seat.