Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is asking constituents to bear with him as he continues to battle mental health issues, telling them, "I am human."
The Illinois Democrat, who has not been seen or heard from in an official capacity since taking medical leave in June, said in a robocall to voters Saturday he is "starting to heal" but still has a long road to recovery.
"Like many human beings a series of events came together in my life at the same time and they have been difficult to sort through. I am human. I am doing my best. I am trying to sort through them all," Jackson said.
The call, just 17 days out from when he'll face re-election to seek a ninth term, came one day after the Chicago Sun-Times reported Jackson was returning to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for bipolar disorder treatment.
Jackson's office initially said he was suffering from "exhaustion," later amended to be depression and then to the final diagnosis of bipolar disorder. He underwent an approximately two-month stay at the Mayo Clinic before being released in September.
An anonymous source told the Sun-Times of the decision for Jackson to return to the clinic, "he is finding it difficult to continue his treatment because the press is staking out his home and making access to his doctor, who is within a short walking distance from his home, incredibly hard."
Reports surfaced last week that Jackson was under FBI investigation over allegations that he used campaign donations to decorate his home. He has also been the subject of a congressional ethics probe 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.
Listen to Jackson's call below (transcript follows):
Hello this is Congressman Jackson. For the past few months I have undergone medical treatment to address several serious health issues.
Like many human beings a series of events came together in my life at the same time and they have been difficult to sort through. I am human. I am doing my best. I am trying to sort through them all.
I want to thank you for the many thoughts and prayers during this difficult time for me and my family, especially my colleagues and the people who mean the most to me, my constituents.
I am starting to heal. The good news is my health is improving, but my doctors tell me the road to recovery is a long one.
For nearly 18 years I have served the people of the second district. I am anxious to return to work on your behalf, but at this time it is against medical advice, and while I will always give my all to my constituents, I ask for your continued patience as I work to get my health back.
After my family, my constituents are the most important people in the world to me. I will always act in your best interests. Your patience, your prayers and your support during this difficult time means more to me than you will ever know. With your help, your patience, and God's grace, we will continue to work together to strengthen our communities, provide a better future for our children and leave the world a better than we found it.
Thank you and God bless you all.