Gillum discusses battle with alcoholism, depression after entering rehab

Gillum discusses battle with alcoholism, depression after entering rehab
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Former Tallahassee, Fla., Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) opened up about his battle with alcoholism and depression in a video posted to Instagram on Monday, about four months after he announced he would be seeking treatment and withdrawing from public life. 

Gillum, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Florida in 2018, said in his video he had underestimated the impact losing the race had on his life and on how those impacts started to show up in his life. 

“I didn’t want to talk emotionally or really deeply about what had happened in the race for governor because it was a constant reminder of failure and my own personal failures,” Gillum said. “It was a reminder that I had let so many people down. It was a chorus of this voice that I tried for so long to quiet, which said that I wasn't enough, that I wasn't good enough. All the things that I wanted to suppress and numb and forget about that depression around what I was experiencing there became far too much for me to keep down.” 

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Gillum said he went to rehab to focus on his issues with alcoholism, noting that he grew up watching his father battle alcoholism and dying of complications from addiction. 

He also said he started to go to therapy to discuss his issues with depression and addiction. 

Gillum said he was attempting to numb the feelings of depression that were “bubbling up” and starting to come out. 

“The feelings I was having, a result of what happened in November, the fact that the office that I thought I could do the most for for other people, for the state that I loved, I no longer had access to," he said.

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"But not only that, after having spent 16, 17 years as an elected official, the thing I knew how to do well, the thing that gave me an outlet to go and try to change the community in the way that I thought would make it better, all of that was all of a sudden gone,” Gillum said. “It really did cause me to think about my own purpose and my own value and what I could contribute if anything. And I didn't want to have to face all those things, and so I numbed.” 

Gillum said he’s learned through his journey not to suppress or suffer in silence, a message he shared and urged others to listen to, as well. 

Depression, he said, is killing too many people that are suffering in silence. 

He also said that it is a “tough moment” to be withdrawing from the public, noting the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide protests over racial inequality, but said that he is using his time to work on himself. 

“This is a tough moment not to be out in the world and contributing. I have found it particularly difficult,” he said.

“But I want you to know that although I can't be what I would love to be for you and for myself and for my community at this time, I hope you know that I couldn't be those things because I couldn't be what I needed to be for me first, and that's what I'm working on at this point in time,” he said.

Gillum announced in March that he would be entering rehab after developing an alcohol addiction after losing his gubernatorial bid. 

The announcement came after he issued a public apology after he was found intoxicated in a Florida hotel room with others, including a man who police said had suffered a “possible drug overdose.”

A bag of what was suspected to be methamphetamines was also found in the room. Gillum said that he had “too much to drink” but said he never used methamphetamines.