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Gillum talks about struggles with mental health, shame

MIAMI – Andrew Gillum, the 2018 Democratic Party nominee for governor of Florida, used Instagram to release an 11-minute-long statement about his struggles with depression and alcoholism.

Gillum’s statement comes a few months after officers and paramedics reported he was in a room at the Mondrian South Beach Hotel room with a naked man with gay escort advertisements online. There were also bags of crystal meth in the room, police said.

Gillum, 40, said he completed rehabilitation treatment for addiction and he was undergoing therapy. He said he is also writing about his experience in the hope of giving back. He also said he is grateful for his wife, R. Jai Gillum, who is standing by him.

“A woman who knows everything that I am and everything that I am not. She chooses to love me anyhow ... She believes that this is just the beginning and that the best is yet to come ― not just for me ― but for us and for our family,” Gillum said.

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 06:  Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum gives his concession speech November 6, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida.  Gillum fell short in his bid against Republican Ron DeSantis. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 06: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum gives his concession speech November 6, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. Gillum fell short in his bid against Republican Ron DeSantis. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

Gillum said the fallout happened because he had struggled with depression and shame after losing the 2018 election to Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor. He also said he had been suffering in silence.

“All of us are struggling and trying and clawing at trying to be something else when we really ought to be trying to be at home in ourselves, and that is really the journey that I am on right now,” Gillum said.

Gillum also said that it was tough not to be politically active amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the upcoming November elections.

“I can’t be what I would love to be for you and for myself and for my community at this time,” Gillum said. “I hope you know that I couldn’t be those things because I couldn’t be what I needed to be for me first.”


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