Former Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum discussed his battle with depression and alcoholism Monday during his first public statement since entering rehab in March.
Gillum, 40, apologized to supporters in an 11-minute Instagram video and explained that the depression he had been fighting for years worsened after narrowly losing his 2018 race to Governor Ron DeSantis.
‘I totally underestimated the impact that losing the race for governor had on my life, and on the way that those impacts started to show up in every aspect of my life,’ Gillum said.
‘It was a constant reminder of failure and my own personal failures. … It was a reminder that I had let so many people down.’
Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum has addressed depression and alcoholism in a social media post on Monday
‘All of that was all of a sudden gone, and caused me to think about my own purpose, and my own value and what I could contribute if anything,’ he said. ‘I didn’t want to face any of those things so I numbed. I tried to suppress. I tried to ignore.’
Gillum went traveling, made public appearances and sat for TV interviews, posting on Instagram and Facebook ‘as if I was living my best life.’
He expressed remorse for what he did and acknowledged that his feelings of guilt were normal.
‘It is normal to feel guilty for the harm you have caused someone. That’s how you know you’re human. That’s how you know you’re not a sociopath.’
But he said the public shame that he also felt hit him in a ‘completely different’ way that ‘cuts you.’
‘My stuff had to be public and cause great embarrassment and rumors, some false, some true, the shame that I felt from all of that … was tearing me up,’ Gillum said. ‘I needed real help to try to unpack that.’
Gillum revealed that his father also suffered from alcoholism and died from complications related to ‘that deadly addiction.’
‘I went away to rehab to focus on my issues with alcoholism, having grown up in a household where my father battled addiction to alcohol, and later died from that addiction,’ Gillum said in the video. ‘I knew well the toll it took on my father’s dreams and ambitions.’
In the video, he urged others struggling with alcoholism or depression to seek help. He explained that he turned to therapy address his problems.
‘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. That is the journey I am on right now … not having to be one thing in one place and one thing somewhere else,’ he said.
Gillum had remained silent since a March incident involving a man who reportedly overdosed in a South Beach hotel room
‘With a lot of encouragement from family and the people who love and care about me, I also got into therapy, where I could start to talk through what was going on with me,’ Gillum said.
‘I knew if I had not dealt first with issues and addiction and the numbing that I chose with alcohol, there was no way I could start to pull back the layers and talk about what was truly happening underneath.’
‘This is a tough moment not to be out in the world and contributing … although 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.’
Although he did not state what his plans for the future were, he told his followers to stay tuned.
Gillum thanked his wife, R. Jai Howard, pictured for her support in the video. The couple have three children
‘I hope that I’ll be able to share more layers that I’m developing and enveloping. I’m doing a lot of writing these days. I’m trying to put on paper a lot of what I’m experiencing right now,’ he said.
Gillum thanked his wife, R. Jai Howard, for her support in the video. The couple have three children.
He said his wife had been a strong ally for him and stated how she ‘knows what I am and knows what I am not. She chooses to love me anyhow.’
Gillum spoke about some of the issues affecting the country currently, including the coronavirus pandemic to the after-effects of the Minnesota killing of George Floyd.
He described how he felt the challenges of being a black man in the U.S. and how it had also affected his mental health forcing him to ‘look for other ways to take off that pressure.’
‘I know as a black man what it means just to have to convince people that your life has meaning, convince people that your life has purpose,’ he said. ‘Not to be set above anybody but just to be treated on a level that’s equal with everyone around you.’
Paramedics were called to the four-star Mondrian South Beach hotel which costs $220 a night
Travis Dyson, a male escort, was found naked and in the throes of a drug overdose
Dyson describes himself as a trauma certified ER nurse on social media, where he posts photos of himself working out in the gym, partying at gay nightspots and lounging on luxury yachts
It was in March when fire rescue crews and police officers responded to the Mondrian South Beach hotel in Miami Beach for a suspected drug overdose.
Gillum and two other men were in the hotel room, and Gillum was found to be inebriated, police said.
One of the men was Travis Dyson who had been suspected of overdosing on crystal meth.
According to local news reports, Dyson worked as a gay porn actor and advertised himself as a male escort.
Miami Police Department officers were called out after reports of a guest suffering a cardiac arrest. They arrived to find paramedics performing first aid on male escort Dyson (left and right) in the wake of ‘a suspected drug overdose’ preparing to take him to the hospital
It is not clear how Dyson is connected to Gillum, but Mejias said he and Dyson had plans to meet up
Police arrived to find paramedics performing first aid on Dyson in the wake of ‘a suspected drug overdose’ and preparing to take him to the hospital
When officers arrived, Gillum was so intoxicated he could not communicate, police said.
Police found a substance in the room that appeared to by crystal methamphetamine, but Gillum was not charged with a crime.
Images depicted a slew of drugs, both prescription and illegal, found inside the swank $220-per-night hotel room.
Dozens of white pills could be seen scattered on the floor and bedside table alongside empty containers of citalopram, an anti-anxiety medication, and gabapentin, which helps combat seizures and nerve pain.
A small bottle of an injectable medicine containing alprostadil, typically used to treat erectile dysfunction.
Beer bottles and sheets covered in bodily fluids could also been in the photos, obtained from police under Freedom of Information law.
Gillum left the hotel after rescue workers confirmed that he had stable medical signs.
Plastic baggies of suspected crystal meth (pictured), empty beer bottles and prescription pills are seen scattered among trash and soiled bedding in shocking images
Exclusive images show the slew of drugs, both prescription and illegal, found inside the swank $220-per-night hotel room, including three bags of what police believe was crystal meth
Dozens of white pills can be seen scattered on the floor and bedside table alongside empty containers of citalopram, an anti-anxiety medication, and gabapentin, which helps combat seizures and nerve pain, as well as an empty Corona beer bottle
One of the other men was taken to a hospital, according to the police report but no charges were ever filed.
Gillum said previously that he was in Miami Beach for a wedding and did not use illegal drugs.
After the hotel room encounter became public, Gillum announced he was entering a rehabilitation facility.
Gillum was the first Black nominee in a major political party to run for governor in Florida.
After the narrow electoral defeat, the former Tallahassee mayor mounted an effort to register Democratic voters in Florida and frequently appeared on cable news channels as a political commentator, but he admitted in the video that depression ‘became far too much for me to keep down.’