ANTIDEPRESSANT: Speaker of the House in Georgia Legislature Attempts Suicide

Paragraph 7 reads:  “Sure, he had been under a doctor’s
care, taking medication, but apparently  ‘the black
dog,’ as Winston Churchill once called depression, started
howling so fiercely last Sunday that one of Georgia’s top legislators couldn’t
silence it. Those who suffer from depression are the first to know it is
hardly a simple disease.”

http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_163177.asp

Roy Exum: A Suicide Is Foiled
by Roy Exum
posted November 15,
2009

Roy Exum
Glenn Richardson is the Speaker of

the House in the Georgia legislature. He has been elected to represent those in
the Dallas/Hiram part of the state seven straight times and, when he became

Speaker in 2003, he was the first Republican chosen since Reconstruction.
Earlier this year, he was unanimously chosen as the legislature’s leader for the
third straight time.

In short, he doesn’t fail at many things, but a week
ago he tried to commit suicide. Because of quick action by emergency teams in

Paulding County, his life was spared and, in a moving story that appeared in
Saturday’s Atlanta newspaper, he courageously admitted he fights severe
depression and will use the near-tragedy to better suicide prevention.

His was hardly a publicity stunt or a novel way of attracting
voters. He doesn’t need that. But the anguish in his coming forward, readily
admitting his human flaw, shows that if depression can lay its thick and
suffocating blanket on state legislator Glenn Richardson, it can be a very black
cloud over any of us.

“While depression often seems to be resolved on
occasion, when personal trials or tribulations arise, it flares back up,”
Richardson said in his public statement. “That is what occurred with me. My
depression became so severe that I took substantial steps to do harm to myself
and to take my own life. I am thankful that because of medical intervention I
have instead been able to now receive help and support.”

A couple of

years ago Richardson and his wife were divorced in a high-profile case of a
marriage that was “irretrievably broken.” The couple has three children and
apparently Glenn has never shaken the pain of the divorce. Anyone who has ever
gone through a divorce can understand that, most especially if grief-stricken
children are watching.

“I ask that the media use discernment if they
report this and remember my friends and family who are also hurting,” his
statement read. “I fully believe this has and will continue to push me to find
my best self and use my position of leadership to raise awareness and let others
know they are not alone. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.”

Sure,
he had been under a doctor’s care, taking medication, but apparently “the black
dog,” as Winston Churchill once called depression, started howling so fiercely
last Sunday that one of Georgia’s top legislators couldn’t silence it. Those who
suffer from depression are the first to know it is hardly a simple
disease.

So instead of giving in to the problem and giving up his
standing in the Georgia House after Sunday night’s scare, Glenn is now going
“public,” urging others to “stay in the game” rather than commit what has been
called “life’s most selfish act” because suicide leaves so many living victims

in its wake.

Both Republicans and Democrats applauded his courage Friday.
Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter (R-Johns Creek), called Richardson a “brilliant
political leader and dear friend.”

“Most importantly, each of us is
praying for him and his family,” Burkhalter told newspaper reporters. “His
willingness to share this difficult experience clearly demonstrates his amazing
courage. Speaker Richardson is a true champion, and we in the House of

Representatives look forward to his continued leadership and
recovery.”

DuBose Porter (D-Dublin) is the House Minority leader and
added his “thoughts and prayers are with Glenn and his family. I am glad he
sought the help that he needed to. People need to know many people suffer from
depression and there is help that can be provided for that. I am thankful he got
the help he needed.”

So the lesson is not to point out how the strong
have fallen, but rather that those who suffer are not alone. There is help
available no matter where you are, who you are, or how insignificant the disease
might tend to make you feel you are.

The bottom line is that somebody
needs each of us. In the state of Georgia literally millions rely on Glen
Richardson’s wisdom and leadership. He’ll be the first to tell you today that no
matter how black the darkness may be, there is a way out of the maze of severe
depression if you’ll call on others to hold your hand until the professionals
who walk among us can cease its trembling.

Thank God that is what Glenn
Richardson did just last
Sunday.

royexum@aol.com

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UPDATE: ANTIDEPRESSANT: GA House Speaker Resigns After Suicide Attempt, Affair

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org):

Yet another government official is destroyed by the use of an
antidepressant. All the signs and symptoms of Antidepressant-Induced Bipolar
Disorder are clear – the infidelity, the lying, the divorce, the suicidal
tendencies, etc.
What a shame that no one involved seems to even have a clue what has
happened to cause this! One man’s use of an antidepressant and look how many
lives have been negatively affected! Another family and another leader
destroyed by the negative effects of these drugs.
Why does no one see these drugs are destroying our country, our
society, our families, our lives? Is profit really worth it? Does that make it
okay to destroy so many just for money and power? I will never understand that
mentality!
_________________________________________
“It has been a dizzying fall for one of Georgia’s most powerful political
figures. Sheriff’s deputies found him Nov. 8, slumped semiconscious on the edge
of the bathtub at his west Georgia home after he called his mother to say he had
swallowed pills. A suicide note and a silver .357 Magnum were on the counter
next to him. The contents of the note have not been released.
“Richardson has also been dogged by messy personal and ethical problems,
including a 2007 ethics complaint by House Democrats over the same alleged

affair ex-wife Susan Richardson accused him of on TV this week. In an interview
Monday with Fox 5 Atlanta, Susan Richardson said she had e-mails between her
ex-husband and the lobbyist for Atlanta Gas Light that prove the affair. The
couple divorced in February 2008.”


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/03/glenn-richardson-george-h_n_379093.html

Glenn
Richardson RESIGNS: Georgia House Speaker Out After Attempted Suicide, Alleged
Affair

Glenn Richardson


ATLANTA — Georgia’s powerful House speaker resigned
Thursday after a suiciide attempt and allegations by his ex-wife of an affair
with a lobbyist.

Glenn Richardson, the state’s first GOP speaker since
Reconstruction, had won sympathy from even his political enemies when he
revealed last month that he attempted suicide by swallowing sleeping pills.
But then his ex-wife went on TV and accused him of having “a full-out affair
with a lobbyist while they were still married.

Richardson did not
address that allegation in a brief statement issued through the House
communications office in which he said he will leave both his position as
speaker and his House seat on Jan. 1. He did mention his recent admission,
made in the wake of his suicide attempt, that he has grappled with
depression.

“I fear that the media attention of this week has deflected
this message and done harm to many people who suffer from this condition,” he
said in the statement.

House Republican lawmakers received the news
from an emotional Richardson during a conference call just before the
statement was released.

“It was very painful for those of us on the
listening end,” state Rep. David Ralston said.

The 49-year-old
Richardson, once thought to be a serious contender for governor, had gone
right back to shaking hands at chicken-and-grits fundraisers after trying to
kill himself. But he had been silent since his ex-wife claimed this week that
he slept with a lobbyist pushing a $300 million pipeline bill he was
co-sponsoring.

It has been a dizzying fall for one of Georgia’s most
powerful political figures. Sheriff’s deputies found him Nov. 8, slumped
semiconscious on the edge of the bathtub at his west Georgia home after he
called his mother to say he had swallowed pills. A suicide note and a silver
.357 Magnum were on the counter next to him. The contents of the note have not
been released.

Secretary of State Karen Handel, a leading GOP candidate
for governor in 2010, called Richardson’s personal turmoil “heartbreaking” but
said meetings at the state Capitol were grinding to a halt because he was
missing in action amid the worst state budget crunch in the state
history.

She and the Georgia Christian Coalition were among those who
had called Thursday for Richardson to resign.

Once Richardson steps
down, House Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter will become interim speaker, and
the Republican caucus will have 120 days to elect a permanent
replacement.

University of Georgia political science professor Charles
Bullock said Richardson is known for comebacks, but the latest round of news
may have finally damaged him beyond repair.

“Heading into an election
year, I think Republicans would rather not still be talking about the life and
loves of Glenn Richardson,” Bullock said.

Richardson was revered among
some conservatives for helping engineer a GOP takeover of the Georgia House in
2004 after decades of Democratic control. But his short temper has often left
him feuding with the state’s other leading Republicans. In 2007, a red-faced
Richardson accused Gov. Sonny Perdue of showing his “backside” after the two
feuded over tax cuts.

On Thursday, Perdue issued a statement saying
Richardson made the right decision, which should give him privacy that will
“enable him to recover fully and completely.”

Richardson has also been
dogged by messy personal and ethical problems, including a 2007 ethics
complaint by House Democrats over the same alleged affair ex-wife Susan
Richardson accused him of on TV this week. In an interview Monday with Fox 5
Atlanta, Susan Richardson said she had e-mails between her ex-husband and the
lobbyist for Atlanta Gas Light that prove the affair. The couple divorced in
February 2008.

In one e-mail, according to Fox 5, the lobbyist worried
that she would be fired if the affair became public. Glenn Richardson
responded by saying he would “bring all hell down” on Atlanta Gas Light if
that happened.

The 2007 Democratic complaint was dismissed by a
legislative ethics panel for lack of evidence, and a defiant Richardson used a
breakfast speech before a room full of Georgia business leaders to threaten
retaliation against those he said he said were trying bring him down with
“poison.”

The bad news, according to Richardson, “is that I survived.”
And, he continued, “I’m looking for those that manufactured that
poison.”

But Susan Richardson’s allegations have spawned a new ethics
complaint by a government watchdog this week, and Georgia Attorney General
Thurbert Baker’s office said Thursday it had begun looking into the
complaint

Glenn Richardson has not responded to the affair allegations
and a spokesman did not return a phone call on Thursday seeking additional
comment.

___

Associated Press Writer Greg Bluestein contributed
to this report.

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