Christopher Swope was GOVERNING's executive editor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
When Doug Duncan dropped out of the Maryland governor's race last week due to his struggles with clinical depression, he achieved a civic good that rivals anything he could have accomplished in the office he had deisred.
It took guts for Duncan, the CEO of Montgomery County, to openly acknowledge his illness. By doing so, he's helped bring the silent struggle that afflicts one in ten of us closer to the public's consciousness.
Depression can be a debilitating sickness, every bit as serious to one's health as diabetes or a heart attack. Unfortunately, it remains misunderstood by most as mere sadness, a sorry spell. The stigma and misinformation around depression only adds to the personal toll of those who experience it.
A friend of mine who works in a particularly aggressive corner of the corporate world has been struggling with depression for several months. The hardest part, my friend says, is not letting on to co-workers, who will inevitably see the condition as a weakness. I imagine it's much the same, maybe even worse, in politics. Putting on a happy face, after all, is part of the job.
Fortunately, depression is curable with the careful use of certain drugs, and as my psychologist-in-training wife will tell you, talking therapy. Doug Duncan said yesterday that it is time for him to focus on his own path to recovery. We should all wish him luck, and thank him for cracking open depression's closet door a bit further for everyone.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.