Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was last seen on Capitol Hill in late May
He got treatment at the Mayo Clinic for bipolar depression
Asked whether Jackson will be back at work Monday, a top aide says, "We hope"
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has checked out of the Mayo Clinic, where he was being treated for bipolar depression, and is now back in Washington with his family, his chief of staff said Friday.
The 47-year-old Jackson had not been on Capitol Hill since late May.
His office said in early June that he was suffering from a “medical condition,” and – after two other updates – last month the Mayo Clinic released a statement indicating that Jackson was being treated for bipolar depression.
Rick Bryant, the chief of staff in Jackson’s congressional office, said the Illinois Democrat left the prestigious Minnesota medical facility and is back in the nation’s capital.
Asked whether Jackson will return to work when Congress returns from recess on Monday, Bryant said, “We hope.”
The congressman’s father – the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a well-known civil rights leader – told The Huffington Post last month that when he visited his son in Washington in June, he learned the junior Jackson hadn’t slept for three days.
What the family thought was exhaustion, the elder Jackson said, was “something much deeper, much broader, and it lasted longer.”
The congressman’s wife, Sandi, told the Chicago Sun-Times in August that her husband had his “good days and bad days,” with doctors at the Mayo Clinic increasing his depression medication to “therapeutic levels.” She firmly denied that her husband attempted suicide or was getting help for alcohol and drug addiction.
Jackson’s illness comes as the House Ethics Committee is examining allegations that, in 2008, he or one of his associates offered to raise money for then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in exchange for Jackson being appointed to the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama after he was elected president.
The congressman has maintained his innocence and pledged to continue to cooperate with authorities.
As for Blagojevich, he was convicted last year on corruption charges in connection with efforts to profit from appointing the successor to the Senate seat.
A day after visiting Jackson at the Mayo Clinic last month, longtime friend and former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy said he suspected that “stress in (Jackson’s) life, particularly because he’s under investigation,” may have set off his depression.
Kennedy struggled with addiction and bipolar disorder and is a mental health advocate.
“Many of us have genetic predisposition to cancer, heart disease or, in this case, mental illness, but they often get triggered by environmental factors,” said Kennedy, the son of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. “In mental illness, stress is an environmental factor and clearly, I think, has been a factor in his succumbing to this outbreak of his bipolar disorder.”
Bipolar disorder is a treatable condition that affects parts of the brain controlling emotion, thought and drive, the Mayo Clinic says. Many Americans suffer from it, and it is most likely caused by a complex set of genetic and environmental factors, it says.
Medical experts are still weighing whether gastric bypass surgery that Jackson underwent in 2004 for weight loss might have helped trigger his depression, his wife said. The Mayo Clinic said that type of surgery is increasingly common in the United States and can change how the body absorbs food, vitamins, nutrients and medications.