Pam Spaulding reports that Dan Choi has been hospitalized and has sought help from mental health practitioners at a Veterans Administration facility.
Choi wrote Pam an email, explaining:
I did not initially want to publicize this but I now realize it is critical for our community to know several things: veterans gay or straight carry human burdens, Activists share similar burdens, no activist should be portrayed as super human, and the failures of government and national lobbying carry consequences far beyond the careers and reputations of corporate leaders, elected officials, High powered lobbyists, or political elites. They ruin lives. My breakdown was a result of a cumulative array of stressors but there is no doubt that the composite betrayals felt on Thursday, by elected leaders and gay organizations as well as many who have exploited my name for their marketing purposes have added to the result. I am certain my experience is not an isolated incident within the gay veteran community.
At the same time, those who have been closest to me know that I truly appreciate their gracious help and mentorship. I am indebted to their hospitality and leadership.
Autumn Sandeen, a veteran herself who participated with Choi in several of the anti-DADT civil disobedience events, adds her thoughts:
What I do know is that Dan did the responsible thing, and decided to seek professional help through the Veterans Administration when he felt he needed help. He is no doubt resting and receiving the help of professionals that he needs. And, he chose to inform people publicly that he is hospitalized, and he is receiving treatment.
It's too easy to forget that Dan Choi is not just a brave and strong combat veteran, but he's a human being too. I know that from time I've spent with him before engaging in the White House direct actions he truly is brave and strong. He's lived through combat; he's taken upon himself a fight against Don't Ask, Don't Tell for what he hopes will be the benefit of the broad LGBT community. Those are some big stressors Dan has taken upon himself.
I've watched as politicians treat lesbian, gay, and bisexual veterans as if they are political footballs instead of qualified, honorable servicemembers who are prepared to die for their country. I'm sure Dan personally feels treated as less than fully human by many politicians in Washington. Dan's bravery and strength have limitations, and it now appears that he's ran into some of those limits.
Dan isn't alone. There are many, many servicemembers who have seen combat — enduring stresses most of us can't imagine — and yet are still valuable members of society. Dan has been, and still is, a valuable member of his veterans and LGBT communities. Hopefully, when Dan has engaged for awhile in the treatment he knows he needs, he'll again be productive — but hopefully while taking better care of his own needs in the process, and hopefully while better functioning within his own limitations.
I hope that Dan gets the help he needs. He has certainly been and continues to be an invaluable warrior and leader in the fight against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and a powerful voice for equality.
We wish him the best.