DALLAS – Texas Land Commissioner and fellow Republican Jerry Patterson released a second batch of documents Friday night which show Senator Dan Patrick suffered from major depression and even attempted suicide in 1986.
The additional revelations come 11 days before the Republican runoff election in which Patrick leads the incumbent, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst.
"I don't think I'm going to be too popular with a lot of folks after this campaign is over,” Patrick said in an interview with KTRH-AM. "But I don't care."
Less than 24 hours earlier, Patterson unearthed court records from the 1980s in which Patrick admitted taking antidepressants and getting treatment at a psychiatric hospital in Houston. Patrick's campaign called it a “low blow,” but characterized his condition almost 30 years ago as "mild depression" and "exhaustion."
Patterson’s second batch of documents revealed that Patrick's condition was much more serious.
In 1982, when Patrick was a TV sportscaster in Houston, he checked himself into the hospital one day after work where doctors diagnosed him with “extreme exhaustion” and “acute anxiety.”
Four years later, at age 36, medical records show Patrick attempted suicide.
“He took an overdose of Imipramine (an antidepressant he was prescribed) and attempted to slash his right wrist…,” a medical report read.
Within days, Patrick ended up at Spring Shadows Glen Psychiatric Hospital in Houston where doctors diagnosed him with “major depression” and noted he had “suicidal thoughts.”
"Answer the question,” Patterson said on the radio. “Are you fit for the office of lieutenant governor?"
The 1982 and 1986 medical records were only made public in a trial after Patrick sued a former Houston newspaper reporter, Paul Harasim.
Sen. Patrick blasted back Friday evening.
“Dewhurst believes my medical issues with depression, nearly 30 years ago, are a problem. He’s mistaken. The problem is when a politician who is sliding in the polls thinks he can use his opponents’ health records to get ahead,” he wrote. “It simply won’t work."
But Patrick never addressed the attempted suicide.
“As I have said, I voluntarily entered the hospital twice in the 1980s for exhaustion and to seek treatment for depression. Some of prescribed medications exacerbated my condition and created more serious problems. Through prayer and with the help of my family and physician, like millions of other Americans, I was able to defeat depression. I have not seen a doctor or taken any medication to treat depression in nearly 30 years,” he continued.
The senator added that a recent medical report showed him in excellent mental and physical condition.
Lt. Gov. Dewhurst distanced himself from Patterson Friday night.
"Commissioner Jerry Patterson operates completely independently of my campaign, and over my objections he chose to release information from Mr. Paul Harasim's files, which are all part of the public domain. My heart goes out to Dan Patrick and his family for what they've endured while coping with this situation," Dewhurst said in an emailed statement.
"The bottom line is I have not read or reviewed any of Mr. Harasim’s files from his lawsuit with Dan Patrick. Neither the Campaign or I have any control whatsoever over Mr. Harasim's files," Dewhurst continued.
But in a cryptic e-mail accidentally sent to reporters this evening, Patterson suggested the lieutenant governor was involved.
“If you can only get one thing out, get the docs showing the suicide attempts. David has a great idea, but we could've only done it if we had this stuff a week ago. Don't let Daivids [sic] indecision snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Patrick is playing the victim well. He says it was a minor bout of depression and he went in for a few days of rest. This will blow his story away,” Patterson’s e-mail read.
Reporters statewide received it, though it’s uncertain to whom it was originally intended.