Dan Choi Collapses

A message from his iPhone to Rex Wockner and Pam Spaulding:

I wanted you to know because you are important to me and I think you can explain my situation best to those in our community who may be still interested. I was involuntarily committed to the Brockton MA Veterans Hospital Physchiatric Ward on Friday Morning after experiencing a breakdown and anxiety attack. ...

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.

I feel for Dan because the intensity of his struggle and his passion for justice was clearly burning him alive. I recognize this syndrome, having dealt with it to a lesser degree most of my time in the gay activist world. The work is emotionally draining at every level - because your life and soul are on the line - and only when you put your life and soul on the line do you convince others of the rightness of your cause. And that is why you have to learn to step away at times, to retain balance, to seek nurture and support - or the individual bit in the collective drill is worn down to nothing but a spiritual nub.

Stay strong, my friend and hero. You've seen the mountaintop - and the view will be better soon.