Lt. Dan Choi, an openly gay Army veteran who has been an outspoken critic of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, confirmed Wednesday that he has been hospitalized after suffering a "nervous breakdown."
Choi indicated he was distressed by the failure by Congress to repeal the 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops in the military.
The Senate last week blocked a military spending bill that would have repealed "don't ask, don't tell." The House on Wednesday passed a stand-alone bill that would overturn the policy.
"Anxiety attack and nervous breakdown after senate dadt ndaa vote. Overall stressors were many: family, homelessness, discharge and activist rollercoaster," Choi said in an e-mail message sent to msnbc.com from his iPhone.
He said he was "highly medicated/sedated" and being treated at the VA Medical Center in Brockton, Mass. "Here for the time being," he wrote.
On Tuesday, Choi said in an e-mail to Pam Spaulding and Rex Wockner, two colleagues who blog about gay and lesbian issues, that he was "involuntarily committed" to the hospital's psychiatric ward Friday morning after experiencing "a breakdown and anxiety attack."
On her blog, Pam's House Blend, Spaulding shared the contents of Choi's e-mail.
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"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," Choi wrote in the e-mail to Spaulding.
"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."
Spaulding said that Choi "clearly wanted to share what he could have left private, or had to deal with had information about this leaked out."
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"But this is another gift to the community — to open up a multi-faceted discussion: 1) the mental health toll taken by gay and lesbian service members; 2) the stressors that arise when also thrown into the public eye as a matter of fate or circumstance, not as a job," Spaulding wrote on her blog.
In an e-mail Tuesday to the Village Voice, Derek Washington of the Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada said the battle to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" was "weighing far too heavily" on Choi's mind and spirit.
"It's a role he took on as much by circumstance as choice, and he's served honorably, but he is only human and needs to take care of himself in order to help others," Washington wrote. "Dan called me today to let me know that it had all gotten a little too much for him lately. After last week's DADT vote, Dan, for lack of a better term, 'lost it' and decided to seek professional help through the Veterans Administration."
Choi was discharged in July after he appeared on msnbc TV's "The Rachel Maddow Show" on March 19, 2009, and announced he is gay.
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