Carol Marin Reports: Gayle Franzen

A News 2 Chicago special report presented by Carol Marin on former politician Gayle Franzen's sudden departure from public life due to clinical depression, as well as a short segment on men and mental illness presented by Michael Breen, M.D.

00:06Copy video clip URL Camera fades into News 2 Chicago Anchors Lester Holt and Katherine Bliss, who introduce Carol Marin’s special report on former politician Gayle Franzen’s sudden departure from public life due to clinical depression.

00:52Copy video clip URL Marin interviews Franzen about his battle with a sudden onset of depression following an election win. Franzen discusses the physically debilitating symptoms of the disease, as well as the suddenness by which it both came and went. 

02:06Copy video clip URL Marin describes Franzen’s rapid success as “an unapologetic political insider” who gained a reputation for being a “tough guy” as the governor’s “hatchet man” in various positions as well as making millions as an early investor in riverboat gambling. Intercut with photos of Franzen with other politicians and footage of Illinois prisons, tolls, and RTA. 

02:56Copy video clip URL Franzen describes having doubted his “bug” was depression as it dissipated quickly. Marin describes the quick return of his depression, which Franzen discusses in relation to the lack of memory and emotion he experienced with his son’s wedding, as well as the extreme secrecy he kept, telling no one but his wife about it. Intercut with wedding photos. Franzen says it was “the biggest mistake” of his life to keep his illness a secret, as it was hurting his wife who had to “bear all this herself” and that he would “regret it ’till the day I die.”  

04:06Copy video clip URL Marin asks Franzen about his ability to govern. Franzen describes an unhealthy relationship with political work: “I was so sick that the only thing I could care about was…whatever I had to fight that day, get the fight over, go home, go to bed.” 

04:19Copy video clip URL Marin describes how Franzen’s “political ego took over his advancing illness” as he decided to run for Illinois Secretary of State. Franzen talks about a campaign event where he didn’t remember anything he said onstage. Franzen tells the story of the car ride home from the event, when he told his wife he “just made a horrible mistake,” to which she replied: “I was wondering when you were gonna come to that decision.”

05:20Copy video clip URL Marin describes Franzen’s resignation and disappearance from political view after deciding to do something about his depression. Marin says Franzen “deeply regrets” not telling anyone about his illness. Franzen says: “when I faced the toughest fight of my life […] I chickened out, and I stayed private.” 

06:05Copy video clip URL Back at the news desk, Marin describes Franzen’s reasons for coming forward now, including to inform those in Franzen’s life who may have felt betrayed by the sudden departure, and how he “hopes breaking his silence will help others break theirs.” 

06:34Copy video clip URL Marin and Holt discuss the implications of Franzen’s departure on those who worked for his campaign. 

07:00Copy video clip URL Cut to black. 

07:14Copy video clip URL Camera fades into Holt and Bliss, who introduce a continuation of Marin’s story on Franzen. 

07:51Copy video clip URL Franzen says: “only weak people get depression, and I’m certainly not a weak person…and that’s where my head was at.” 

08:17Copy video clip URL Footage of Second Lady of The United States Tipper Gore walking through The White House grounds. Gore says “we must talk about mental illness.” Marin describes Gore’s public policy efforts to “dispel the stigma, shame, and secrecy of mental illness.” 

08:35Copy video clip URL Campaign footage of Franzen. Marin describes how Franzen spent as much time as he possibly could in bed over the past five years. 

08:55Copy video clip URL Franzen describes the difficulty of calling his illness “depression,” that he struggled with the idea that it could be “controlled” and that he just needed to “buck up.” 

09:20Copy video clip URL Still image of Franzen’s father on a tractor. Franzen describes his parents reactions to him sharing his illness with them, as they realized Franzen’s father had been suffering from depression for years. Marin says Franzen’s father has been in and out of the hospital for the last year, and is “still very sick.” Franzen says: “had I been honest with my family […] my father, I feel, would have gotten help sooner than he’s been able to get it.” 

10:29Copy video clip URL Footage of Franzen in office. Marin describes Franzen’s past efforts to “slash county budgets” in a tangle with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Franzen says he has since apologized to the Alliance, telling them he suffers from depression and wishes he had been “more human” at the time. 

10:56Copy video clip URL Marin asks Franzen why he chose to go public now. Franzen says it is because of what he didn’t do for his father or for his community, and that he hopes he will do a lot more for people than he has in the past. 

11:17Copy video clip URL Back at the news desk, Marin says Franzen has left the public and private sector to focus on his recovery and set up a foundation with his wife. 

11:32Copy video clip URL Holt introduces Dr. Michael Breen’s story about the lack of public dialogue surrounding men suffering from depression. 

11:46Copy video clip URL Footage of Edmund Muskie at a campaign rally and Mike Wallace at a press conference. Breen says “society says real men don’t cry,” and that most men “don’t think depression is an illness.” 

12:12Copy video clip URL John M. Zajecka, M.D. says: “depression still takes on this connotation as though it’s a weakness of character, it’s a vulnerability, it means you can’t deal with the things ‘a man’ should deal with in our society. “

12:22Copy video clip URL Footage of Breen walking down a crowded pedestrian sidewalk. Breen says “men think you should be able to will away a depression, but you can’t do that anymore than you can will away a heart attack.” 

12:34Copy video clip URL Graphic listing “Depression Symptoms.”

12:45Copy video clip URL Breen says many men with symptoms won’t admit they’re depressed. Zajecka says most men will only ask for help for their depression symptoms and not admit they have the illness itself. 

12:57Copy video clip URL Footage of pills falling out of a pill bottle. Breen says there is evidence that anti-depressants like Prozac are more effective on men than women, and that male attitudes towards depression are changing. 

13:36Copy video clip URL Holt says both men and women suffer from depression. A graphic displays a hotline for people to call if they think they have symptoms. 

13:52Copy video clip URL Cut to black.

13:56Copy video clip URL Tape ends. 




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