Former Oslo mayor fights off depression

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Fabian Stang was one of Oslo’s most high-profile and popular mayors ever. When his Conservative Party lost city government power last fall, however, Stang sunk into a deep depression that he now openly admits was a big defeat as well.

Fabian Stang was a popular Oslo mayor for eight years and kept a high profile, like here when he marched in the EuroPride parade in 2014. He has been open, however, about suffering from depression and returned to work on the City Council after nine months on sick leave. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Fabian Stang was a popular Oslo mayor for eight years and kept a high profile, like here when he marched in the EuroPride parade in 2014. He has been open, however, about suffering from depression and returned to work on the City Council after nine months on sick leave. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

“I suffered a huge blow and have really been in bad shape,” Stang told newspaper Aftenposten when he attended his first Oslo City Council meeting in nine months on Wednesday. He’s otherwise been out on sick leave.

Stang, who first told state broadcaster NRK about his bouts with depression last summer, said he has mostly spent the past several months at home. “I think my illness was a reaction to working so hard as mayor, during large portions of the day,” Stang told Aftenposten’s Osloby newspaper section. “When I suddenly had more free time, I got this reaction. I had, for example, no strength to do anything, lost motivation, desire and joy. I simply had no desire to work.”

During his eight years as Oslo’s mayor, Stang hardly ever missed a City Council meeting. After the Conservatives-led city government that he was part of lost last autumn’s election, he also lost the mayor’s office to Marianne Borgen of the Socialist Party (SV). He immediately took on a new job as a full-time city politician and leader of the health and social welfare committee for the City Council.

He worked at that for a few months before the depression took over. Now he’s back and was leading a debate Wednesday on how the new government is handling nursing home oeprations. Stang, age 61, is also a lawyer and said he is still on 50-percent sick leave, but will be back full time from October 1.

newsinenglish.no staff