Tonight is the President’s State of the Union address. In honor of this important American tradition, I tried to come up with something linking psychology with the American Presidency. Perhaps not surprisingly, I actually found something!
Did you know that Abraham Lincoln wrote eloquently about depression (melancholy)? I think it’s pretty common knowledge that President Lincoln was known for his “gloomy” temperament. But it’s probably less well-known that he wrote poetic and touching letters to grieving citizens and friends at various times during his life.
Here’s a great page about Lincoln and his depression from a website devoted to Abraham Lincoln research. Called the Abraham Lincoln Research Site, it was created by an ex-history teacher named Roger J. Norton for “students, teachers, schools, and anyone interested in…Lincoln.”
The page on depression is a pretty quick read and engaging from start to finish. So I definitely recommend just reading that. But here are a few quotes, written by Lincoln, that stood out to me:
“Remember in the depth and even the agony of despondency, that very shortly you are to feel well again.”“A tendency to melancholy…let it be observed, is a misfortune, not a fault.”“You can not now realize that you will ever feel better…and yet it is a mistake. You are sure to be happy again…I have had experience enough to know what I say; and you need only to believe it, to feel better at once.”
Book links for further reading: