Could is Nationwide Psychological Well being Consciousness Month, a time to keep in mind that hundreds of thousands of Individuals, sooner or later of their lives, expertise psychological well being challenges. Our best president was no totally different.

Lincoln was well-known for his “melancholy” nature, marked by spells of deep unhappiness and gloom. “His melancholy dripped from him as he walked,” his legislation associate William Herndon noticed. “No ingredient of Mr. Lincoln’s character was so marked, apparent and ingrained as his mysterious and profound melancholy,” one other fellow legal professional wrote.

Vintage engraving of Abraham Lincoln, after a photograph made in early 1865. Stains and age spots are authentic and add to the character of the portrait. Published in an 1872 book, the image is now in the public domain. Digital restoration by Steven Wynn Photography.

Classic engraving of Abraham Lincoln, after {a photograph} made in early 1865. Stains and age spots are genuine and add to the character of the portrait. Revealed in an 1872 e book, the picture is now within the public area. Digital restoration by Steven Wynn Pictures.

It’s not possible to know the precise supply of Lincoln’s melancholy, however certainly the loss he skilled had a lot to do with it. His mom died whereas he was a boy, and his sister died in childbirth alongside together with her child. When he was a younger man, his sweetheart, Ann Rutledge, died instantly of a fever.


Lincoln misplaced two sons, Eddie in Springfield, Illinois, after which Willie within the White Home. The Civil Battle price the Lincolns shut family and friends members. The horrific casualty experiences from the entrance preyed on Lincoln’s thoughts.

Twice in life, when he was a younger man, he appears to have spiraled uncontrolled in despair. In 1835, when Ann Rutledge died, he spoke of committing suicide and wandered the Illinois countryside, mindless with grief, till associates nursed him again to well being. In 1841, after breaking off an engagement to Mary Todd, his future spouse, he grew so despondent, associates made positive to maintain razors and knives away from him.

Efficient medical therapies for such situations had been virtually nonexistent. Medical doctors typically resorted to remedies like drawing blood, inducing diarrhea and vomiting, and prescribing quinine.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

However Lincoln was nothing if not perseverant, and as I depict in my novel, “Outdated Abe,” he was in a position to deliver his melancholy beneath management with an arsenal of strategies.

Fellowship helped. Lincoln counteracted his solitary, brooding facet by intentionally placing himself in touch with others, whether or not by taking pictures the breeze round a potbelly range in a normal retailer or urgent the flesh with voters. He knew that the human contact is drugs for the thoughts and soul.


He used laughter to drive away “the blues.” Lincoln was a well-known joke teller. He typically began a gathering by studying from a joke e book or humorous sketch in a newspaper. “With the fearful pressure that’s upon me night time and day, if I didn’t snigger I ought to die, and also you want this drugs as a lot as I do,” he advised his cupboard.

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A person of nice compassion, he discovered solace in serving to others. He jumped on the probability to pardon younger troopers sentenced to be shot for going residence with out go away or operating away in battle. “It makes me rested, after a day’s exhausting work, if I can discover some good excuse for saving a person’s life,” he stated.

Work introduced reduction. It gave him one thing to throw his feelings into. Lincoln was an excellent believer in work.

“Work, work, work is the principle factor,” he as soon as suggested. Regardless of the battle’s horrors, the presidency gave Lincoln the possibility to carry his sights and work for a trigger a lot better than himself.


Lincoln drew on his religion. The exact nature of his religion has been debated over time. He liked studying the Bible and went to church fairly a bit, however he was by no means baptized and by no means formally joined a church.

Regardless, his religion deepened throughout his White Home years. It turned a refuge in addition to a supply of energy and knowledge. “I’ve been pushed many occasions upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go,” he advised a pal.

All these methods allowed Lincoln to deal with his melancholy facet, and in coping he cast a lifetime of extraordinary achievement.

Some psychological situations are, in fact, rather more critical than Lincoln’s melancholy and require a lot totally different sorts of care. Fortunately, remedies have come a great distance from the times of bloodletting and mustard rubs.

But for all of us, particularly when the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns have affected the psychological well-being of so many Individuals, Lincoln’s story affords inspiration. His journey reminds us of the resilience of the human spirit in addition to the respect we owe those that, like Lincoln, face psychological well being challenges.


John Cribb is the writer of the historic novel “Outdated Abe,” printed by Republic E book Publishers.