Mr. Cloudy's Shelter
A Place to Listen and be Heard

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Abraham Lincoln, depression and the Atlantic Monthly

Ok. This is a bit of trip down a darker path, so be forewarned if you choose to read on.

Very interesting article this month in the Atlantic Monthly on Lincoln's depression and how he wrestled with throughout his life. It even suggests that his depression may have led to certain strengths that enabled him to lead the country through the civil war (there is a forthcoming book by the author).

I've struggled with depression and anxiety since childhood with a variance from major depression to, on the good days, mild, chronic depression (dysthymia). And it's fairly apparent to anyone who knows me. Thus my moniker: Mr. Cloudy.

I've read a few articles about evolutionary advantages to society of having a few depressive types around, always seeing the potential dark side. But I certainly have never felt it was advantageous to me or anyone else. It mostly just feels like a weight that I can't let go of, despite other people's best efforts to help. So, I've come to a point where I don't expect to get to the other side of it, as if it is a crisis out of which I'll grow stronger, happier etc. I think it will be here until the end. And, on the whole, I'm happier viewing it as a lifelong companion that I learn to work with, rather than as a foe I try to conquer.

But then there are times when medical help is necessary, so I try to just keep looking at it honestly. I took some courage from the article on Lincoln because of the ways he found to keep seeking to make a contribution to life despite the way he felt.

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