Lincoln is a good example of the power that depression can wield. It is my opinion that Abraham Lincoln would not be an American hero without his depression. This was his motivation. He, like many artists, sought out knowledge to fill his empty heart. There is a saying my poetry teacher once taught me, “Keeping your mind high on knowledge will stop your heart from sinking.” With all my heart I believe this to be true. Lincoln is not the only great statesman to battle with mental illness. Winston Churchill also suffered from depression that caused him to drink excessively. What would happen if he was medicated?
I want to iterate that I am not condemning medication for depression. I think depression medications help people to enjoy a better quality of life and in my opinion, it is not always bad. Sometimes depression can lead people to do great things. To everyone who feels lamentation and drowns themselves in sorrow, ask yourself: "Is my depression worsening the type of person I am or bettering it? Am I happy with that?"
The truth is we will never know what type of person Lincoln would be if he was medicated for his melancholy. A lot of his true personality is up for debate. Despite Mr. Shenk’s insightful perspective, I believe the poet Carl Sandburg described Lincoln best in his poem “The People, Yes,”
He was a mystery in smoke and flags
Saying yes to the smoke, yes to the flags,
Yes to the paradoxes of democracy,
Yes to the hopes of government
Of the people by the people for the people,
No to debauchery of the public mind,
No to personal malice nursed and fed,
Yes to the Constitution when a help,
No to the Constitution when a hindrance
Yes to man as a struggler amid illusions,
Each man fated to answer for himself:
Which of the faiths and illusions of mankind
Must I choose for my own sustaining light
To bring me beyond the present wilderness?
Lincoln? Was he a poet?
And did he write verses?
“I have not willingly planted a thorn
in any man’s bosom.”
I shall do nothing through malice: what
I deal with is too vast for malice.”
Death was in the air.
So was birth.