Gratitude for Mental Illness

February 24, 2010

(click on the picture to read an article by Lincoln historian, T.K. Marion, about battling depression)

I am watching a documentary about Abraham Lincoln and I am finding it to be very inspirational. It talks a lot about how he lived with depression and severe anxiety. Lincoln was perhaps our greatest president and he lived with mental illness. Anxiety and depression gave him empathy and compassion for other people. His wife also was mentally instable and while they did not have a storybook marriage, dealing with her made him grow as a person of compassion. In fact, one of the last things he did was pardon a boy who was sentenced to death, because the crime the boy committed clearly indicated that the boy suffered from mental illness. This news strengthens me-not that I expect to become as great a person as he did, but just the fact that severe mental illness does not have to destroy a person, but instead be a gift is great to me. Perhaps I can be thankful for my mental illness-it has made me who I am and who I am is a person who is growing in compassion thanks to mental illness.

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