"Whatever greatness Lincoln achieved cannot be explained as a triumph over personal suffering. Rather, it must be accounted an outgrowth of the same system that produced that suffering. This is a story not of transformation but of integration. Lincoln didn't do great work because he solved the problem of his melancholy; the problem of his melancholy was all the more fuel for the fire of his great work." ~Joshua Wolf Shank
To read more of Abraham Lincoln's story of depression, click HERE.
"Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced. . . . It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it’s a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different.” ~J.K. Rowling
"For Rowling rock bottom wasn’t the end; it opened up new possibilities and eventually led to her success." ~Justin Bennett
"Defy and deny: great men cannot be ill, certainly not mentally ill. But what if they are not only ill; what if they are great, not in spite of manic-depression but because of it?" ~William Manchester
"First and foremost, for George Albert the turning point in his ability to deal with his particular limitations came from accepting in submissive prayer whatever outcome resulted. Second, although his personality seemed overanxious and even guilt-ridden, leading to debilitating depression, after 1911 those tendencies never again controlled his life. Third, although he resigned himself to death, if that was God’s will, he concluded from the fact that his life was prolonged that it had a purpose. This attitude sustained him during repeated episodes of weakness. And fourth, he learned to seek respites from the stresses of his duties. By occasionally “dumping his responsibility,” George Albert Smith had “cheated the asylum of a victim,” and continued to make his contributions, including service as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Despite his lack of physical health, he developed traits that made him, in many ways, a model for emotional and spiritual health. ~Mary Jane Woodger
To read more of George Albert Smith's story of depression, click HERE (it starts on page 113).
"Beethoven is considered to be one of the greatest composers of all time. During most of his life he had many medical and psychological problems. Because of the strength of his personality and knowledge of the power of his message, he was able to rise above these ailments. As he himself on occasion admitted, composing for him was therapeutic. His deafness forced him to withdraw from teaching, performing and conducting, hence all his energies were focused on composition. His passionate nature is reflected in the passions of his music. We are all the beneficiaries." ~François Mai
In researching the lives and stories of these famous people, I learned many things:
- Depression is real and no one is exempt from it.
- We are not limited by our weaknesses, whatever they are.
- Great people do great things when they allow their struggles to shape them.
- Depression is a gift that brings compassion and understanding for others.
- Those who struggle with depression and mental illness are not alone.