I started the day in total innocence, not a bad thought in sight. As usual I read blogs, Facebook, and Twitter first thing. All was well until I got to Twitter where I came across a message from our soon to be president saying "Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don't know what to do. Love!"
I immediately Googled to see how many of our presidents have suffered mental illness. According to an article in Psychology Today, that would be half our presidents.
Some 24% met the diagnostic criteria for depression, including James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Franklin Pierce, Abraham Lincoln, and Calvin Coolidge.
Anxiety disorders ( social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder) came in at 8%, including Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, Coolidge, and Woodrow Wilson.
Bipolar disorder was also 8%, including Lyndon Johnson and Theodore Roosevelt.
Another 8% exhibited evidence of alcohol abuse or dependence. Pierce died of cirrhosis of the liver; Grant was once allegedly so drunk he fell off his horse during a military parade in New Orleans; and Nixon was once unable to take a rather important phone call from the British Prime Minister because he was "loaded."
"Numerous other presidents had physical conditions that can have a severe impact on psychological functioning. Taft, for example, had sleep apnea, which is associated with declines in cognitive functioning across the board, and most famously, some scholars now believe that Ronald Reagan showed early signs of Alzheimer's while still in office."
Somewhere in this list I think we could include JFK who suffered from Addison's disease as well as a severe back injury that necessitated a lot of drugs.
While we ask candidates for the presidency to disclose their medical histories we have no mechanism to evaluate their past and present mental health. Should we?
I had these socks on the needles for months but did get enough knitting mojo going to finish them while daughter was here knitting.