DL Fowler's Blog

Lincoln’s Blackouts

Lincoln’s law partner, Herndon, described episodes when he’d find Lincoln sitting in a catatonic state from which he couldn’t be aroused. Often there’d be a book of poetry in his lap.

No one has any idea of what went on in Lincoln’s head during those episodes. He never talked about them.

One possibility is that were flashbacks of an earlier trauma that his body was defending himself against. That happens to people who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Lincoln suffered several traumatic moments early on. At 7 he almost drowned, at 9 he suffered a life-threatening head injury, and months later helped bury his mother, at 10 his father left him and his sister to weather a brutal winter unattended and on the brink of starvation, as a teenager his father beat him often and when he was just past 20 his first love died. Lincoln’s emotional responses to these and other events are explored in Lincoln Raw-a biographical novel.

Maybe his psyche just went into overload from processing flashbacks of too many traumas at once.

Would we let someone with that much emotional baggage be President today?

One Response

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  1. Annmarie said, on September 14, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    Dare I say it?
    I think it could be possible that United States citizens woke up just in time to keep a president with the “potential” of extreme emotional baggage from being elected when they voted against John McCain.
    This may say more about the stigma associated with PTSD than McCain’s actual ability to lead our country…or not. Check out more about PTSD stigma here: http://tinyurl.com/24z42mq
    I think you may be right about Lincoln! Can’t wait to find out more about him!


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