Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Was LBJ bipolar?

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
 
aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-13-07 06:40 PM
Original message
Was LBJ bipolar?
PBS Newshour is eulogizing Ladybird, but talking about LBJ's extreme mood swings, "when he got angry, he got too angry," and deep depressions ("melancholy") "only Ladybird" could pull him out of.

Has anyone ever heard this about LBJ?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Strawman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-13-07 06:45 PM
Response to Original message
1. I've read about his martyr complex and how thin-skinned he was
I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he suffered from some form of mental illness. I doubt he would have been clinically diagnosed with a specific mental illness though. Look at what happened to Eagleton. But he may have. I don't know.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Justitia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-13-07 06:53 PM
Response to Original message
2. No, not heard that. I think things affected him deeply and he was unguarded in response.
It scares the living hell out of me that absolutely NOTHING ever affects Bush.
The man bicycles, fishes and goes to bed at 9 pm - soundly asleep, the mark of a sociopath, IMHO.

Read this fantastic piece on LBJ & Ladybird published by Sidney Blumenthal in Salon today:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/blumenthal/2007/07/13/lady...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-13-07 06:59 PM
Response to Original message
3. He seems to have
had some significant symptoms, which at times were more serious than mood swings. It is worth reading Arthur Schlesinger Jr.'s wonderful book on RFK, in part to read about LBJ's delusional thinking. It concerned those closest to him, including guys like Bill Moyers. While I do not think anyone could give an accurate diagnosis from this distance, he was an intense figure.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-13-07 07:01 PM
Response to Original message
4. I have seen speculation on that point....
And it wouldn't surprise me if he were BP II.

See. e.g.

A recent Duke University study of our first 37 presidents found that one in four lived with a mood disorder. This includes John Adams (bipolar), James Madison (depression), John Quincy Adams (depression), Franklin Pierce (depression), Abraham Lincoln (depression), Rutherford B Hayes (depression), Theodore Roosevelt (bipolar), Woodrow Wilson (depression), Calvin Coolidge (depression), Herbert Hoover (depression), Dwight Eisenhower (depression), Lyndon Johnson (bipolar).

Both depression and bipolar can confer obvious advantages in the right people. With depression the rose-colored glasses come off and one can think realistically and not get talked into making bad decisions. Bipolar works well in the productivity, visionary, and charisma departments. Bill Clinton, I contend, was a unipolar hypomanic, not a full-blown bipolar but able to use the benefits of hypomania to his full advantage (but also, unfortunately, exercising extremely bad personal judgment).

But again, the 37 Presidents in the study all lived in an era when the media stayed out of their personal lives. Its a far different situation today. Sure, there may be less stigma than there was 10 or 20 years ago, but its much stronger than in Lincolns day. The way we treat the mentally ill is a national disgrace, there are too few legal protections and too much room for abuse, we devote a pittance to mental health research compared to other illnesses, and way too many of us are locked away in jails out of sight and out of mind.

http://www.healthcentral.com/depression/news-2874-143.h...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-14-07 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #4
13. Thank you! Exactly what I wanted to know.
Now I have to look up "hypomanic." I have never heard that word before.

(I just can't call a fifty-year-old man succumbing to a 20-something girl anything but irritating.)

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
durrrty libby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-13-07 07:01 PM
Response to Original message
5. Just because someone behaves badly, does not mean they
have some kind of illness, unless one considers assholiness a syndrome
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Alexander Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-13-07 07:19 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. Johnson went from giving people "The Treatment" to completely falling apart...
Surely you know about "The Treatment"?







And this is LBJ when he heard from his son-in-law Chuck Robb, who was in Vietnam.



It wouldn't surprise me.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-13-07 07:01 PM
Response to Original message
6. Sounds like my son's symptoms who is bi-polar
My son takes medication to help with the symptoms

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-13-07 07:07 PM
Response to Original message
7. I'd say for sure he was bi-polar. The way he dominated people
when he was on a high is unbelievable. You think Bush is strange? LBJ used to conduct business with people while in the bathroom doing his, err, "business". I'm talking about having the people in the bathroom with him, not standing outside talking through the door. It's always been brushed off as his method of exerting control, but it is just one example of some of the things he did. When he was on an even keel, he could be marvelous.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MichiganVote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-13-07 07:18 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Bathroom politics makes a person Bipolar? LBJ wielded power tis true.
Yet that hardly makes him Bipolar. He had a problem with alcohol and came from a very crude background.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-14-07 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #9
14. I mentioned that as only one example from a long life.
He was very domineering, which can be interpreted as a personality trait or a symptom. Overall, I think his grandiosity was more symptom than character trait, especially given his history of depressed states.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MichiganVote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-13-07 07:15 PM
Response to Original message
8. No. He was raised in a very poor household, many disadvantages, LBJ was not in tune internally,
but not Bipolar.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
BeatleBoot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-13-07 07:31 PM
Response to Original message
11. This Reminds Me of Bill Frist Diagnosing Terry Schaivo via Videotape
Edited on Fri Jul-13-07 07:32 PM by BeatleBoot
How in the heck can anyone know based on that?

Sometimes the only exercise people get is by jumping to conclusions.

Sheesh!



Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-14-07 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Making reasoned assumptions based on facts in evidence
is not "jumping to conclusions." It's what we ask juries to do.

The mini-documentary made some statements about extreme mood swings that I'd never heard before so I asked about them. Back then, NO ONE would have said bi-polar. But many people had the disease and went undiagnosed or treated or helped. They just lived with the extremes of misery until they passed, or they killed themselves, or became so disfunctional they were institutionalized. We try to be a little more helpful now.

We didn't know how ill Kennedy was while he was president, either. But we examine his administration with that knowledge now.

Or are you of the belief that a mental disorder is so shameful and disgraceful that it must be hidden even from the analysis of history?

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-14-07 06:29 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. Because of misunderstanding and shallow media coverage
Edited on Sat Jul-14-07 06:32 PM by depakid
people tend not to grasp that the most recent research looks at mood "disorders" in terms of a "spectrum," - which may or may not line up with the constellation of symptoms that we're led to expect both from the 17 year old diagnostic criteria in DSM IV and from stories we see where defense attorneys try to find a straw on which to mitigate away their client's behavior.

For instance, LBJ lifted his hound dogs up by the ears.



Did he do that because he was bipolar? Might look good as a defense to a cruelty charge, eh?

or was it because he was a Texan?

Curious. How might people view it?

My guess is that he was just LBJ -the individual, and that's the sort of thing he did every so often.

Back then, of course, bipolar (particularly in it's more extreme forms) was called "manic depression," and to label someone with that would at best have categorized them with Van Gogh or Lord Byron- Geniuses in their fields perhaps- unconventional, yet quite mad at times.

LBJ (or Hemmingway, for that matter) weren't so far off of the spectrum- yet they might have been labeled and destroyed as Muskie was.

Think about it....

btw: My own pet theory from having studied the field and read a lot of Cicero's writings is that he also showed all the signs- both good and ill.

Another thing we might note. Most recent estimates point to about a 5% to 6% prevalence of mood disorders- or at least what we might call "mood lability."

If that's true- and there are 300 million people in the United States- then... well, do the math.



Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-14-07 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #11
16. Since he's dead, there's no other way to do it.
And you know, as long as one admits one's speculating, not making policy or anything, why the heck not?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Sat Oct 25th 2014, 04:12 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC