Is Dan Patrick Unfit to Be Lieutenant Governor?
In Texas, the office of lieutenant governor is one worth fighting over. A GOP runoff for the job has gotten nasty by any standard with incumbent David Dewhurst, who has occupied the office since 2003, against state Sen. Dan Patrick, who has bushier eyebrows and way more hair than Dewhurst. Unfortunately, he also has a medical history that Land Commissioner and apparent Dewhust supporter Jerry Patterson deemed of public interest. Dan Patrick had two stays in a psychiatric hospital in 1982 and 1986 due to bouts of severe depression according to the records. While the two campaigns hurl the mud back and forth and it remains to be seen if releasing this information — Patterson claims it has been part of the public records for 25 years — will help or hurt Dewhurst or Patrick, there is an underlying issue here as well. Does having suffered depression, presumably clinically diagnosed depression, make one unfit for certain jobs and responsibilities?
Posted by AllardK at May 22, 2014 8:14 PM
The American Psychological Association states that "although a past history of depression increases the risks of future episodes, there is evidence that ongoing psychotherapy may lessen the chances of recurrence." Medication is of course recommended in severe cases but there appears to be nothing like social interacting in a productive way to cure your inability to ... socially interact in a productive way. According to the APA, this "may include developing or strengthening social networks, creating new ways to cope with challenges and crafting a personal self-care plan that includes positive lifestyle changes." Dan Patrick is a state Senator. In Texas. Whatever long and sometimes lonely road he took to walk out of that hospital and eventually into the state legislature, he seems to have followed the APA's advice rather successfully. Is anyone unfit to be lieutenant governor and perhaps Governor because of past bouts of depression? Would the same be said of someone who has battled and won against cancer? Abraham Lincoln suffered greatly from depression and considered suicide in his late 20's and early 30's. Winston Churchill suffered as well. They cured themselves, in large part, through action and a sense of purpose. Sigmund Freud apparently suffered as well, although he took the route of self-medication. His drug of choice? Cocaine. The father of psychiatry might not be our best example in this case. Depression is real. Severe Depression is all too real in some. But perhaps those suffering it need a sense of purpose more than anything else and a little less medication. The best remedy for removing the stigma of depression might be accepting it and overcoming it. So if Dan Patrick loses the runoff in Texas, let's hope it's not because of his medical past.