A lot of bad things happened to Mary Todd Lincoln. She lost two young children, and she was sitting next to President Lincoln when he was killed.
All of that led to years of depression, but now a doctor thinks there was a physical cause for her mental problems.
The wife of our 16th president has not been treated well by history. She was known to be a wild and unpredictable person, and in the end, her son had her locked up.
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In 2012, Sally Field played Mary Todd, who was a tough and sharp-tongued first lady. She said in one scene –
“You think I’m ignorant of what you’re up to because you haven’t discussed this scheme with me as you ought to have done.”
“When have I ever been so easily bamboozled?”
But Dr. John Sotos, a doctor and medical historian says that not only was the famously fiery first lady misunderstood but she was also given the wrong diagnosis.
Sotos comes up with a new idea about Mary Todd Lincoln: she was acting strangely because she had pernicious anemia. Sotos said –
“Pernicious anaemia is an autoimmune disease that starts in the stomach and that impairs the body’s ability to absorb food efficiently.”
“And as a result, the person becomes B12 deficient eventually, and that causes lots of problems in every organ of the body.”
It was a fatal disease until a cure was found many years after she died. The disease can cause a lot of the things that Mary Todd Lincoln had, like a sore mouth, pale skin, trouble walking, and mental health problems.
It can also make the skin swell. Sotos said –
“The puffiness is not in a way that would occur with just an accumulation of fat.”
Today, a simple blood test can find the disease and B12 supplements make it easy to treat. Sotos said –
“She had a sick brain and was doing the best that she could in a very complicated, relentlessly demanding environment.”
“And I think to have done as well as she did with the kind of handicaps that she had, I think that deserves admiration.”
This concludes our coverage of the mental health of Mary Todd Lincoln. You can follow our Twitter account to get notified when we add new articles like this one.