"the hypo"

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

donna

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
May 12, 2010
Messages
30,751
Location
Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
"the hypo" President Abraham Lincoln's name for the bouts of depression that he suffured throughout his life. It was short for "hypochondria".

From The Language of the Civil War by John D. Wright p. 153
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

unicornforge

First Sergeant
Joined
Feb 14, 2007
Messages
1,543
Location
Near Gettysburg, PA
Thank you for the clarification. I used to have a dictionary of pre-Freudian terms but sadly I don't even have the title of that book. Thank you again.
 

James B White

Captain
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Messages
6,169
Thank you for the clarification. I used to have a dictionary of pre-Freudian terms but sadly I don't even have the title of that book. Thank you again.
There are hundreds of period medical books online at Google books. It's a really useful resource, if you go to advanced search and limit it by date to pre-1865 or whatever year.
 

FourLeafClover

First Sergeant
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
1,173
Location
London
We are certainly better informed today, regarding mental illness. Yet, still, we fail to always recognise it within our communities. Back in the 1860's, who would have heard of "stress"? Or would shell shock, or post traumatic stress disorder even have earned any sympathy from a medical practitioner.
"Hypo", seems to me to be a rather eloquent description of a rather more complicated problem. As a self diagnosis, it is one of many pseudonyms by which stress related depression might be called. Churchill I know felt the onset of such episodes and was known to announce "the black dog is approaching". Those closest to him knew how to treat him during the periods of such episodes.
It also raises the question of how many participants in the war, may have been operating under less than perfect mental health?
Those questionable decisions, or odd behaviours out of character. Bearing in mind, keeping your own counsel was the way of the times. Real men didn't cry! If ever there were an event to bring tears to an eye, the civil war is littered with many instances.
After many years in the field, I cannot imagine that many emerged unscathed, physically or mentally.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

James B White

Captain
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Messages
6,169
We are certainly better informed today, regarding mental illness. Yet, still, we fail to always recognise it within our communities. Back in the 1860's, who would have heard of "stress"? Or would shell shock, or post traumatic stress disorder even have earned any sympathy from a medical practitioner.
"Hypo", seems to me to be a rather eloquent description of a rather more complicated problem. As a self diagnosis, it is one of many pseudonyms by which stress related depression might be called. Churchill I know felt the onset of such episodes and was known to announce "the black dog is approaching". Those closest to him knew how to treat him during the periods of such episodes.
It also raises the question of how many participants in the war, may have been operating under less than perfect mental health?
Those questionable decisions, or odd behaviours out of character. Bearing in mind, keeping your own counsel was the way of the times. Real men didn't cry! If ever there were an event to bring tears to an eye, the civil war is littered with many instances.
After many years in the field, I cannot imagine that many emerged unscathed, physically or mentally.
An eloquent post! Deserves more than just a "like." :smile:

It's interesting to see how language shapes people's understanding, and vice versa. Without a category and a name for a specific type of mental illness, personality type, cluster of behaviors, etc., people couldn't necessarily recognize what was going on.

Take the period stereotype of the sallow, lean, lazy white lower-class southerner in the period. People saw the symptoms often enough to make it into a stereotype, but they didn't realize: oh, those are the symptoms of hookworm!

Here's a dramatic example, before the word "transexual" existed: "The Man Who Thought Himself a Woman." What else could you call it, in 1857? He wasn't exactly a "Miss Nancy" or a "man milliner"--the terms for categories that might apply. Today, a psychiatrist wouldn't consider him mentally ill, but would recognize his obvious "gender dysphoria." Back then, he was just... strange. The 1857 story also starts out describing his father and grandfather, and they also would probably be diagnosable in some category today.

I think we're still struggling with understanding mental illness, personality types, etc., and are still facing some of the same difficulties with language, categories, etc. today, though obviously we've learned a lot more since the 1860s.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top