Winston Churchill is known for many things, but one thing that many don’t know about him is that he may have suffered from mental illness, which he often referred to as his “black dog”. Churchill was known for his determined nature, but he was also known to have bouts of unruliness in which he would often overindulge in alcohol and act erratically.
Churchill’s “black dog” may have been the cause. To learn more about this side of Churchill, keep reading.
Churchill’s “Black Dog”
For decades of his life, Churchill seems to have had some anxieties and fears that followed him, such as standing too close to balconies or train platforms. While this may have been a fear, it may have also been because Churchill did not always trust himself to act rationally when given a way to end his own life. Churchill may have suffered from manic depression, as he would often become paralyzed by despair.
During these bouts, he was known to spend much time in bed with little energy, no interests, no appetite, and difficulty concentrating. This caused him to be minimally functional when it came to his duties and responsibilities. These periods of despair could last a few months, and after them, he would come out of it appear to be acting like his normal self again.
In a letter to his wife from 1911, Churchill wrote that he may be in need of some kind of professional help for treating his “black dog”. When he was well, Churchill actually had tons of energy and was known to stay up late into the night reading and studying. When he was in a good place, he was known to come up with tons of new ideas.
This manic behavior is typical of those that deal with manic depression and bipolar disorder. Additionally, these mood swings were likely heightened due to the amount of alcohol Churchill was indulging in.
With all the responsibility Churchill had to Britain, having depressive bouts was difficult and dangerous. Churchill sought treatment from a physician named Lord Moran, who prescribed medications to help him manage his depressive episodes. While Churchill’s exact diagnosis cannot be clear today, it is believed by many scholars and mental health professionals that Churchill suffered from either manic depressive disorder or bipolar disorder.
Those that have these conditions and are not medicated often have a difficult time maintaining relationships and keeping employment which can lead to a chaotic, unproductive, and challenging life. Knowing when it’s time to seek help for a perceived mental illness, whether for yourself or for someone you love, can help to manage these disorders to decrease suffering and improve the quality of one’s life.
What We Can Learn
Winston Churchill’s “black dog” was managed because he came to terms with the fact that he needed help and sought it out. Asking for the help you need can be difficult, but it can have great life-changing benefits.
Are you ready to get the treatment you need? If so, contact us today to get started.