I’ve wanted to start a “themed” type post on the blog for a while. I’ve got a lot of series I want to do, but in all honesty, I just lack the motivation. Writing in my blog is definitely the highlight of my day, but the amount of mental energy and research some of my posts I want to write require makes me tired just thinking about it.
Well, enough complaining. It’s time to start writing some baller posts.
The Back Story
I always get super excited when celebrities or other high-profile types share their experiences with mental health. First, Bethenny (from RHoNY) aired her experiences in therapy on her show “Bethenny: Getting Married?” which made me excited because I just love her. I know some people think she’s obnoxious, but not me. I think she’s awesome.
Then, Catherine Zeta-Jones disclosed that she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and People magazine wrote a whole article about it.
Then, I read The Hunger Games. Several of the main characters struggle with mental illness and actually see a counselor in the book. I thought it was kind of progressive for a young adult novel to feature characters struggling with mental health. The ideas started swirling to start something on the blog about this.
A big soapbox issue of mine is the image of mental health. It’s viewed as taboo. Going to your therapist isn’t viewed the same as going to your doctor. It’s just not. There’s a lot of stigma. That’s why I am always so excited when successful people or admirable characters raise the profile of mental health. It gives me warm fuzzies in my heart. It makes me say things like, “Damn straight!”
So, I thought I’d profile some successful people/characters with mental health issues. I present to you, The Case Files.
Every Tuesday (unless I’m feeling frisky), I’ll write about a cool person who has had issues in mental health.
So, who is our inaugural post about?
Sir Winston Churchill
When I was depressed, I did what all nerds do when they need answers: I researched.
One day, I stumbled across a story about Winston Churchill’s struggle with depression. I was immediately intrigued. How could someone so revered and so successful have had a condition like this? I mean, he was the Prime Minister. He helped lead us out of World War II. The man had his shit on lock, people.
He was also kind of a sour puss. He was notorious for being grumpy and throwing himself into his writing. He often described his depression as “the black dog.”
His family would explain his absences and his ugly moods by saying Churchill was currently accompanied by “his black dog.”
It was when Churchill took solace in his writing that he first found the term of familiarity to describe his depression. The “black dog” was something always by his side. It was a dog though, he had to accept it and work to live with it. Rejecting it could only have made it worse.
The theories on Churchill’s reasons for depression trace back to his feelings of inferiority. Apparently, Churchill’s dad was kind of an absent douche who belittled baby Churchill and neglected him. His mom wasn’t really all that great either.
So Churchill rationalized. He said, “If I can’t be loved, I’ll be admired.”
Ambition. It’s the way a lot of us deal with our feelings of self-doubt. Turns out, it worked well for Churchill. I mean, he kind of coined the term “Winning!” long before Charlie Sheen did. He threw himself into his work with the gusto only a major, awful, no good, very bad Hitler could provide.
Churchill used his depression as a motivator to do something with his life. Rather than hole himself away for all eternity, he chose to work at it. He wrote, he got all dark and twisty, he got out, he worked on some major world-changing stuff, he repeated. He accepted where he was at. He wasn’t perfect. His temper was bad, he had a suspected drinking problem, and his relationships weren’t always fantastic. There’s no denying what accomplishments he had. Winston Churchill was a great man.
“I don’t like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through. I like to stand right back and if possible get a pillar between me and the train. I don’t like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second’s action would end everything. A few drops of desperation.” – Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
What do you all think about Sir Churchill’s “black dog”?
Do you have any requests for a future Case Files post?