Tag: black dog

Straitjacketing Churchill (and the Truth)

Straitjacketing Churchill (and the Truth)

LONDON, JULY 19TH— In what were described as “guer­ril­la raids,” BBC Chan­nel 4 “strait­jack­et­ed” the stat­ues of four wide­ly admired Britons: Churchill and Flo­rence Nightin­gale in Lon­don, Charles Dar­win in Shrews­bury and Samuel John­son in Lich­field.

Each fig­ure was “restrained” in a bespoke strait-jack­et which had the men­tal ill­ness they are reput­ed to have had stamped across it. Churchill’s was labeled DEPRESSION.

The strait­jack­et­ing was car­ried out to pro­mote Chan­nel 4’s sea­son of prime-time pro­gram­ming chal­leng­ing men­tal health stig­ma and dis­crim­i­na­tion, “4 Goes Mad,” which start­ed on Mon­day 23 July. The stunt was also cap­tured as part of a short film aired on Chan­nel 4’s “Ran­dom Acts.”

Com­mis­sion­ing Edi­tor Lina Prest­wood said: “Despite the fact one in four of us are like­ly to expe­ri­ence a men­tal health con­di­tion in our life­time, mis­un­der­stand­ing and stig­ma per­sists.”

We can eas­i­ly agree that Chan­nel 4 has gone mad, but per­haps not quite in the way they mean; that they know lit­tle about Churchill, or his vast­ly over-hyped depres­sion; and that mis­un­der­stand­ing and stig­ma cer­tain­ly per­sist where Sir Win­ston is con­cerned.…

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Depression or “Black Dog”

Depression or “Black Dog”

What is the truth about Churchill suf­fer­ing from depres­sion, which he referred to as his “black dog”? —A.L. Kansas

Churchill him­self makes a few ear­ly men­tions of his “black dog,” but the expres­sion is much old­er than he was. It was fre­quent­ly used by Vic­to­ri­an nan­nies, like Churchill’s Mrs. Ever­est, when their charges were in a dark mood. One ref­er­ence dates it to Boswell’s Life of John­son. Vis­it the Churchill Cen­tre search engine and enter “Black Dog”; you will be led to numer­ous illu­mi­nat­ing ref­er­ences. The first one is by his daugh­ter Lady Soames, who I think has it right:

A lot has been made of the depres­sive side of his char­ac­ter by psy­chi­a­trists who were nev­er in the same room with him.…

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