Until recently, I never heard of depression referred to as “the black dog.” As I’ve learned more about my illness, I’ve realized how popular that metaphor is. But today I learned who made the reference famous. It was none other than Winston Churchill. This was a man with admitted bouts of depression, as well as a family history of mental illness.
I smiled when I discovered this. I mean, think about it. This guy defied Hitler, helped win World War II, became Prime Minister of England, wrote tons of books, and became one of the most widely quoted men of the 20th Century. And he had depression.
I’m glad I know this. The next time I run across someone who “can’t understand” why a smart professional such as myself can even have depression, I think I’ll tell them Mr. Churchill’s story. It’s not that I’d put myself in the same league as Churchill. Far from it. But people should know that even a man who accomplishes great things can still hear the ominous growl of the “black dog.”
Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” No doubt, he knew from experience.
Read more about Churchill’s depression here.