What engineer or architect would describe flaws in a bridge or building he’d never seen? What doctor would describe the fractures in the bones of a patient he’d never examined? But some who make their living in the mental health industry feel no compunction describing the psychiatric problems suffered by people they’ve never met.
Here are some of their pronouncements. The great scientist and Bible scholar, Isaac Newton was bipolar and suffered from autism and schizophrenia. Winston Churchill suffered from clinical depression. According to the Journal of Medical Biography, Michelangelo, the artist who painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, was autistic. Abraham Lincoln, Beethoven, Charles Darwin and many other great achievers of history are similarly described.
I must confess to being very skeptical. Considering Churchill, most of the cited evidence revolves around his self-described Black Dog. Having spent some of my childhood in the United Kingdom, I remember that the term meant being in a bad mood or getting out of bed on the wrong side. Churchill’s own daughter confirms that there were times during World War II that her famous father was in a bad mood. There were also times when he felt and expressed deep, inconsolable grief at the loss of Allied soldiers. Does that translate into clinical depression? Certainly not.