Winston churchill

Churchill’s favorite drink was whisky and soda, starting soon after breakfast. He is on record as having once drunk 11 of these during a single meal. When Churchill traveled to the US during Prohibition, he obtained a doctor’s note to certify that regular consumption of alcoholic spirits was necessary to his health. Churchill’s heavy drinking was no secret and even President Roosevelt complained Sir Winston was drunk half the time. Many could conclude this was alcoholism and another connection between Winston Churchill and manic depression.

Between 1908 and 1910, Winston Churchill held a cabinet post when Herbert Asquith, leader of the Liberal Party, appointed him President of the Board of Trade. Winston Churchill’s major achievement in this post was to establish labour exchanges. In 1910, he was promoted to Home Secretary. As Home Secretary, Winston Churchill used troops to maintain law and order during a miners strike in South Wales. He also used a detachment of Scots Guards to assist police during a house siege in Sidney Street in East London in January 1911. Whilst such actions may have marked him down as a man who would do his utmost to maintain law and order, there were those who criticised his use of the military for issues that the police usually dealt with.

Churchill had shown signs of fragile health as early as 1941, while visiting the White House. At that time, he suffered a mild heart attack and, in 1943, he had a similar attack while battling a bout of pneumonia. In June 1953, at age 78, he suffered from a series of strokes at his office. The news was kept from the public and Parliament, with the official announcement stating that he had suffered from exhaustion. He recuperated at home, and returned to his work as prime minister in October. However, it was apparent even to him that he was physically and mentally slowing down. Churchill retired as prime minister in 1955. He remained a member of Parliament until the general election of 1964, when he did not seek re-election.

But normal for Churchill was in a sense also rather abnormal: when he wasn’t severely depressed and low in energy and lying in bed, Churchill had very high energy levels. He wouldn’t go to sleep until two or three in the morning, instead staying up and dictating his dozens of books. He would talk incessantly in a tantivy of whirling thoughts. So much so that the then US president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, once said of him: “He has a thousand ideas a day, four of which are good.” These are manic symptoms, part of the disease of manic-depression (which includes but is not exactly the same thing as today’s “bipolar” illness terminology).

Winston churchill

winston churchill

But normal for Churchill was in a sense also rather abnormal: when he wasn’t severely depressed and low in energy and lying in bed, Churchill had very high energy levels. He wouldn’t go to sleep until two or three in the morning, instead staying up and dictating his dozens of books. He would talk incessantly in a tantivy of whirling thoughts. So much so that the then US president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, once said of him: “He has a thousand ideas a day, four of which are good.” These are manic symptoms, part of the disease of manic-depression (which includes but is not exactly the same thing as today’s “bipolar” illness terminology).

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