Admittedly, it’s a fairly transparent marketing ploy for the BBC Doctor Who magazine, but the top five people in a poll to determine a historical person readers would most like to meet include four people who would likely be diagnosed with mental illness.
It is likely that only Martin Luther King would be without a diagnosis. Churchill, Presley and Monroe all had significant periods of mental distress and Einstein reputedly had Asperger syndrome – although whether ‘illness’ is the best word to describe his unique way of looking at the world is another matter.
All great and fascinating people. Sadly, however, two of the four (Presley and Monroe) died in tragic circumstances.
Hopefully, both a wider recognition that mental distress and giftedness can go hand in hand, and continuing developments in mental health care will mean fewer great lives (whether famous or not!) will end in tragedy.
Link to ‘Churchill tops time travel list’ from BBC News.