My childhood was primarily eating a lot and reading even more. Being surrounded by books was the only way I knew to spend time. So, it goes without saying that I have frequented the Hundred Acre Woods more than enough times. From playing Poohsticks to imagining my head stuck in a honey pot, like Christopher, I too loved Pooh and his friends. It was my fairytales land; it was a dreamy spot for all readers.
When I first came upon an article on mental illnesses in children’s stories, my mind could not even think that Winnie and others would be on this list. Surprise, surprise, this children’s book might not be completely devoid of all Milne’s experiences.
The Hundred Acre Woods has been loved by many. So, when these people revisit them in their adult life they will find some new shocking materials. There has been a lot of conversation about Pooh and friends being mental illnesses personified. The Canadian Medical Association had published a report in 2000 that was titled ‘Pathology in the Hundred Acre Wood: A neurodevelopmental perspective on A.A. Milne.’ In this report, they hypothesized that each character is suffering some mental illness.
The Fairytale Illnesses
Winnie the Pooh suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Our beloved, honey-loving bear can be seen to have an overly need to preserve food and has a tendency to display repeatedly counting behaviors. In a way, he and Tigger also have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They both have a very small attention span and an above-normal level of activity in all stories. Tigger additionally has an impulsive risk-taking behavior.
Piglet is said to be suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder with continuous mention of him being anxious, flustered or scared in all situations. It is closely related to low self-esteem. Alongside the confident, and the smartest member of the Wood, Owl suffers from dyslexia. This can be seen throughout with his inability to spell or comprehend letters.
The sadness of Eeyore is chronic. He is said to have chronic dysthymia, a depressive disorder whose symptoms are bouts of stress and negativity. Lastly, Rabbit has OCD in a combination of a tendency to feel self-important and a meticulous belief in an important family tree.
A strenuous and what I think is childhood-disturbing, Winnie-the-Pooh showed us that mental illness does not hinder a person from living a fun and friend-filled life. For more such stories click here.