What Winnie the Pooh Teaches Us About Friendship, Emotional Health and God's Love

Winnie the Pooh and others form a beautiful group of loving friends despite their own struggles with emotional health.

What Winnie the Pooh Teaches Us About Friendship, Emotional Health and God's Love
Carrie Cravens
Jan 18, 2024

Recently, the Beacon of Light staff along with our ministry partners at Invite Resources joined in the Halloween fun of dressing up and passing out goodies to the young children of St. Andrew Preschool. Our chosen theme was Winnie the Pooh and we had a blast seeing each other dressed as the adorable characters. This led to a bit of spontaneous research suggesting that each of these beloved characters live with some form of an emotional health challenge. While I’m not one to spend too much time analyzing the symptoms of fictional characters, I found it interesting and maybe just a bit silly to speculate what might be going on beyond the surface of this group of friends. I’ll admit that it’s been a while since I’ve read or watched any of the adventures that happen in the Hundred Acre Wood, so please take my analysis with a grain of salt (and a teaspoon of honey). Here is what the internet suggests:

Winnie the Pooh: Binge Eating Disorder – I can see how many would come to this conclusion. He does consume a large amount of “hunny”, tends to over-indulge, has trouble controlling himself, sometimes eats to the point of feeling miserable yet continually returns for more. However, we could reframe this as Pooh being a body positive, you only live once kind of dude who focuses more on his inner beauty than his outer appearance. Yes he favors a sweet delicacy such as honey, but he also knows that sometimes it’s just fine to indulge in something you love. He’s simple and lives in the moment; something we could all stand to do a little more often. He radiates God’s love to his friends and shows a deep care and respect for them.

Piglet: Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Sweet Piglet is riddled with worry. He shows many characteristics of this diagnosis, frequently worrying about what could go wrong, catastrophizing or worst case scenario thinking, has difficulty controlling his worry, has trouble concentrating, is restless, and experiences physical symptoms such as trembling and stuttering. However, despite his anxiety, Piglet remains a loyal friend who helps others when needed, offers a listening ear and knows how to support his friends when they feel anxious. I think we could all use a Piglet in our life.

Tigger: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – This one is not surprising. Tigger is restless, impulsive, always on the move, doing things without thinking first (aka impulsive), frequently interrupts others and lacks a sense of fear and restraint. He also makes us laugh, gives great hugs, is willing to try anything and brings a positive spin to the group. He shows us that even when someone we love displays intrusive behavior, they do it with a kind heart and a desire to fit in. Tigger helps us to remember that life is to be enjoyed and celebrated and we should spread joy to others.

Eeyore: Major Depressive Disorder – Again, this one was probably easy to assume. Poor Eeyore is always sad. He talks and moves slowly, shows diminished pleasure in activities, seems fatigued or low on energy, and tends to have a negative outlook. Despite this, Eeyore relies on his support group of friends and tries his best to be involved and bring value to the group. I love that even though he would probably prefer to stay in bed and not get involved, Eeyore joins the group on their adventures, even if he is lagging behind the pack. Eeyore reminds us that God calls us to love everyone, even when it can be difficult to relate.

Suggestions have been made about other characters from the stories, however I don’t feel that I possess enough knowledge of their characteristics nor have I found an accurate description of symptoms related to specific diagnoses. What I will say about all of the characters is this: they show us that a group of flawed, diverse, and unique individuals can find a way to use their strengths to solve problems and eventually all can get along. This beautiful group of friends find ways to love each other, help each other and support one another through struggles and wild ideas. They show us that though we may all be different, we all have the capacity to love, build each other up and experience fulfilling lives even in the midst of emotional health challenges.