Book Jeff

Winnie-the-Pooh and Which One Are You?

Pooh Bear turns fifty this month! No silly bear, not A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh. His birthday isn’t until August. August 21 to be exact. Deena Annette’s Pooh Bear!

Deena is my “little” sister, and her birthday is this Friday, March 15. To celebrate, Lyndsey and I shipped her a high-end Steiff Winnie-the-Pooh that we found in Magic Kingdom last month. If you want to know why Disney replaced Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride with The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction, just look at the many items for sale next door and their wild prices. Oh bother!

Winnie the Pooh has always been Deena’s favorite. He’s been a faithful friend ever since I gifted her one way back in 1974 as she was turning three years old. He goes everywhere with her and has lived in multiple states, including Alaska and now Texas. When she checked into treatment for her alcohol addiction on August 21, 2018 (yes, Winnie the Pooh’s birthday), he and his backpack were her only possession.

Today, Deena works in behavioral health, and I am super-proud of her. It’s a fitting field for her and her beloved bear…now bears. Since 1926, when Winnie-the-Pooh first appeared, he and his endearing friends have entertained children while also sharing valuable lessons about friendship, perseverance, and the power of a positive outlook.

The irony in all of this is that many in the mental health field believe we connect to the characters in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories because they are excellent representations of what real-life behavioral and mental health struggles look like. See if you can relate:

Winnie-the-Pooh—Eating Disorder

Piglet—Anxiety Disorder

Tigger—Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Eeyore—Major Depressive Disorder

Rabbit—Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Kanga—Social Anxiety Disorder


Owl—Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Christopher Robin—Schizophrenia

Reading this, I am finally ready to admit that I am indeed on the spectrum. The spectrum of characters in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. On any given day, I can be all the above, and more, multiple times over!

Hopefully, you find the Hundred Acre Wood helpful. It’s not just a whimsical backdrop for childhood tales but a reflective space where the nuances of mental health are delicately portrayed. Each character, despite their individual issues and challenges, brings something to the story. Their quirks and struggles are mirrors reflecting aspects of our own experiences.

Better yet, their friendships stand the test of time because of each character’s commitment and unwavering support for one another. As in life, every character, every emotion, and every challenge contributes to the rich tapestry of our existence.

Do you have friendships like Winnie-the-Pooh had? How do you support your friends, and how do they support you? If you have any of the struggles Pooh’s friends have, remember, you are “braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” If you have a friend who can use your support in struggling with one of these issues, the same is true for them and for your ability to help them. We can all strive to be more like Pooh Bear, a true friend. As Piglet often says to Pooh, “I’m never afraid with you.” Let’s all strive to make life less scary for someone. Sometimes, a stuffed Winnie the Pooh is all it takes. Sometimes, it takes a listening ear or a bear hug.

And, Deena, if you’re reading this, Happy Birthday! Enjoy your day and adventures with Pooh Bear(s). Thank you for your friendship, commitment, and unwavering support these past fifty-three years.

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