Psychology, Winnie The Pooh Style . . .

Jan 18th

Happy Saturday!  I managed to sleep until nearly 8:00, and figured I’d get us started today now that we’ve had breakfast and I’m left with my caramel mocha to sip.  It feels like a guilty pleasure without the guilt, since I made it with unsweetened coconut milk and my homemade chocolate and caramel syrups that are sweetened with xylitol instead of sugar.  Yum!  So what does everyone have on their plan for the day?  I have nothing major happening.  Doing some stuff on the computer, puttering around the house, and just having a reduced stress weekend.  Nice, right? 

Thesaurus Day –  Anyone who has ever loved to write, had to complete an assignment in school and belongs to a generation before the one in school right now, has used a Thesaurus in the form of an actual book.  The current computer generation has probably used one online too.  I loved my Thesaurus growing up.  I’d sit there (yes, I was an English/literature/creative writing geek) and read it to see what wonderful new words I could find.  Some people read the dictionary to learn new words, I read the thesaurus to learn alternative words.  Today we celebrate the birthday of the man who gave us this wonderful resource, Peter Roget.  He was born this day in 1779.  So, if you’ve never used a Thesaurus, are you sitting there wondering what in the world it is?  You know it’s a reference book, but not sure what is inside?  It lists synonyms (words that have the same or similar meanings) for other words.  It lets you keep from repeating yourself when you write or give speeches.  It also lists antonyms, or words with opposite meanings.  Today spend a few minutes just appreciating the hard work and dedication that went into writing this book, and the value that it gives us.  A quick browse is all you need – I don’t expect you to sit down and actually read it like a novel. Well, not unless you’re a creative writing geek, and if so, have a good read!

Winnie the Pooh Day – I was never much of a Winnie the Pooh fan.  It’s not that I didn’t like Winnie the Pooh and all of his friends, but I just didn’t get into it as a kid.  I was already reading Edgar Allan Poe by the time I was about 9 or 10, so Pooh just felt a little immature to me.  Between Poe and Nancy Drew (odd stretch there, right?), Pooh just took a backseat.  I do appreciate as an adult how ingeniously the author of the Pooh stories captured the personalities and psychosis of humans in the characters in the stories.  A.A. Milne, the author of Pooh, was born this day in 1882, which is why today is Winnie the Pooh Day.   So, who were Pooh’s pals and what were their issues?  Well, there was Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit and Owl.  There were a bunch of side characters too, but these were the ones he focused on.  There are actual college courses studying the mental disorders that each of these storybook characters has, and honestly, if you look at all of your friends and family, I am betting that you can pinpoint some with some of the same, or similar, issues.  We all know someone who is an Eeyore, or a Tigger, etc. Let’s take a look at what the studies have found and see if they ring a bell . . .

Winnie The Pooh –   Eating Disorder, Impulsivity, OCD and ADHD
The most obvious issue that Winnie deals with is an eating disorder.  Some do not consider an eating disorder to be a mental disorder, but some mental health professionals would label Winnie’s obsession with eating excessive amounts of honey as a psychological response that comes from having low self-esteem.  They may also consider his obsession to be highly impulsive behavior because he is willing to take all sorts of risks to get his paws on more.  What is interesting is that an article by the Canadian Medical Association also diagnosed Winnie the Pooh with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) because of his repetitive counting. And last, Winnie is inattentive, careless and has indifferent behavior towards his friends, which puts him into the category of having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 


Piglet: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panophobia
Piglet is always really stressed out, anxious and very nervous.  A psychologist may say that these characteristics mean that Piglet had a self-esteem injury in his past.  He also has a speech impediment in the form of a stutter, and twitching in his ears.  Both of these things could be caused by the irrational anxiety he experiences throughout the course of daily living.  Panaphobia, which is a medical condition that makes someone fear everything, could also be a concern for poor Piglet.
Tigger: ADHD, Substance Abuse, Impulsivity
Most of us may see Tigger and just think, wow, he’s so hyperactive!  Apparently his mental health problems go far beyond the boundaries of simple hyperactivity.  Tigger has a hard time paying attention, which could indicate ADHD.  He is also ready to try any substance that crosses his path, which could show that he has a substance abuse problem.  Impulsiveness is also a problem for Tigger, because as it goes along with his other issues, could put him and his friends at risk of getting into trouble. 
Owl: Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Dyslexia
Owl is pretty interesting.  He is very smart, but shows symptoms of dyslexia.  His cleverness puts him at risk for another disorder though – Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Owl shows traits that are very similar to an excessive narcissist (I used to be married to one, so this is very familiar territory), in that he is excessively preoccupied with himself.  He thinks he is, without any doubt, the cleverest animal in the woods.  He even takes it so far that he thinks all the other animals have “fluff” for brains.  Wow, does THAT sound familiar!
Kanga/Roo: Social Anxiety Disorder
Kanga is a very overprotective mother, and I didn’t know that mental health professionals call this a mental disorder!  Weird, huh?  Anyway, psychologists call what she does to Roo, suffocation.  She clearly tries to control Roo, and tries to make sure he doesn’t make mistakes or his own decisions.  Roo never has time with his friends, or on his own, without Kanga being along for the ride.  This in turn makes Roo very co-dependent on his mother.  Alright, maybe I see the OVERLY protective part being a problem, but take out the OVERLY and in this day and age it just seems normal to want to protect our children – perhaps not to the point of not letting them learn from their own mistakes. *sigh* it is a fine line we walk between what is healthy and what isn’t.
Rabbit: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Rabbit is overly organized, and apparently that is an understatement and barely scratches the surface for his obsessive-compulsive tendencies.  He is obsessed with order and method and has the most common symptoms of OCD, including excessive cleaning and being an extreme neat freak.  Well, I obviously don’t have this issue – WHEW!
Eeyore: Depressive Disorder
Eeyore is always downcast and negative, and he sees everything in his life through the grey glasses of that outlook.  He is the perfect example of someone who is susceptible to major depression, which we see in his inability to experience joy, excitement or any other positive emotion.  Think about who is in your life. . . we ALL have an Eeyore.  I have a few who bounce between Eeyore and Tigger – which I assume would be the bi-polar category.
Christopher Robin: Schizophrenia
This one is a bit controversial, though interesting.  Christopher Robin is a boy with a youthful imagination that apparently closely resembles the auditory hallucinations that are commonly linked to schizophrenia.  The entire plot of Winnie the Pooh is based on Christopher’s hallucinations that his stuffed toys are alive, which leads to the thought that he has a malfunction in his perception of reality.  Underneath all of these hallucinations, a psychologist may label each of the other characters problems as individual representations of the feelings Christopher experiences in his own internal world.  He is a child learning to interact with the outside world, and he projects his internal feelings onto his stuffed toys. The entire story could be just a means of him learning to cope and deal with the process of functioning socially.

My take on it?  Yes, these characters all show these tendencies, but let’s get serious.  As the mother of two human beings who were very imaginative youngsters, these psychologists have taken these beautiful, fun characters and turned them into misfits, and for what?  So parents fear letting their children release their imaginations and run with them?  For fear that what is the normal development of being human and experiencing all of our own unique idiosyncrasies is a bad thing and we should curb it? To what end? To be robots?  Get real!  Children create beautiful worlds in their minds, and they people those worlds with their toys, their friends and yes, even characters we cannot see.  Each of those characters will have their own personalities and they will resemble issues that are in real life because our children live a real life.  Let’s let the kids be kids, enjoy these colorful stories for what they are, and stop over analyzing life.  Is this interesting stuff?  Of course!  Can we see people we know in these characters and their issues?  Of course!  Enjoy it – for we all have issues, we all are different and not everything has to come down to a disorder.

Food Celebration of the Day

National Slow Cooker MonthSlow cookers are a modern convenience, but the practice of stewing foods for hours, tenderizing meats and melding flavors is as old as cooking itself.  I remembered a blog I’d seen, several probably, but one in particular stuck out, where the write had put together a whole bunch of slow cooker meals, raw in freezer bags.  She had them all labeled and ready to go so when she got up in the morning she could dump the contents of the bag into the slow cooker and go! What an awesome idea!  A little while on the weekend translated nicely into easy week night suppers!  You can see her blog here!  I am definitely going to have to do this!

Well, now that we have analyzed everyone we know through the Winnie the Pooh filter, and looked up words to describe them, we can plan meals for our slow cookers for an entire week!  Awesome day!  Have a wonderful one!  God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!

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