In this comprehensive article, we will be talking about the depression that was experienced by the Winnie pooh character, Eeyore.
Eeyore, the character from Winnie the Pooh, is said to have suffered from depression as he exhibits the five main symptoms of a major depressive episode which are as follows:
- Depressed mood, for most of the day
- Marked reduction in interest or pleasure in activities
- Fatigue and reduced energy throughout the day
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Diminished ability to concentrate.
Henceforth, it is clear from above that Eeyore suffered from severe clinical depression.
Who is Eeyore?
Eeyore refers to a character from the Winnie the Pooh books that are authored by A. A Milne. Eeyore is usually shown as a pessimistic, gloomy, anhedonic, old, grey, and a stuffed donkey who is one among the friends of Pooh.
He is always worried about losing his long, detachable tail with a pink bow on the end which he is extremely fond of.
Problems faced by Eeyore
The problem faced by Eeyore are as given below:
- He insists that his tails fall off frequently
- His movement is sluggish, without any physical cause for delay
- He seems to step on his tail often and fall down
- He indicates that sometimes even his close friends do not need him
- Around friends, he usually complaints that he is unimportant to them and tends to move towards the back of the pack
- He has indicated that he had not been able to smile genuinely in a long time.
- He often feels empty and distant when he hangs out with his friends.
- Eeyore significantly experiences a severe loss of energy and lethargy throughout the day.
Eeyore is known for his gloomy, downcast, and depressed demeanor. This also calls for a diagnosis of dysthymia. Dysthymia is usually referred to as mild depression with lesser symptoms than that of major depression.
Since Eeyore has always been depicted as a sad and despondent character, these symptoms lingered for a longer period. The symptoms of dysthymia which Eeyore displays is as follows:
- Prevailing sadness
- Depressed mood
- Low self-esteem
- Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
- Diminished interest in pleasurable activities
- Self-deprecating attitude
- Fatigue and loss of energy
Eeyore often feels left out and unimportant in the company of his friends. He feels as if he is incapable of being any good to his friends though his most ardent desire is to be there for them in times of need.
Though Eyore is gloomy and sad for most of the day, he does find the patience to keep rebuilding his house that keeps falling. This shows that Eeyore does not exhibit the symptom of helplessness which is common in depression.
Also, there are times, though rarely where he has been able to look at the brighter side of things. This tells us that Eeyore can also be alternatively seen as a thoughtful and quiet creature with perhaps, low expectations.
This mostly might be stemming from the perception that his friends or those around him are more quick and analytical than him. Such comparisons could have led to a drop in his self-confidence and his abilities.
When we first analyze Eeyore’s character, we tend to associate him with a portrayal of depression. However, on a close watch, you’ll notice that his attitude is somewhat similar to someone who’s rather quiet and distant from people and can accept situations as they are.
Alternatively, it also appears as if Eeyore might have suffered from a mild mood disturbance. This is because, even though his general temperament is gloomy and on the low side, his behavior does not indicate signs of suicidal tendencies nor is he affected by sleep or appetite problems. He just seemed to snap out from one mood to another from time to time.
Acceptance taught by Eeyore
Though there are contrasting opinions and criticisms on Eeyore suffering from clinical depression, there is one great lesson we can take from his life and that is the lesson of acceptance. Even when his friends knew Eeyore and his character, they never judged him or kept him away from their company. They accepted him for who he is and the best part is that Eeyore never bothered to change himself for anyone around him.
Eeyore remained the gloomy, sad, and disinterested donkey he is and never sought to fit in with others to be loved and cared for. His friends loved him nevertheless and included him in all their games and adventures.
Even when Eeyore suffered from body image issues or as it is depicted through his constant fear of the tail falling off, his friends stood by him like pillars of support and were always careful to not add to his misery.
During times when Eeyore refused to tag along with others on their adventurous journeys, they always took an effort to take him along and never pushed him aside nor excluded him deliberately. They always took care of their friend who struggled with sadness.
Lesson for children
Many people still criticize the cartoon for portraying characters with mental illness. However, I believe it was a great leap and a brave idea brought out by Milne. The cartoon with its pool of contrast characters and raw nature helps kids to gain insight into emotions and understand that expressing emotions is a healthy and non-intrusive way of interacting with other people.
Winnie the Pooh also beautifully portrays how to help your friends at the need of the hour and how to stick with them, no matter what the situation entails. It shows children that sadness and being said is nothing to be ashamed of and that openly talking about it is the best way to deal with it rather than repressing it or ignoring it out of fear of punishment.
Eeyore teaches us that even happy people can be sad and those sad people can have happy thoughts.
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There exist many treatments to deal with depression. However, it is important to identify the triggers, causal factors, and the mental illness and medical history of an individual before deciding on the treatment plan.
The best form of treatment for depression is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). you can also pair it up with electroconvulsive therapy, if, CBT does not work alone. In the case of Eeyore, medications are not an option. This is so because donkeys have never been tested normally with medications that are given to people suffering from depression. Thus, it would not be advisable to use any type of tricyclics, MAO inhibitors, or SSRIs.
Concerning CBT, the first and foremost thing is that Eeyore must be able to understand the relationships that exist between events, emotions, and cognitions. He must put in mental efforts and enough time to accept the fact that if his tail falls off, it does not make him any less desirable or incomplete, in any sense.
Furthermore, he needs to realize that the feeling of worth can be self-induced and that it need not come from anywhere or anyone else. Self-worth is something that can be built slowly and consciously. Depending on other people or situations can never contribute to the growth of your self-worth. It forms a type of unhealthy dependency that can further aggravate your feelings of worthlessness and lead to depression.
The treatment would then continue by instructing Eeyore to identify, evaluate, and modify automatic negative thoughts that increase his tendency to get anxious and depressed. He must be able to accept and acknowledge the existence of these thought patterns that cloud his ability to think rationally.
Once he can identify and be aware of his thought process, he can move to the next step of using his resources and potential to gain control over his negative thought cycle. For this to work out, he must be aware at every point, when he’s repeating the cycle and when he feels stuck while encountering any sort of problem.
This will further allow him to open up and gain good insight into his usual defenses and behavioral patterns that do not serve him. It will empower him to be truly aware of his potential and capabilities that might have been ignored out of fear.
Finally, stress management skills and social skills training can help Eeyore to move forward and not be defined by his mental state of affairs. It will give him the strength and eagerness to improve his well-being, both mentally and physically, with the help of his friends.
He would feel rejuvenated to join his friends on their adventure in the future and enjoy whatever comes in the way without self-doubt or an unwanted loop of thoughts. He would be able to put in his thoughts, feelings, and opinions without the fear of being rejected or ignored while he does so. Eventually, he will be able to form healthy and non-intrusive relationships with his friends and feel secure and happy in his skin at the same time.
In this comprehensive article, we discussed Eeyore’s depression. We talked about the various problems faced by Eeyore, probable alternatives to the depression he could have suffered, and most importantly, the lesson he taught us through his story of depression. We also further examined the treatment plans that can be adopted to help Eeyore and it’s processing.
FAQs: Eeyore Depression
What is Eeyore known for saying?
Some of the most common sayings and dialogues of Eeyore are as follows; “it’s not much of a tail, but I’m sort of attached to it.” “Oh Eeyore, you’re so brilliant!. Wish I could say yes, but I can’t.”
What mental disorder does the rabbit have?
A rabbit is known to suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. It has a tendency to be extraordinarily prominent and a strange belief that he has multiple, great relations.
Does the tiger have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?
Yes. the tiger from Winnie Pooh suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He is also known to suffer from bipolar disorder. These conclusions were made because he was observed to be restless, moving about all the time, and he also experienced erratic mood swings.
Is Winnie the Pooh a girl?
No. Winnie the Pooh is a boy. It is so because Pooh is always referred to as ‘he’ in Milne’s books and his voice is always rendered by a male. However, it turns out that the real-life bear he is named after is a female black bear named Winnie.
How old is Winnie the Pooh?
Winnie the pooh saga has turned 100 years old.
Is Winnie the Pooh owned by Disney?
Yes. Winnie the Pooh has been sold to Walt Disney Company for three hundred and fifty million dollars.
What we recommend for depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.