I remember in my senior year of high school on my way to AP Government class, a classmate of mine mentioned how the characteristics of Winnie-the-Pooh were based on the symptoms of mental health disorders. I was shocked that a childhood classic may have been indirectly depicting symptoms of mental illnesses! But I was a little skeptical about this information–Did A.A. Milne really base these well known characters on the symptoms of mental illness? Well…no.
In actuality the story was lightly based on his son, Christopher Robin Milne. Does the name sound familar? If not, well the character Robin was named after his named after.
Winnie-the-Pooh was based off his son’s teddy bear. “Winnie” was named after a brown bear (although the teddy bear’s real name was Growler) Milne and his son use to visit at the London Zoo. “Pooh” was a name his son use to name a swan. Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Kanga were based off the stuffed toys Christopher Milne played with; Rabbit and Owl were made up by Milne and his illustrator, E.H. Shepard.
Hmm…so it seems there’s no mention on how mental illness inspired the characteristics of the well-reknown characters. So how did this speculation come about?
Okay so back in 2000, four Canadian researchers by the names of Shea, Gordon, Hawkins, Kawchuk, and Smith have discovered similar traits of some mental health disorders seem to match the personalities of the Winnie-the-Pooh characters. Here are a few of them:
When I was putting these slides together, I really saw how similar this their characteristics were to some of the symptoms of behavioral disorders! I have to say it’s pretty remarkable and it’s also remarkable how these four researchers had time to put the information together!
There are also clinical disorders for Rabbit, Owl, and Christopher Robin, but just putting these four slides together! Well, if you want more information on the character’s diagnosis and on the research itself, click on the link below: