If you look around the internet you will find plenty of pop psychology sites where you can take a fairly meaningless test to decide which character from the universe inhabited by Winnie the Pooh (Hundred Acre Wood) you are. I don’t even need to take the test because I already know. From a ridiculously early age I identified with Eeyore. In fact, the oldest surviving toy-based relic of my youth is a stuffed Eeyore.
I love watching Winnie the Pooh movies and shorts. Every Thanksgiving when I was a kid I looked forward to “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day” coming on TV the Friday after Turkey Day. I can also recite the words to Tigger’s song by heart even now. Winnie the Pooh cartoons are funny and I have always found them to be so. I’m sure most of you do as well. I’m sure most of your kids do, too. But I want to ask you a question about this legacy of Disney comedy: does your young child seem to identify with Eeyore more than Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit, Roo or even Christopher Robin? (Has any kid ever identified mostly with Christopher Robin?)
If your child laughs at Winnie the Pooh cartoons and chooses Eeyore as his favorite, pay attention. If your kid doesn’t seem to laugh much at the comical antics of Tigger and Pooh yet still manages to strongly identify with Eeyore, I urge you to do more than pay attention. Identification with Eeyore may—and I cannot strongly emphasize the word MAY here enough—be an early indication that your child will become an adult suffering from clinical depression.
I was first diagnosed with clinical depression around the turn of the millennium. After going through literally every single major anti-depressant on the market and finding no relief, I have since been diagnosed with Treatment Resistant Depression. Over the course of these dozen years I have spoken with many people who are depressed and I have read the writings of exponentially more people suffering depression. And I have discovered a rather interesting fact.
I am not the only clinically depressed person who laughs at the cartoons of Winnie the Pooh yet very early on developed an identifying attachment to Eeyore. I won’t sit here and write that a series of Disney cartoons can do something that trained psychologists cannot. I have no scientific evidence upon which to base this article. I write this article from personal experience. I know for a fact that there was something about Eeyore’s depressing perspective that I identified with. I know for a fact that I have personally heard from other depressed people who have said the same thing. I know for a fact that over the years I have read accounts on the internet from depressed people who have mentioned childhood identification with Eeyore.
Beyond that, I have also read depressed people writing about identifying with other cartoon characters whose humor derives from their being, shall we say, a real bummer. A downer. A sourpuss. There is absolutely no intent at alarmist thinking to be found in this article. Speaking merely from an anecdotal history, I merely want to use my experience to do what I can to help identify other kids with the potential for becoming depressed adults from falling under the radar of parents not alert to possible signals.
Now sit down and laugh at Tigger’s ADD and Piglet’s social anxiety.