Posted on: June 13th, 2024

Winnie the Pooh: A Tale of Addiction and Men’s Mental Health

By: Teddy sullivan, lmhc-a

Homer Simpson. Peter Griffin. Clint Eastwood. Rick (Rick & Morty), Winnie the Pooh*. 

What do these have in common? 

They’re all men. 

Being a man involves more than just meeting expectations of toughness and independence; it’s about dealing with the unique pressures and struggles that men encounter. 

While Winnie the Pooh may arguably be the “manliest” of these men (criteria doesn’t need to be defined), Pooh bear had one major flaw under his belt: he was inadvertently destructive. Note: Winnie the Pooh does not, in fact, wear a belt on account of him not wearing pants.

You see, while the silly ole’ bear lived into his golden years in the 100 acre woods, old habits popped up almost as often as the rumbly in his tumbly. Habits that not only impact his own life, but also the life of his friends and family. 

Winifred the Pooh married a cute little bear (not to be confused with Little Bear) named Suzy. Winnie called her “Suzy-pooh,” which sounds creative and cute – yet isn’t – because that’s her literal name. They had three little pooh bear babies: two boy bears and one girl bear. 

As is well-known, Winnie struggled with his addiction to honey. Winnie’s struggles began in high school, when he was rejected to prom by his crush. Winnie decided to manage the painful feelings himself, indulging in his first pot of honey at age 18. Time-and-time again, Winnie tried to shake off the stranglehold his honey pot had on him. Winnie, however, could never quite cease the control the honey seemed to have on him.

The impact was great. Winnie became grumpy, irritable, and all-around miserable to be around. He yelled at Suzy Pooh, criticized his children, and went from job-to-job (ranging from office work, to construction, to improv puppet shows at the local petting zoo). Winnie refused to get help for many valid reasons, and wanted to solve his problems by himself. Resentment and frustration grew, and after an unfortunate altercation with Smokey the Bear, Winnie had accidentally burned down 25 acres of the 100 acre wood. Winnie had reached his all-time low and finally sought help from a professional, which helped Winnie feel better in his life.

*this adaption of Winnie the Pooh is a creative decision made by the author based on its entrance into the public domain. 

Mental health is a tough topic at times, especially for men. We’re often told to bottle our feelings up, “be a man,” and withstand anything life throws at us. Talking about feelings is often discouraged, and it can be intimidating going to a random stranger and revealing parts of our selves that we were shamed for having. 

The main mindset the story above highlighted, was about our insistence to handle our problems ourselves. I agree that there are a lot of problems that do not require therapy to get through. It’s a sign of resilience to identify which problems are able to be solved by yourself/with loved ones. Some problems need a professional’s help in getting through it. In fact, going to a therapist can reduce the time and fallout that untreated mental health challenges can cause.