Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Mental health wisdom from Winnie the Pooh

Now this may seem like an odd title for a blog post, but bear with me (no pun intended, I promise.)

Despite it being nearly two decades since I've actually read Winnie the Pooh book (something I need to rectify), I've often found unexpected inspiration and affirmation from stumbling upon quotes from A.A. Milne books when browsing online. I also found find that a lot of the quotes can be great reference points for those who struggling with mental illness, but of course are not restricted to that demographic: they relate to the human experience in general.

Here are five of my favourite quotes from Winnie the Pooh books, along with what they mean to me:

"I don't feel very much like Pooh today," Said Pooh. "There there," said Piglet. "I'll bring you tea and honey until you do."

The exchange between Pooh and Piglet that everyone can go through a period of not feeling quite right-whether it be because a bad day or anxiety. But it also reminds us it's Okay to sometimes feel that way, and that it can be remedied. It's scary to wake up and suddenly not feel like yourself anymore, but by knowing that even Pooh has felt this way you can be sure you are not alone with it. Importantly it also highlights the facts that it's as necessary to be looked after when feeling mentally unwell as it is when one physically ill.

To me the quote also suggests that simple home comforts can often ground us and let us feel like 'us' again. Have you ever spend a day or evening somewhere, or found yourself doing something, that had left you with that niggling feeling of 'this isn't right for me'? And then maybe you've come home, still with that feeling of deflation, to then find your family waiting to greet you warmly-or you find you have a message from an old friend wanting to catch up? and then, just like that, you suddenly remember who you are again and those bleak feelings disappear? Well, this quote makes me think of that. It's a reminder that it's okay to be with people and surroundings that we're most comfortable with and that reflect our true nature, away from the pressure of feeling the need to be people we are not. It highlights the importance of good friends and family and wherever it is that we call home.

'By the time it came to the edge of the Forest, the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was it going, and it said to itself, There is not hurry. We shall get there some day.'

I often struggle with high stress and anxiety, and usually when it's very unnecessary. I write down every passing thought in my notebook in case I forget small park of my daily routine, I have a constant nagging in the back of my head if I haven't responded to someone message and I walk to fast to fast even when I have no where I need to be. But this quote comforts me with the knowledge that with age comes a retrospective realisation. A realisation that all those times you've replied to an email the next day- or forgotten to buy milk on the way home, or were five minutes late for a lecture-ultimately none of that ended up mattering. Because everything turned out okay in the end. And that there will also come an acceptance and understanding that, but living your life in a slower pace and with lower urgency, things will be okay too.

That's my personal take, but more simply the quote also suggests that the buoyancy of childhood is replaced with a more structured temperament and lifestyle when one reaches adulthood. Not because of any loss, but due to the wisdom and understanding gained along the journey.

"What day is it?" Asked Pooh. "It's today," squeaked Piglet. "My favortire day," said Pooh."

This quote helped me a lot when I experienced anxiety last year and this year. As a result of this-as extreme as it may seem-I spend a lot of time getting severely anxious and down at the prospects of dying and simply about ad things that could potentially happen in the future. But this very simply exchange is a reminder to appreciate what we currently have, and to live in the moment. Pooh's favourite day is today, because it;s the only one that is actually happening! Whenever I read this I adopt Pooh's innocent approach to life, which holds no anxiety or apprehension about the future. And he right to think in such a way. After all the future hasn't happened yet: the present is the only thing that exists. And the ideal frame of mind is to actually live in the present, instead of constantly and anxiously trying to leap ahead.

'You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.'

Sometimes we isolate ourselves without even realising it, and this quote exemplifies that. Before you label yourself as being lonely and claim defeat always first make sure you're doing thing to actually combat that loneliness. I've often found myself upset about specific people contacting me, or sounding even feeling that no one at all is making the effort to reach out to me. But i'm also the type of person who refuses to contact people first. See the problem here? Someone has to make the first move. And it's very likely that the people you want to connect with are thinking the same about you not contacting them, or will at least be happy to connect once you give them the nudge by reaching out first. Friendships and relationships can't start or be maintained unless someone is willing to be the one to make the first move.

And whether or not you yourself are feeling isolated, it's likely that some other people you know are feeling that way. So if you don't already, then why not try reaching out to people you wouldn't normally think of reaching out to, or to someone who you think could need a friend? The result will likely be rewarding for both parties.

"Promise me you'll always remember; you're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think"

I'm not sire if this a common belief in others, but I've never been able to consider myself brace. In fact, I often think to myself worriedly; I'd probably be a Hufflepuff, 'cause I sure as anything couldn't be a Gryffindor.' But despite these thoughts, many people I've known have called me 'brave' due to the fact I've faced facts a lot of struggles. And thought I always have shrug off being labelled as such, the truth of matter is that we are all brace. It's only that one normally doesn't realise how brave they are until faced with a difficult situation, in which being brace is the only option. Everyone of us has that in us. That is also true when it comes to strength, as the two go hand in hand. The quote also highlights that no matter what we look like on the outside-whether it be physically small, clinically anxious or physically ill-it's no representation of the vast inner strength we encompass. In fact, the weaker one may seem on the outside, the more strength is likely being put to use on the inside, due to them having to fight that much harder.

And this can also be said for being smart or funny or any other positive trait. Because at the end of the day, as humans, it's almost impossible for us to see ourselves as we really are. And the majority of us will unfortunately play down our positive attributes due to insecurities. The quote tells us that the people who see us how we really are, they are the ones who will think the highest of us.

This post I wasn't intending to write, the post I was trying to write was explaining why this week is hard for me though I just couldn't get words so I thought I would give myself a pet talk and thought you might want something to read. Ta ta for now. Surely you must get that reference.

No comments:

Post a Comment