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a lesson from eeyore, part 2

December 8, 2009

My copy of Winnie the Pooh (very battered now) has wonderful endpapers with a map of the ‘100 Aker Wood’. There’s a sandy pit where Roo plays, a Pooh trap for heffalumps and a place that’s ‘nice for piknicks’. But Eeyore lives in a ‘gloomy place, rather boggy and sad’.

When we are stuck in a sad and boggy place, it can be very difficult to get out. So I was fascinated to hear the author Jeanette Winterson talking on Radio 4’s Open Book about how she wrote her way out of depression with a book called The Battle of the Sun. She described how the world of 17th century London that she was creating became a place she could escape to every day for the six months it took her to write the book. She spoke about the creative urge being the part of ourselves that works for healing.

When we are in a gloomy place we may not be up to sandpits and picnics, but it is worth finding out how to tap into that healing place. There’s a lovely bit in ‘Eeyore has a birthday’ where he realises that although Pooh has eaten all the honey in the pot that was supposed to be his present, the pot can nevertheless become a useful place to keep the balloon that Piglet accidentally burst. We leave him ‘as happy as can be’.

I hope I am the last person to belittle the problems that depression can bring. I know we can’t all write novels and I’m not suggesting that empty honey pots are the new Prozac. But I also know that even a small decision to do one creative thing can make a gloomy place a little bit brighter.

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