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Archbishop of Canterbury takes antidepressants and sees psychiatrist to manage 'Eeyore' moods, he says

by Sophie Drew

The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken candidly about taking antidepressants to allow him to maintain an "Eeyore status" instead of "something much worse."

As part of a three-part Holy Week lecture series at Canterbury Cathedral, the leader of the Church of England also spoke of seeking professional help with his mental health.

Most Rev Welby told listeners, "As the psychiatrist I see tells me, the aim is not to make me so laid back that I'm horizontal, but just to settle things enough that I react like an average sort of human being. I'm sad when things are sad, and happy when they're happy, and so on and so forth."

He likened human emotions to Winnie the Pooh characters, comparing himself to Eeyore, the often melancholy donkey, as opposed to a "bouncy" Tigger.

Most Rev Welby said, "I am on antidepressants. They work very well. They restore me to Eeyore status from something much worse."

Continuing the lecture, he said, "Some of us are Tiggers, some of us are Eeyores. Probably, some of us are many of the other characters in Winnie the Pooh."

The comparisons were inspired by sage advice once given by the former Archbishop of Canterbury.

"Rowan Williams once said to me: 'There is almost no human situation that cannot be explained with the hermeneutical tools of Winnie the Pooh.' Only Rowan could say that and be both humorous and profound at the same time."

The lecture was based on the rollercoaster of emotions present within the Easter story, from Jesus' persecution and death to the overwhelming joy of his resurrection.

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