A few years ago, I sunk into major depression and tried to take my own life a few times. But chance had it that I discovered Gund Snuffles bears, and bought the white 14 inch version and named him “Floppie”.
As 2009 came and went, and my pain intensified, Floppie stayed with me throughout and was my comfort pillow at times, other times I would hit him and let out my anger and sadness on him. But he always smiled his adorable grin and looked up at me with all the warmth in his face.
In the course of recovery, and since I had nothing to do being on medical leave at home, I started collecting Snuffles, designed to look up to whoever is holding them. I started to play with the bears as a 3 year old would. I gave each Snuffles a name. I talked to them. I gave them personalities and took them with me out for a walk sometimes. I made up stories for them. I entertained myself.
In psychology-speak, I was projecting myself on to these bears to create a safe space to analyse myself – those bits I liked of myself, and those bits with which I had to come to terms. Hanging out with the bears helped me rediscover my creativity as I made up little adventures in my head. Little by little, they helped me in lifting myself out of depression, especially when I couldn’t help but giggle at my own encounters with the bears.
Unexpectedly, I discovered a way to lift moods and explore my creativity and purpose in life — I played again, and found revelations in my inner child.
Thus, the term is coined: Bearapy.
You can find a list of the Bears in the Bearachive. Each bear has an ID card listing their personalities and their cuddle ratings, determined by how huggable they are.
Bearapy calms me down. Bearapy allows me to leave the stress filled world behind. Bearapy stimulates my creativity. Most of all, Bearapy simply makes me smile.
With a bear hug,