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The Importance of Myths for Mental Health

A Contemplation on Mental Illness

By Anna Turnitsa Published 3 months ago 3 min read
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The Importance of Myths for Mental Health
Photo by Álvaro Rotellar on Unsplash

Myths span throughout time and across global communities. They are not only stories to entertain but also enduring testaments about the human condition. Whether truths or fictions, myths are a solution for universal questions about life, death, love, and loss. Will myths continue to grace bookshelves? Or are they destined to be covered with dust when technology advances humanity to survival needs, crime, and mental disease – thus eliminating time for introspection, understanding, and compassion?

When I studied psychology at university, I was attracted to Sigmund Freud’s theories, mainly, because of a photograph in a textbook showing his collection of angel figurines. However, Carl Jung and mythology made me see the error in his dislike for myths, and his support for its replacement with science. I believe both science and myth have their place in the human sphere. Nonetheless, to completely erase myths will lead future generations into a dark and violent time within which to pursue liberty and happiness.

An interest in mythology whether Norse or Greek, Roman or Egyptian, has given me marvelous insights into the desires, ambitions, and weaknesses that can drive my choices, if I allow myself to fall prey to them. Some choices have led to unfortunate consequences because I doubted the existence of a greater source than my own will. However, this would be the story of half a lifetime. While reflecting upon choices that have created joyous moments, my life seems too short. Consequently, I have a tendency to go for bittersweet choices that create a mitigating effect on the residue left from my misery and despair during several devastating years, which made time stand still.

A recent bittersweet choice I made was to end my services with a public, behavioral health clinic because I was tired of the continual changes in case managers, therapists, and peer support personnel. Moreover, as I thrive and put the pieces of my life back together, they seem to stay stuck in the doldrums of an unsatisfactory job. I had been a member for several years before I decided to pay out-of-pocket for a private provider, without regret. The mental health system may have been there to catch me when I landed in its grasp like a fly trapped in a spider’s web, but it has become a poor choice and waste of my time.

My time is much better spent enjoying the natural world and amicable connections with friends and family. While science and technology build their destined to fall towers without myths, a brave world will follow them along like rats mesmerized by the piper’s song. How far apart will the divide between myths and science grow in western society? I’d be lying if I said I did not fear aspects of being human. The Greek hero, Perseus, most likely had reservations over fighting with Medusa. And yet, he got to marry his beloved as a result. Life isn’t easy, but chasing my dreams makes it a worthwhile challenge.

Writing and reading for half a lifetime is a dream on my radar that I chase often, thanks to the rats lurking in the shadows around me. Not that I dislike all rats. In fact, during my teenage years, I had a few as pets. They were smart and allowed me to pet them, without putting up a fuss. Half a lifetime can be long or short. I’ve found the middle ground to be satisfying and worthwhile.

All in all, myths are an important part of the human sphere and mental health. Science and technology can’t create a healthy society without them. Humans are all different whether in life experiences or personality. However, we are the same in the questions that may be asked or contemplated about life, death, love, and loss. Humans are both art and science. Therefore, without a common ground, the divide will become too vast to allow tolerance and peace.

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About the Creator

Anna Turnitsa

Hello,

I like writing poetry, memoir, and fiction. If I had to pick a favorite animal, I‘d choose the swan. I have degrees in both mechanical drafting and psychology. My interests go from philosophy and music to theology. 🪷

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