Finding the Myth in the Diagnosis


  • Author Abdulla Ahmad
  • Published August 20, 2021
  • Word count 2,113

As a psychiatrist in training, I have the privilege of having an upfront and center seat to witnessing the human condition, in its different spectrums and expressions. The beauty of this role lies in its moments of connection with the “other”. That is what we seek as human beings, a sense that we can connect with someone, where a flow occurs and where all of a sudden division disappears, leaving a space where sharing on the deepest levels can transpire. I read somewhere that in order for art to be considered art, it should allow healing. With this definition every interaction with life could be transformed into art, when it yields our own healing or the healing of those around us or might I even say the healing of the mother earth. Coming in contact with people in therapy means coming in contact with their stories, those that are on the surface, and those that lurk in the shadows of the subconscious. Stories that are never barren of symbolism and life that appear as core beliefs, recurrent thoughts, deep desires, and suppressed wishes. Coming in contact with this open-ended ocean is a gift, because it can inspire the person to find a bridge between current reality and myth. Myth is our destiny, I was once told by a teacher. Myth is the creation of our own Hero’s journey. That is how inspiration is born, when our stories become our Myths and our journeys towards ourselves and hence towards the universe.

Myth means going beyond the frame of definitions and into the wilderness of the symbolic. An area where definitions become blurry.

The next passages are just that, an experimentation to go beyond the definitive meaning and into the unknown, where meaning becomes characters, colors and textures, and where mere labels can be transcended. Here are some myths, maybe through them we can bridge a simple “label” such as a so-called diagnosis to a bigger than life Myth.

Panic Disorder:


The way her hair floats in the air and mingles with the sun light. It forces him to rediscover life’s grand meaning every single time. It allows him to re-emerge from the depths that ingest him fully in the form of thoughts or song lyrics that he keeps on repeating and repeating in his ached mind hoping to decipher some sort of a code of the wilderness that some people like to call reality.

He prefers a lyrical type of dialogue between himself and “himself”. For some non-logical reason he finds a remedy amid chaotic lyrics, and for some reason every song seems to be about her. She mesmerizes him, a verb that he has only used once in a dark night after involving himself in an intense prayer where he realized that it was god that mesmerizes him. He never thought he would ever use this verb for anything else, but he realized that god might as well be dispersed in everything that invokes this type of feeling that arises within him, a feeling that cannot -at least not yet- be invoked by lyrics alone. Lyrics need a medium in which they can be engulfed by the illogical, in which they escape life and dive into something greater. She seems to be the music that enables lyrics to become creatures of mystery, of magic, of fairytales.

Social Anxiety Disorder:

The recipe of disappearance:

A lot of vastness to engulf...

A bit of mystery to hide within...

Some approval of loneliness...


A memory of you... someone can hold on to…

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:


As he allowed himself to be wrapped by his own doings and un-doings, he came face to face with history. A more or less faceless face consisting of entire entireties that surround not only ashes of past demons but also of past lovers.

History’s affect is in a constant state of change, it never ceases or stops to reconsider its behavior, it exists in the most spontaneous manner, liberated from itself.

This isn't their first meeting, and it won’t be their last, that was a certainty, an obvious matter of fact. But history never cares about facts, it keeps changing and rearranging them until it is consumed by boredom and discards them into deep amnesia.

Yes, history is demented, it can’t keep score just as it can’t remember what it had for lunch yesterday.

Here is the thing he now knows about history. It is never to be conquered, it is never to be deeply analyzed and it is never to be scrutinized, it is however to be rewritten, its magic lies in its fluid essence. He cannot and will not solidify history, but he will offer it other colors, he will sing to it new songs, he will recite new poems to it, and he most definitely will have it as a shadow company that can leave, whenever.


The edited scene

There was once a half full bottle of whiskey, lying beside it was a pen.

Next to them was an empty notebook. The window allowed the sunlight of that busy evening outside to enter the room.

No sound was there, that is if you were not to carefully listen.

There was a humming sound, subtle in its presence, imminent in its ability to arouse.

On a corner was a shadow simmering in light in a perfect coexistence.

On the wall, a mirror, circular, all allowing, strictly encompassing.

A beige carpet, and a book laying on it, waiting for its words to escape the limitedness of the page into the abstract nature of the imagination. Words that are in need to enter a mitotic division in order to lead two separate lives, the suburbs of the page, and the metropolitan of the mind.

And then, the sound of keys and someone opening the door.


Not to be continued:

The ability that the question mark has in identifying weaknesses is mystifying. It pinpoints directly to the spaces of the unknown while urging itself out of the equation that yields to the answer. It doesn't create the unknown nor does it force it to show up, it does however bring light to it, and light illuminates.

The question mark is an action turned to ink, a serious possibility in impossibility, the last of breath in an in-breath, a death of noise and amok amid the end of sentence.

Sometimes, I listen to people’s voices, trying to decipher the punctuation mark that best explains them. This is the conversation that occurs -cortically- or maybe heartedly:

He is an exclamation mark, he never ceases to jump up in my mind, because his words stay with me, long after the conversation is over, they keep me excited for more all night long, but in the morning…all is that is left is total hangover.

She is a comma, she lingers all over the paragraph, she allows me breath into myself, she grounds me into the meaning behind the word and not the word itself. She offers condolences when the sentence is too long, she escapes the eye, but is always there.

Sometimes he a single quotation mark, other times he is a double quotation mark, always he is somewhere in between. He offers thoughts that provoke my insight into deliberate denial, but ultimately, he empowers me to keep on seeking. He is a part of the whole but is whole all at once. He adds to the conversation something beyond the utter voice, a musical note that completes the symphony.

They are a semi-colon, just like a schizophrenic, they are scattered within and they can scatter all that surrounds them. They are separated even though they appear connected.

And then there is her, a full stop. Sweet as new beginnings, but also bitter as -some- endings. Simple, she wears black elegantly. She stands always at the end of the super market line and allows other to steal her parking.

She did however decide once to steal a question mark’s place!

To be continued…

Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

A common Thread

Here is to breathing. To life itself, to its constant presence, to its different faces and names and identities, to its highest highs and lowest lows, to its details, to its hard edges, to the darkness, to the lack of words when we indulge in its beauty but also when we are knee deep in its shit.

Here is to breathing, when deep down there is nothing more to be said, because all has been said through tears, and songs, and many many cups of Caramel Macchiatos with cream on the top.

Here is to breathing when it dawns upon you that the loved one has left, and you realize that maybe you were not supposed to find your soul mate at the sweet age of 13.

Here is to breathing, as you miss the bus to work, the bus you used to take everyday, today however, unbeknown to you, someone special was on that bus, someone whom, if met, could be the meaning of all the songs you have ever listened to.

Here is to breathing, as that first drop of rain hits your skin.

Here is to breathing as a butterfly flutters its wings somewhere, and elsewhere a dog barks, while just around the corner on a tree branch in a nest an egg hatches.

Here is to breathing, suddenly the bus stops, for some reason, its waiting for you, because maybe, just for the sake of yielding you into faith, you are meant to find a meaning for all the songs you have ever listened to.

Dependent Personality Disorder:

The search

The thing about falling in love is that it can subtly overwhelm you. It creeps on you, similar to a scene from a slasher film, it overtakes you with feelings suddenly, and it attacks aggressively. It doesn’t allow you to have a moment of nothingness because it wants to outwit you, so it tackles you suddenly. It grabs you from all directions and pulls you towards different directions. It doesn’t give up on you because it requires your total existence, and thus it latches on you. Lying next to him while holding hands, he is wearing a blue shirt and jeans, and I am wearing a shirt that is a darker shade of blue with grey jeans. It looked like a scene from my teenage dreams. His face, in deep sleep, his hand holding mine, the sound of his breath. He appeared to be dreaming, I think to myself, what is he dreaming about. I want to invade him, even in his dream state, I have this eminent desire to merge with him telepathically, instead of being here at arm’s length tied by the hands. My allegiance is to him. In my deepest core, I feel a pull towards him. It may be very well a physical need, I think to myself as I ponder on his lips. Unconsciously I place my hand softly on his arm, my whole body awakes a bit from its sleepiness, I caress his arm, while he remains asleep. I want to wake him up, but I also want to hold on to this moment, I want to give it more life, by diving deeper under its waves, so that it can stretch out and then have it break from the apparent physicality of life. I am not going to fall in love with him, I cannot fall in love with him. A voice, my own voice, screams from underneath the sleepiness in my mind. Like a reminder alarm I saved in my head it wakes me up, and as if he sensed it somehow telepathically, he wakes up too. His hands frees itself from mine, he stretches and his smell takes me away again and silences the alarm in my mind. He smiles at me, and I smile back. I love his smile, it reminds me of that moment when I first saw him. He played this game (of falling in love) before, he is a veteran. The line between game and real are murky, for me anyways, and I want to play the game, I just cannot and I will not play him, even though I know he may be very well playing me, like a chess piece in his game. I felt disposable, but also taken away by his smile. He rises from the bed and leaves to the bathroom. I lay in bed with my racing thoughts, mixed feelings and dizziness. And the alarm in my head gradually but steadily arises again: I am not falling in love.

My name is Abdulla Ahmad, a Resident in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. I am interested in reading and writing within the themes of Psychology and Spirituality.

You can follow me on Instagram: @drabdullah1989

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