Using Fantasy Literature to Cope with Mental Illness and Addiction

by Patrick Bailey

Mental health issues and addictions often go hand in hand and cause various difficulties. But a growing movement toward comprehensive mental health care has helped shape this world in many ways. Some people struggling with mental health and addiction issues may turn to fantasy literature like Harry Potter to help them overcome their difficulties. Here are a few reasons why this is such a powerful move that might be the right option for you.

Shows a unique perspective on the world

Fantasy readers often see echoes of reality in the books they read. It’s no accident, as fantasy writers draw on real-world experiences to produce a unique view of the world. Often this reality is a mirror of our own which can teach people new things about themselves. For example, fantasy books may use a variety of metaphors and situations to explore behaviors related to mental health and addiction.

Take a look at books by writers like Frank Herbert. His Dunes series of novels features a fictional element known as “Spice up” it is addictive if consumed in high enough doses. All space pilots in the universe must eat this spice to function, creating a problematic weakness that is exploited by others to gain power. This situation gives a very raw look at the world of addiction.

Takes you out of reality for a moment

Fantasy literature uses intelligent and almost incredibly imaginative minds great writers to create fantastic new worlds of wonder. Many addicted people may react well to these worlds and use them as a personal escape. This respite from their awkward real-life situations is often helpful in helping them cope.

You might not label the novels of the star wars Where star trek “beautiful literature” series. And it doesn’t matter. But both collections create fictional worlds into which people struggling with addiction or mental illness can escape. Equally important, they feature rich characters like Captain Kirk and Luke Skywalker. The emotional connections readers make with the characters can keep them grounded and focused throughout recovery.

Improve personal understanding

Fantasy is not total escape, as many of its harshest critics claim. Instead, science fiction, horror, and fantasy literature use their respective mediums to explore different elements of reality. Usually, people who look like the ones we know in our lives are placed in difficult scenarios and challenged to navigate their way through. This unique perspective can amazingly enhance your overall personal understanding.

Take Orson Scott’s Legendary Card Ender saga. It depicts a young character who grows and learns in the face of a great adversary. At each stage, he is placed in difficult situations. But he uses his intelligence to understand himself and his place in the world. Lessons like these can help those who are struggling with emotional issues and teach them to seek help within.

Improve your imagination

As we age, our imagination can atrophy. And unfortunately, drug addiction also tends to zap a person’s mental energy in the same way. Fortunately, fantasy literature can help. These books are designed to stretch your imagination and inspire you to do more amazing things. And it can have benefits for your mental health.

Take the beautifully written books of Ursula Le Guinn. One of the finest writers of fantasy history, Le Guinn weaved rich mythology, fantasy writing, and imaginative settings into his books. Getting lost in one of his novels for an afternoon is a great way to spark your imagination and better understand potential mental health solutions that might meet your needs.

Strengthens mental resilience

Research has shown that fantasy literature can increase a person’s mental resilience. While some people may retreat too far into an imaginary realm, others use the lessons they’ve learned there as a way to improve their real lives. This is an important lesson for those struggling with addiction.

JRR Tolkien the Lord of the Rings The trilogy offers a fascinating look at the power of mental flexibility in the face of addiction. Young Frodo Baggins is tasked with taking the One Ring to the mountain where it was forged to destroy it forever. During his journey, the pulling of the Ring keeps him in a cycle of addiction. But Baggins stays strong and completes his quest. Stories like this are true for many readers and can help give them the strength of character they need to recover.

Try fantasy literature for your treatment

If you cross drug therapy and you think fantasy can help you, talk to your therapist. They’ll help you find books that can help you during your recovery, whether you’re looking for an escape or something that reflects your real situation. If you catch yourself already re-reading the Harry Potter In order to deal with difficult situations, you might ask your therapist for advice on how to approach your reading in a more structured way.

As always, however, you will need to work with your therapist using traditional healing methods. This option is crucial because you may need help managing withdrawal and minimizing abusive behavior. Fantasy literature should be seen as a method of additional care, not a one-off option. That said, those who use it may find that it offers many surprising benefits. This way you can overcome the addiction using your interests.

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