Rosa Montero: Normalizing mental health “will change our lives”

The Spanish writer Rosa Montero assures in an interview with Efe that it is very “encouraging” that in the last year people have started to speak openly about mental disorders, because this normalization “is going to change our lives “.

“It’s been a taboo and it’s been a terrifying stigma, and it still is, but luckily last year there was kind of an explosion, the lid was taken off and mental health issues are being talked about. openly for the first time”, indicates the National Prize for Letters 2017.

Mental health and the union between creation and madness are the axis of his recently published book “El danger de estar sane”, presented in Puerto Rico during the International Congress of Writers, which ends this Thursday in the city of Caguas.

THE DETONATOR OF THE PANDEMIC

For Montero, who admits to having had panic attacks between the ages of 16 and 30 and who considers “very conservative” the data of the World Health Organization (WHO) according to which one in four people will suffer from a mental disorder, the pandemic has played a key role in this change.

“The price to pay for this has been high because it has happened this way because the pandemic has aggravated mental health well. So the pressure was so great that the lid was blown off”, says the author of hits like “La hija del cannibal”, “Lágrimas en larink” or “La loca de la casa”.

Although there are “a lot of steps” to be taken, the writer and journalist believes that the fact that “high profile, public knowledge people are admitting their own crises is very good”.

Montero, who has an honorary doctorate from the University of Puerto Rico, also addresses, both in his new work and in the interview, the link between creation and madness, which Aristotle was already talking about.

“We always believed that creation and madness were linked in a certain way, linked, and I asked myself this question since I was little, because I always felt that my head was a little full of holes and full of imaginations and dreams,” she says. .

“A DIFFERENT WIRING OF THE BRAIN”

The theory he develops in “The Danger of Being Sane” is that writers, artists, and creators, in general, are people with “different brain wiring.”

“Our brains haven’t been pruned. There is a pruning of neural connections around 12, 13, 14, in adolescence, for the brain to focus on useful things, but there are a number of people in whom this pruning does not occur,” he explains.

Those who continue to have “tremendous imagination” are, according to Montero, “the creators and the mentally ill”, who have less faith in reality and see it as a mirage.

“I believe that there are 15% of people who cannot believe with complete certainty, security and naturalness in reality, which seems too slippery to us, and that is why we need a bridge words,” he says.

A bridge of words that also helps to face death, a recurring theme in Montero’s works. Mítica is the trilogy of replicant detective Bruna Husky: “Tears in the Rain”, “The Weight of the Heart” and “Times of Hate”.

LOSE THE FEAR OF DEATH THROUGH WRITING

“Can you write about something else?” asks the author, who also won the Spring Novel Prize in 1997 with “La hija del caníbal”.

“I believe – he continues – that it is the great drama of the human being, and the great mystery, the great enigma, the great barbarism because it does not fit in our heads, death does not fit in the head of the living”.

Despite his fears of death and his obsession with it, he believes he has made “progress” through writing: “I write to lose the fear of death,” he emphatically asserts.

Four decades in letters, since he published in 1979 “Crónica del desamor”, which Montero evaluates positively.

“There is one thing that makes me very happy and that is that I am clear that I write much better now than when I started”, declares the writer, before concluding that it gives her “a feeling of ‘accomplishment and serenity’.

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