I have always known that there is something wrong with my mind. When I was six or seven years old, every day before going to bed, I would ask my mother to hide a small piece of jewelery in the house, a hidden copper skillet, the typical cheap souvenir shop item or maybe Christmas presents too. a restaurant. And I asked him not because the ugliness of the pot bothered me, which would have been a little strange but somehow different, but because I had read somewhere that copper was poisonous, and I was afraid that I would fall asleep in the middle of the night and Wear the pan for licking. I’m not sure how such a thought could happen to me (with the grim circumstance that I’ve never been a sleepwalker), but it still struck me as a bit strange. This didn’t stop me from being able to clearly imagine sucking the metal, and for a while, horrified, I told my mom that Please please I never stop hiding the object in a remote location, if possible a different place each time, so that it is impossible for me to find it. My imagination, as you can see, has always galloped on its own. And my Divine Mother nodded very seriously and promised to keep it well protected. She used to magically understand children, and besides, now I think similar things must have happened to her as a child. Because it also had a flying head.
One of the cool things I’ve discovered over the years is that being weird isn’t weird at all, contrary to what the word indicates.
Most importantly, when I became an adult I learned that copper is not toxic. I mean, not so toxic. Of course, it can cause intoxication, but in large and prolonged doses, and the first symptoms are only diarrhea and nausea. I could suck on the damn skillet for a long time without anything happening. It’s something that happens very often: You’re growing up and one day you suddenly find out that something you firmly believed in as a kid was a lie or nonsense. Life is a constant rewriting of yesterday. A reconstruction of childhood.
One of the cool things I’ve discovered over the years is that being weird isn’t weird at all, contrary to what the word indicates. to be a really, really rare thing Simple, An investigation published in 2018 by the Department of Psychology at Yale University (USA) confirms something that is obvious when you think about it: mediocrity does not exist. Because the concept of normal is a statistical construct most often derived from. First, the fact that a symptom occurs less frequently does not indicate a pathological abnormality, such as being left-handed (only between 10 and 17% of people in the world are left-handed); but that, moreover, as the role model of the individual Simple Created with statistical averages of a plurality of records, there should not be a single person on the planet who scores full marks in the set of values. We all have some difference of opinion at the bottom of our hearts. We are all weird, though, yes, some more than others.
I would also say that being a little weirder than usual is not uncommon either. In fact, it often occurs among creators to put it mildly; In all kinds of artists, whether they are good or bad. That’s exactly what this book is about. Of the relation between creativity and a certain extravagance. Does creation have anything to do with hallucinations? Or does being an artist make you more prone to mental imbalance, as has been suspected since the beginning of time: “No talent was great without a touch of madness,” Seneca said. Or Diderot: “How similar are genius and madness!”. And by genius, I insist, we must understand all kinds of creative individuals, regardless of their quality, because I believe that the worst and most sublime artists share the same basic mental structure. The formidable (and depressive) Clarice Lispector had already pointed it out: “Business differs from talent. You may have a vocation and not a talent. That is, how can it be called without knowing.
Returning to the abundance of hobbies among creators, and to mention a few as an appetizer, I would say that Kafka, in addition to chewing each bite thirty-two times, did naked gymnastics with the window open and a cold bald head; Socrates always wore the same clothes, walked barefoot and danced alone; Proust went to bed one day and didn’t come out again (and also Valle-Inclan and Uruguayan Juan Carlos Onetti, among many others); Agatha Christie wrote in the bathtub; Rousseau was a masochist and a pretentious one; Freud was afraid of trains; Hitchcock for Eggs; Napoleon, to the cats; And the young Colombian writer Amalia Andrade, from whom I have collected the last three examples of the phobia, was terrified as a child that trees would grow inside her body because she swallowed a seed (I find it similar to licking copper). Rudyard Kipling could only write in very dark ink, even the blue-black already seemed “an aberration”. Schiller put the spoiled apples in the drawer of his desk, because he needed to smell the rot in order to write. In his old age, Isaac Dinsen ate only oysters and white grapes along with some asparagus; Stefan Zweig was an avid collector of autographs and used to send three or four letters a day to his favorite personalities asking for their signatures… not to mention Dali, who was always the king of extravagance.
But I think there are many others who, although they have not dedicated themselves to the arts professionally, are still imaginative and frantic. I remember a friend of friends, a woman who was exceptionally calm and level-headed; One day she explained to me that she always collects her nail clippings and puts them in a matchbox, and that when she got divorced, she sent one of those boxes to her ex-husband. The story was so shocking to me that I included it in an article published in the newspaper Country Many readers wrote to me about the strange behavior, and to my surprise, doing the same thing. Rarities abound.
So I’m sure many people would have identified with the first sentence of this book. People who were perceived as separate and even inadequate as children. And it’s that we’re not only talking about a more or less harmless mania, like, for example, tearing and eating fingertip skins (it’s called dermatillomania and I have it), but that huge, unremarkable , also about the fearful and dark inner realm we commonly call madness. A silly and brilliant name.
According to the World Health Organization, one in four people on earth will suffer from a mental disorder at some point in their life.
More than three hundred million people on the planet suffer from depression and the worst part is that the incidence seems to be increasing (between 2005 and 2015 the total number of affected people increased by 18%). About 800,000 people commit suicide each year (in Spain, about 4,000). 1% of humans will develop some form of schizophrenia during their lifetime and 12.5% of global health problems are caused by mental illnesses, more than cancer or cardiovascular diseases. According to the World Health Organization, one in four people on earth will suffer from a mental disorder at some point in their life. They are shocking statistics, but even worse are those that refer to the mental state of the actors, and especially the writers, who take the cake in apparently crazy things. Yes, I know we all immediately think of Van Gogh’s bloody ear when we talk about crazy composers, but various experts agree that plastic artists suffer less imbalance and musicians suffer far less. While those of us who dedicate ourselves to putting words together, we do more to cause mental breakdown. According to a famous study by psychiatrist Nancy Andreasson of the University of Iowa (United States), authors are four times more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder and three times more likely to suffer from depression than non-constructive people. Of course, he credits the authors with vigor, enthusiasm, and a high dose of energy, as contradictory as it may sound (note the data: this is important and we’ll get back to this). Other researchers, such as Jamieson and Schildkraut, state that 40 to 50% of creative writers and artists suffer from a mood disorder. It’s like playing roulette with a lead ball: you have a good chance of hitting it.
It already touched me. I’m part of the general statistic, of the 25% of people who will face some sort of mental problem in their entire lives, and, therefore, also the special statistic of crazy writers. I have suffered from panic attacks from the age of seventeen to thirty, not all the time, fortunately, as they must have been quite disabling, but were expressed in about three periods, each a year or a year and a little more: First, as I say, at seventeen; second, at twenty-one; Last, at twenty nine. Mine, in short, is not depression, but suffering. But when you say you’ve had a panic attack, people who haven’t been to that deep sea don’t understand what you’re talking about. They think you mean to be stressed, to worry too much about something, to get angry. I see how they look at me and think: Oh, wow, this happened to me once. But no, it hasn’t happened to them. Panic attacks are something else. This is an unknown dimension, a journey to another planet. Mental disorder is a sudden and unpredictable lightning that knocks you down. Its devastating arrival is akin to serious domestic accidents. Imagine, for example, a slip and fall in the bathroom that breaks your back: A second ago, your life was normal and vertigo, painless and sequential, it came from the past and projected toward your small and near future. went (bath, get dressed and go to work, or brush your teeth and go to bed), and a second later, without guessing or even thinking about it, you find yourself horizontal and broken Happened, stunned, helpless, soaked in unspeakable pain, being erased from their lives. Your reality is long, or forever, if the injury is significant. In the same way mental crisis descends on you. It looks like it has come from outside and will kidnap you.
‘Danger of being sensible’. Rose Monteiro. six barrels. 360 pages. €20.90.