Damián Alcolea : “Self acceptance is the key to change”

8 Oct. 2019 | SOLTRA, SOLTRA

"We must face fear and accept uncertainty as part of life"

Damián Alcolea : “Self acceptance is the key to change”

8 Oct. 2019 | SOLTRA, SOLTRA

Damián Alcolea (Socuéllanos 1979) is an actor and writer who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as far as he can remember A mental health professional diagnosed him at age 13 and that was when he began a a long way with efforts and acceptance that last until today. He has performed in series like Aguila Rojaor El Internado, lectures throughout the national territory and he is the author of Tocados, a novel that narrates, in a fictional way, his own experience with the TOC.

In 2018, Damián gave a speech defending the rights of people with mental illness before the Congress of Deputies on World Mental Health Day. The actor and writer is an example of how to accept oneself, not to overcome a mental health problem.

We talked with him for a while to get to know him a little better:

-You had the opportunity to speak on World Mental Health Day last year. If you did it again this year, what message would you highlight?
On the one hand, I would highlight the urgency of the need for greater investment in the public mental health system. We need more psychologists. It is really a national emergency. Because in most cases, only those who can afford it can have quality psychological care.
On the other hand, I would also highlight the urgency of humanizing psychiatric care as much as possible by eliminating mechanical restraints and the widespread overmedication.
And finally, I would again emphasize the issue of stigma associated with psychic discomfort. We cant forget that mental health is everyone’s business, so we all have to favor the social conversation about it.

– You have published a novel, TOCADOS, what did this achievement mean to you?
Publishing TOCADOS was a before and after in my life. It opened me to the world of writing. But the most important thing for me was that it allowed me to reach many people through fiction, particularly people who have OCD, anxiety disorders or depression, and remind them that they are not alone, and that it is possible live with psychic diversity and be happy.

-Are you currently working on any other book?
Yes, I am working on a novel that deals with bullying and the power of art to change the world.

-You are also an actor, What does that do for you?
Performing, interpreting other people’s lives, I feel free. In addition, the theater offers you the opportunity to “meet” with the public, to make them laugh or to thrill them live and direct. It certainly gives me that connection experience.

– In addition, you give lectures to raise awareness about the OCD. How would you summarize the message you transmit during your presentations?
My goal is to break the social stigma associated with OCD and with psychic diversity in general trying to make understood that it is an issue that affects us all. And on the other hand, I seek to convey hope to people who are living with OCD and who feel lonely, lost or dejected. I intend to show that you can live with OCD and have a full life as long as you have the necessary tools. And, humbly, I try to convey the necessary motivation to ask for help if they have not already done so.

-Any challenge or new dream in sight?
Currently I have the challenge of returning to the theater with a small show of my own.

– If you had someone with big dreams like yours who had to overcome a difficulty like you do, what would you say?
I have a mantra that has helped me a lot in life: “I am enough, I am valuable, I am perfect. I would recommend using it and telling that step by step the path is made and with perseverance you reach the goal. Believe in yourself and everything will be possible.




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