How dance helped my mental health recover

3 min read
31 January 2019

When I was struggling with my mental health, I found overcoming those struggles a battle.

I battled with myself for a long time after being knocked down by bullying and I didn’t see myself getting back up again. Bullying knocked my confidence and made me feel worthless. I honestly didn’t see a very bright future for myself. But something changed for me.

A love of dance

I have always loved to dance from a young age, starting ballet and tap at the age of three and dreaming of being a ballerina. But this was always just a childhood dream. I never thought after losing my passion for years that I would find it again during the most difficult time of my life.

I never liked dance from year seven to year nine (we studied it at school as a compulsory lesson), and I couldn’t wait to get rid of it. When I started secondary school it was a lot easier to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others and I always feared being judged. But at the end of year nine I decided to join our school's dance club and ended up taking dance at GCSE, which was definitely the best decision I made.

A difficult transition

Going into GCSEs was a difficult transition for me and coming out of a difficult year made it even harder. Year ten wasn’t too much easier, but I started therapy after things became too much and I was struggling with everyday life. My motivation dropped a lot and my world continued to get darker.

I suddenly felt in control of my feelings.

But having dance classes to go to every day gave me something to focus on. It was a place where I could let go and express myself. My love of dance only grew throughout year ten and 11, helping me through the exam stress and overcoming battles with myself. I suddenly felt in control of my feelings and finally felt like I had some sort of connection with myself in the dance studio.

A new perspective

I would encourage anyone struggling with their mental health  to find something they can do that they enjoy and can express themselves through. Sometimes talking can be really hard, and it’s such a difficult first step to take. But I know that dance helped me feel more able to communicate with others about how I was feeling and accept help rather than resist it. It changed my whole perspective on life and allowed me to reach a brighter future, which I am thoroughly enjoying.

Dance helped me feel more able to communicate with others.

Creativity isn’t limited and creative subjects like the performing arts really do have an enormous amount of power to help us change our perspectives on life.

Give yourself time

You can overcome your mental health struggles, but please don’t put pressure on yourself if you’re struggling to express yourself through words. There are so many things that can help you overcome difficulties in your life. This passion might be clear for some people and more hidden for others, but it is there. The words will come…you just have to give them time.

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