"Dancing for mental health"

About: Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

(as the patient),

Since 2000 I have suffered three acute (relatively short periods of) psychotic episodes. I have found that, instinctively, I wanted to dance to keep myself grounded on each of the three occasions.

I feel that dancing has made a big difference to my quite speedy recoveries. The episodes started with severe bouts of depression, and I wanted to "let everything go". Each time I had gone through a period of severe stress, and I felt everything was too much. I danced myself better, even though it may have seemed irrational at the time. Dancing is both uplifting and grounding.

On all three occasions I was able to come off medication really quickly.

I feel that my speedy recovery has been actual proof of dance being very beneficial. I have also found art work (I took up water colour painting in hospital) very helpful. I believe that creative expression is really therapeutic.

I come from a background of severe depression, my mother committed suicide after many years on medication which was no longer effective. She also enjoyed dancing, but unfortunately lacked the self motivation. I believe that some patients therefore would benefit from dancing in a group.

The health care I was given on the first two occasion was under private insurance at St. Andrew's Hospital in Northampton. It was very good.

During my last episode, now one year ago, I stayed in Welland Ward in St. Mary's Hospital. Again, it was very good.

I would recommend that dancing is offered in helping people with their recoveries. Long term it may save money on medication.

I still use dancing as a way of working through feelings. I believe that I became ill because I did not listen to my feelings enough and lived a life that was not true to myself. Art is a helpful tool in self discovery.

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