"Dancing my way to better mental health"

(as the patient),

After a series of upsetting family events and the ending of a very strong relationship I started to suffer very severe anxiety. Before these events I was know to be very laid back and I never used to get nervous about much and I took everything in my stride.

I remember one night as I tried to go to sleep, I had a sudden wave of anxiety hit me. I couldn't breathe or think straight, and then this feeling continued to haunt me for 2 months getting worse and worse each day. I didn't understand what was wrong with me, I couldn't tell you why I was like this. I just thought I was going insane! In these 2 months I barely slept as my anxiety was so awful and this lead to me having a phobia of not sleeping, which of course made things worse.

I was at University while this happened and I went to their doctors. Sadly a number of times the GPs just thought I was trying to get out of meeting my deadlines and refused to give me any appropriate help. The truth was I was desperate for someone to rescue me and tell me what was wrong with me. Then one doctor did take one board my problem after it got so severe that I nearly overdosed on some tablets trying to get just one good nights sleep.

The doctor made appointments just to explain exactly what was happening and methods of controlling this anxiety. He told me that excersise was vital, even if you feel like you can't face doing any, just do it! I had been doing belly dancing for a number of years before university and so I made an effort to do even 20 minutes everyday without fail. After help from this wonderful doctor and my determination to beat my anxiety I finally achieved my goal and returned to university.

My degree was in biomedical science and so in my final year I decided to study neuronal dysfunction which highlighted exactly what does happen down to the cell during many mental illnesses. This surprisingly really helped me understand what happened to me.

The love of dancing really improved my mental health and so I continued a career in belly dancing and now im a professional dancer and teacher! When teaching I often teach my students techniques to reduce stress from the dance such as controlling your breathing etc.

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation as mine then please remember, keep active, don't stop doing the things you love as your anxiety will consume you more. Also go to your doctor and ask them to describe what is actually going on in your body. Once you understand it, its not so scary.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››