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How Ballroom Dancing Saved my Mental Health

# Dance Culture

Just like dancing, sharing one's story is deeply personal, requires vulnerability, and can even be scary. I am dedicated to breaking the stigmatization of mental illness, while helping others find joy through ballroom dance. 

I’d fallen for the “shoulds” in life. You should do this to make money. You should do this to be happy. You should do this to be successful. You should quit dancing. And so I did.

For 8-10 years I felt an emptiness in my heart. 

Until one day, I hit rock bottom. The emptiness grew into a bottomless pit. 

I felt hopelessness and despair; I thought of my family, my nieces, my nephews, my significant other, my dog, and yet, experiencing happiness felt so far removed. Impossible, really.

I hadn’t showered in weeks. I slept through the mornings, through noon, through night. I considered taking my own life. I was diagnosed with a mood disorder, encompassing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

I made a change. I returned to dance. And to no surprise, dance welcomed me with open arms.

Dance lessons feel like trips to Disneyland. Having showcases and competitions on my calendar makes every morning feel like Christmas morning. With dance, life has the joy and meaning I forgot existed.

I now find myself building a human-focused brand with which brings the power of ballroom dance to the lives’ of others. Teaching and learning the Waltz Box isn’t merely about the steps...every day I show up to the office and studio, I am reminded of my journey, who I serve, and the potential for me to help them feel like they’re meant for more.

To close, I’ll share an interaction I had with a friend

After I lost my husband, I had a hole in heart. When I’m dancing, it feels filled,” she said. 

I simply smiled at her, because while our stories are different, I couldn’t agree more.

You can hear more about my experience here.

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