Art therapy: From surviving to striving


Written by a Youth Studies BA(Hons) NTU Alumni 

Dance and music for me has always been something more than just movement and lyrics; it is something that reminds you of a place, a memory or a person as well as feelings of joy, sadness and exhilaration. Dance has always been there for me at some of the darkest moments of my life throughout my depression, anxiety, panic attacks as well as my mum suffering a huge stroke two weeks before my A level exams were due to begin, now I had the choice to give up or keep going; I chose the latter and it started my journey through art therapy and how I went from surviving to thriving.
I started to dance at the age of 12 which is late in the dance world but it was something that fascinated me. The dedication, feeling the breath and expression from the performer’s and most of all the different styles of dance. I began to share my love of dance during physical education and quickly realised I wanted to study it at A level; I applied and was successful. During this time in my life, I suffered from severe whiplash through dance and was told to rest for six weeks. I just thought to myself how I am going to survive six weeks without dance which I have done for the last six years? This is when I turned to my other love music.
Music is a universal language which connects with each and everyone of us differently, I have a passion for jazz and soul. Jazz is more than a series of spontaneous chords, it connects with me on a deeply personal level; the narrative, the realness and the feelings expressed. Listening to jazz and soul music got me through the six weeks without dancing and enabled me to express my feelings of sadness, anger and frustration.
I began to realise over time that dance and music were my forms of therapy when words were too difficult to express to myself as well as others. Throughout my mental health journey over the past nine years, dance and music has been my one constant and I have been fortunate to share my love and passion for dance and music through my employment working with young people. Dance and music enrich my life in more ways than one through my relationship with my mind, body and spirit, my personal relationships as well my employment.
Never be afraid to express yourself in which ever way you choose to whether this be through art, music, photography, dance, film, blogging and vlogging live the life that enriches you, challenges you and most of all excites you.

For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
Personal Pastoral Support at NTU (general worries and anxiety, homesickness, loneliness, a relationship breakup, or a bereavement)
Support from NTU
Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
Depression advice
Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
Struggling at Uni? Go to Student Minds
10 Keys to happiness

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