Slight change to my usual posts but still completely relevant to my blog!
I posted a while ago a post called When The Nerves Kick In which was all related to my dance exams at the time and how nerves can affect my dancing.
Almost a year later and having experienced some quite scary anxiety attacks over recent months, to the point of ending up in a&e a couple of times, I have been thinking more about how anxiety impacts my dance journey and is it really something I can control?
I’ve been asked many times before by my Dance Teacher ‘what is it that happens when you’re at the competition? Why do you feel nervous? Can you identify what’s making you feel like that? What can you do to stop that from happening?’
It’s only in the last week or so that I’ve realised that there’s not necessarily a tangible reason why as I’m about to go onto the floor I suddenly get pains in my chest (I know it’s anxiety and not cardiac!), I can feel light headed, pins and needles, stomach pains and so on. It just happens!
This is where experiences more recently of these panic attacks that come out of the blue come in. When I have ended up at hospital, hooked up to an ecg monitor, having bloods taken and constantly watching the blood pressure and heart rate monitor, I have been perfectly calm in the few hours leading up to it. There’s no pattern, no reason, my heart races and I’m suddenly in a state! My Cardiologist is quite sure my heart is fine (I do have a heart murmur but it isn’t related).
Having thought more about this and during a general conversation with my Teacher, I realised more and more that actually, I’m not necessarily petrified at a competition like I have claimed to be in the past……perhaps a little nervous, mixed in with excitement and that is perfectly healthy. Perhaps however these attacks are part of a ‘general anxiety’.
I have always been a person at competitions to sit with plenty of other people, chatting and watching the rounds go by. The last couple of competitions, I have decided to try spending just a little time on my own, perhaps at the back, jumping around to warm up, but mostly to gather my thoughts. This in itself seems to have a positive impact on my general state of mind…trying to stay calm in a sea of panic and excitement mixed together can prove difficult so removing myself from that even for five or ten minutes allows me to breathe.
I’ve started to also think that when I’m about to go onto the floor, those anxious feelings are only there sometimes and worrying about getting anxious in itself is self-destructive as that can and probably will bring a panic attack on!!
The point I’m making is, general anxiety can get you down. Panic attacks can occur without warning and may even have been attributed to be by life events over the month or week prior to the competition and have nothing to do with the day itself! Long week at work, a few late nights, life stresses and so on.
I think I have spent time worrying about something that may or may not happen …..
I am dancing in a competition this Sunday (tomorrow in fact by the time this is published) and to prepare I have spent time each night before going to sleep, visualising the event and being calm and dancing well and so on.
So can I control it? In short, no, I don’t believe I can, but I am sure as hell I won’t be allowing it to control me!
I’m a Dancer……I can do this!
Has anxiety held you back with anything like this? I’d love to know.
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think in the comments box below or on my facebook page. Follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook….links below🙂