Hey hey sweetie pies! If you’ve been following me for awhile then you’re familiar with my relationship with postpartum anxiety and depression. It has truly been one of the most difficult times of my life thus far. In today’s post I want to share part of my story dealing with anxiety and depression – in the midst of a pandemic. Most importantly, I want to share how art is helping me to heal and what that creative process looks like.
My anxiety was so crippling to the point where I couldn’t leave the house and if I did I would cry the entire time. I was always afraid that the car was going to crash. I would think the absolute worst. I couldn’t drive and whenever David would, I was terrified. I would yell and cry because I was so anxious. Depression was one of the darkest seasons in my life. I was experiencing suicidal thoughts, random crying fits, extreme fatigue and insomnia. I literally felt like I had lost my mind, my spirit and my joy – and I had no idea how to get it back.
One night I was sitting outside crying listening to music and this song Trust In You came on. The song spoke to my spirit so much. I literally began to envision this piece with myself and 2 other dancers. The vision was so strong that I reached out to Belle and Loren immediately. I wanted to get in a studio as soon as possible. Finally, something to be excited about. Something to look forward to that would bring me joy. (Dance has always done that for me)
“Then lockdown happened.”
Then lockdown happened. It threw me for a loop mentally and emotionally. WHAT? CORONA? What is that anyways? PEOPLE ARE DYING?!?! It was beyond nerve-wracking trying to navigate that with a young baby. My anxiety wasn’t at it’s worst at that time but it definitely wasn’t gone. What does this mean for my family? What does this mean for my young baby? What does this mean for my mental health? I was slowly getting myself back out there, returning to some sense of normalcy and BOOM. I threw myself back into appointments with my therapist and she upped my dosage. I wanted to get together at a studio to rehearse but couldn’t risk it. As much as I felt doing this piece would be the catalyst for my healing, I couldn’t risk it. I felt risking it would be selfish. How can I put my needs before others safety? Even if I was still on edge 75% of the time. So we ended up doing our rehearsals via FB group messenger. We conducted these rehearsals over the course of 2-3 months.
This piece is just a portion of the full piece. I plan to finish choreographing it and preparing to put this piece on a stage. But until then, I figured we should film what we have so far and share it with you all.
This song made me think of being alone in my room and feeling desperate. I wanted to start off the piece with just me because this journey has been one that I’ve had to take alone. Of course I’ve had help from God, my therapist, my fiance and friends – but this was something that I had to overcome by myself. I wanted this piece to portray someone having a private conversation with God. I wanted to focus on creating different shapes with my body as well as worshipping in truth. Because this piece is to a gospel song, I made sure to pray and be sensitive to the movement that I create. I also knew that I wanted the dance to build similar to the song. So I started breaking the piece down into sections and I’d create a phrase. With each time the lyrics are repeated, another person joins in. Allowing it to build naturally took away the pressure of perfection. I also wanted the movement to feel good as you perform it. That meant being super mindful of transitions and choreographing moment that was often pedestrian.
I’m using this piece to share my story in the best way I know how – Dance. Dance allows me to express myself in ways that I never could vocally. This piece is for all the times that I wanted to end my life. This dance served as a plea to God to save me. This piece is for the restless nights that I stayed up crying. Through creating and performing this piece, I feel a major release. And even though I feel so much better, I know there’s more work to do in terms of healing.
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to like. If you’ve battled mental issues, please share in hopes of normalizing things such as this.
“Creativity is contagious, pass it on.” ~ Albert Einstein