This edition addresses the sensitive issue of mental health. It’s been inspiring to read about the struggles that became positive life journeys and the people from all walks of life who turned their life around using the same thing—Pole.
Mental illness is something that is often left unaddressed for a number of reasons. Maybe it’s because you’re embarrassed or scared. Maybe it’s because as a non-sufferer, you find it difficult to comprehend why someone is suffering so badly. Or maybe you just don’t want to dampen the mood by bringing up your issues. It’s time to start addressing it.
As a sufferer of depression and anxiety myself, I know first-hand how difficult it can be to explain to someone how some days you just feel shit for no obvious reason. Sometimes they never really get it and you just put on your brave face and pretend you’re fine. Sometimes that’s the easiest option. But it shouldn’t be your only option.
I was lucky to find pole at just the right time. I was 19 and didn’t have many friends at this point. It was that awkward stage after leaving school where everyone goes their separate directions. I hadn’t found my identity yet. Never one to run away from a challenge, I decided to try burlesque dancing. I was shy and lacked self-confidence. I guess I was attracted to the sexy confidence that radiated from the likes of Dita Von Teese because it was completely opposite to how I was feeling. I typed “burlesque classes Melbourne” into Google and Bottoms Up! Burlesque and Pole School came up. Little did I know this would become my second home.
While scrolling though the website I noticed they also ran pole courses. I’d heard about
Pole Dancing, so I booked into that too. It was there that I was able to discover myself. When I walked into the studio each week I knew it was a place I could express myself with no judgment. I made like-minded friends. I achieved things I never dreamed of. It made
me feel strong and empowered which was something I had never felt before. For the first time in my life I felt accepted for who I was and not only that, outsiders started to see me as strong and sexy.
I feel privileged to have met many others who, like me, adopted pole as their therapy. The pole community is so tight knit and it’s wonderful to be able to share similar stories or struggles with people who understand.
Mental illness is a long term thing, some days are worse than others, but there’s never been a time that dancing hasn’t made me feel better. In addition, I am lucky enough to be part of an amazingly supportive group of girls who I get to see every week and it’s comforting to have that security when I go through a rough patch.
This issue goes out to all of you who have ever had a dark cloud in their head. Embrace this sport, art form and community to your advantage. Whether it’s expressing yourself through dance, achieving a new trick or just venting to the girls (or boys) in class.
Beyond Blue is a not-for-profit organisation which strives to help people from all walks of life who may be struggling with a mental illness.