Really need help about what to do!

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Hi im new to this forum. Ive had anxiety a year now and panic attacks and take beta blockers for them .However I go to a full time dance school and I feel that over the two years it has really caused me to break down. The doctor has told me I now have depression as well as Anxiety and I am taking Diazapam (I think its called) to trial a long with a higher dosage of beta blockers and if it doesnt work in a week she will give me anti-depressants. Basically I feel that being at this college has cause me to have all these problems. At the moment I have been given a week off by the college and doctor to have a break from it all. I have been feeling so down because the teachers are constantly telling us we need to lose weight and how important we look is. Also I felt like a particular teacher was bullying me, she would always make comments to me such as 'Who even are you, why are you here', 'I notice you for all the wrong reasons' and simple things such as she will give everyone a position in a dance and then say to me 'Well your just there arent you, always there'. And it led me to feel so worthless and helpless that I just feel completley rubbish about myself. And to make it worse I have no support with collehge friends I told one I has been signed off with depression and she seems to have told the whole year. Ive started talking to a counsellor and that has helped slightly. I just dont know what to do, whether I should leave college and do something because I feel being obsessed with being a perfect dancer is what is making me ill. Right now I am dreading go back there at the end of the week however I may regret it if I choose to leave Ive wanted to dance since I was little. PLease please any advice would be appreciated, I feel so lost and lonely x

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  • Posted

    Hi Beth,

    So sorry you're going through a hard time, dance college is a full on experience, but with depression and anxiety is can feel even tougher. Well done by the way for speaking to a counsellor, it will really help you.

    From reading your post, I get two concerns: firstly your ongoing depression which makes day to day life difficult, especially keeping up with college. And second, the treatment you're getting from the teacher and your friends.

    It is in no way acceptable for a teacher or person of authority to speak to you like that. I've been to stage school and I know these people can be strict, but they should never ever bully you. If this is causing your distress you must speak to another teacher about it. As for your friends, sadly a lot of people don't understand what depression is like, but perhaps have a one on one chat with them and say how upset you are at the moment and you could do with having their support, even while you take some time off. Depression and anxiety can happen to anyone, it is no way your fault that this has happened.

    It's really up to you to have a good think about what you want to do. Dropping out of college will have its consequences, will you go back at a later date? Will you study something else? Will you get a job? All things you need to consider. Stop pressuring yourself to be the best dancer, perfectionism will only stress you out more. I'm sure you are a fantastic dancer because you're at a full time school! Start being kind to yourself, and remember how much you've achieved to be there. On the other hand, if you do choose to leave, it will at least give you time to out yourself first, perhaps you could try some cognitive behavioural therapy or spending more time outdoors to clear your head. Your health is the most important thing, to anyone, but especially to a dancer.

    I hope this helps, but remember just to put yourself first, and if you really think the college is making things worse, then distancing yourself from it, even for a while, may help you get back on track.

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  • Posted

    Thank you so much for your reply it was so useful to me and helps so much to talk to someone! The problem is with talking to another teacher is that the woman that upsets me is the artistic director. Her mother is the principal and her husband is head of acting so it is such a tight knit family run college that I know they wont listen to me. I told them how I felt in a meeting and they basically said that it was just ME taking everything the wrong way. I just feel that the college is full of so much negativity which I have never experienced before? Did you find stage school like this? I feel like I honestly cant talk to anyone they spent the day today asking wher I was and discussing whether Ive left or not... sad I feel like if I was to leave Id have to do something completely different away from dance so it didnt remind me of it. Ive got qualifications so I would be able to get a job. I completeley agree about the perfectionist its just so hard not to be lol xx
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  • Posted

    Ah that sucks, sounds like they're ganging up on you! I don't blame you for feeling really low because of it, it sounds like it's chipping away at you every time you go to college. Luckily with my stage school it was part time and the teachers on the whole were friendly. But I have done work experience at another stage school where the Head was so mean to the pupils, he would shout at them and tell them they look dead behind the eyes! I couldn't believe my ears when I heard him say that, and these were secondary school age pupils, not cool!

    Try not to let other people gossiping get to you, it's none of their business at the end of the day. Hold your head up high whichever decision you make. You don't need to prove anything to anyone, you just need to focus on you and your future. These people may not even feature in your life in 2 or 3 years so don't waste energy worrying about things you can't control. If they have nothing better to do than gossip when you're not there then they are really sad individuals! Behind it all they might just be concerned about you though. They may feel like they're treading in eggshells a bit because they don't really know what's going on. As I said, maybe just have a word with them and say how confused you're feeling. Who knows, if you get them to have a heart to heart with you, they may be able to make your experience at college better.

    I feel like we're often drummed into us at an early age that we must do x y and z to succeed in life otherwise were utter failures. It's not true! We're still so young that we still have the opportunity to make so many choices and changes. If we decide a path isn't right for us, no big deal, we can do something else, it's never too late. I know you must enjoy dance, but if this experience is changing the way you feel and you're losing your passion for it, then there's no point forcing yourself to go and feeling miserable.

    I really feel for you! The performing arts industry is made up of people with incredibly thick skin, and often a lot of nasty people who block out any empathy or emotions to get themselves further, without any care for how others are feeling. I hope it gets better for you!

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  • Posted

    Thanks you have no idea how much has that helped me think! I just had a realisation the other day there is so much more to the world than this. Yes it was a dream of mine but if its caused me to have to take all these pills and have counselling I just dont think thats right and Im starting to disagree with the whole industry so much that perhaps Im just not the right person for it. Its sad but I think youre right I think the treatment has caused me to lose all my passion really! I have only been away two days and although it could partly be down to the tablets I am taking I am already feeling so much calmer. x
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