Dancing did not create a monster

This post is quite a significant one for me to write. For you guys reading it might not feel like such a big thing, but for me it’s just massive.

I’m taking a break from writing about anorexia.

This post will be my last one for a little bit about my ED. This week is EDAW, so I feel that it would be worth me talking about my ED, but after this one I’m taking a break.

I’m still going to be blogging, I’ll still be here. I might still post a few things about mental heath because I think it’s a really important topic, but anorexia will take a bit of a back burner.

This does not mean I’m recovered. I’m not, I’m really not. But I am making progress.

I once spoke about how I’m seeing a councilor and how that’s really benefited me. After my session today I came away more determined than I had in a while.

We’d been talking about my identity.

I’ve found that my eating disorder has become my identity. I feel that it’s the only interesting thing about me, the only important thing about me. Anorexia has become the most exciting thing about me.

However, I have so much more to offer than an illness.

I have my relationship with God and I have such a strong desire to tell people about him. I write story’s and poems. I take pretty photos and play too much Minecraft.

There is so much more to me than anorexia and for this reason I want to take it out of the spot light.

So this will be my last Recovery post for a little bit. It could just be for a week, it could be for a month, it could be for two. But I don’t want anorexia to get anymore attention than it already does.

I’m opening the floor up to you guys as well. If there’s anything that you’d like to see specifically on this bog, let me know in the comments. I’m up for a laugh and to try something new.

Now that’s off my chest, let’s get on with the post.

A perfectly healthy 15 year old me.

Fourteen years ago I started dancing. My mum enrolled me into two local dance school at quite a young age.

I was a hyperactive child who could never keep still. I can fully understand why my mum was desperate for me to go somewhere to burn off some of my never ending supply of energy.

Ballet was my strength. I was expected to go very far and always did excellent in my exams. However, I only did ballet for about three years. I just didn’t get on with the other girls in my class.

Freestyle was not my strength. I was good at it, but I wasn’t the best in the class by no means, or at least not to begin with. But all my friends went to the class, not too mention that a class was held at my primary school every Monday, so it was convenient.

Freestyle disco jazz sounds like a strange mish mash of styles and a bit wishy washy. But it wasn’t. Competitive it is a brutal and demanding style of dance.

When I was 11 I started to train to become a competitive dancer. By 12 I had taken part in my first competition.

Competing was demanding. I would attend several classes a week.

I trained and trained.

By the age of 15 I was the best dancer in the school. In my final exam I came away with a score of 92%, The assistant teacher also took her exam, she got 94%. Competitive dancing might not have been my strength, but boy I could dance and I was good.

So why am I telling you this?

A few weeks ago I had to fess up to someone about having anorexia.

There was a trip abroad that I was offered to go on through college. My tutor didn’t understand why I didn’t want to go and ended up pulling me aside at the end of class. Going away for two weeks with no support would be a terrible idea right now, so I had no choice but to tell them. It was their response that inspired this post.

They said that they once knew a girl with anorexia and that she was a competitive dancer too.

I can’t recreate tone of voice in my writing (I’m not that good) but the way they said it puzzled me. They said it in the way that made me feel that her being a competitive dancer was the reason that she had anorexia.That’s all there was too it, she danced and therefore she had an ED.

This struck a nerve with me. As a retired competitive dancer I found it quite upsetting because I loved the sport so much. So I want to set the bar straight today.

Dancing does not cause eating disorders.

It’s plain and simple. If a child steps into a studio, they will not walk out with an eating disorder just because it was a dance studio.

You are more likely to develop an ED as a dancer.

The constant scrutiny of how you move and look can take it’s toll. The fact that you can be staring at yourself in a mirror for five hours a week is unhealthy. You are far more likely to compare your body to others. The demanding exercise and training can be very dangerous and soon can become obsessive. But dancing alone will not cause you to develop an eating disorder.  

For me, anorexia has very little to do with my weight. The weight lose and obsessive behaviors are a very obvious symptom and are the most occurring ones,  but it goes far deeper than me just wanting to be thin. There are things in my past that have made me vulnerable and it’s the issues that caused what developed anorexia. Dancing had nothing to do with it. In fact I loved my body the most when I was dancing. 

Yes I had self confident issues, sometimes I waned to lose weight. But I did not have anorexia as a dancer. It was a whole year after dancing that the first symptoms of my ED appeared. A whole year!

Sports can promote eating disorders.

I had a friend who used to be a figure skater, she also suffered from anorexia. I had another friend who was recovered, she’s never stepped foot in a dance studio or ice ring in her life and yet she still had an ED.

This week is Eating Disorder Awarness Week.

If there’s anything that you take away from this slightly ranty post, let it be this.

Anyone can develop and eating disorder. You could be a dancer, a figure skater or you could despise exercises, it doesn’t matter. Eating disorders don’t discriminate.

I’ll say it again.

Eating disorders don’t discriminate.

However, they are more common in certain sports. But what ever you do, don’t brush over a person’s ED just because they were a dancer for example. Don’t tell them to quit the sport and think that the problem is solved. I can guarantee you it goes a lot further and a lot deeper than their appearance.

I was a dancer for 11 years and it did not cause me to develop anorexia. My circumstances and mental health caused me to develop it. Dancing had nothing to do with it.

Doesn’t mean it’s that way for everyone. But don’t blame the sport I loved for my ED.

Dancing did not create the monster.

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