dance depression

I am struggling to enjoy dancing right now. In the last two weeks, I have actually avoided dancing, which I have absolutely never done before. In fact, dancing is usually what I turn to when I need to pick my spirits up – it has never dragged my spirits down before.

I understand that many dancers go through periods where dancing is significantly less enjoyable than it has been in the past. What is troublesome is how sudden the transition was. It’s not like I lost interest over the course of six months or a year. At ILHC in August, I was so excited and pumped about dancing that I could barely wait for the next thing; but by Jubilee Jazz Revival, approximately three weeks later, I was so depressed about dancing that I could barely convince myself to even attend the Sunday afternoon dance.

A few people have asked what’s wrong, but I have stoutly avoided addressing my sudden change of attitude. Part of this is that I vehemently want to avoid certain conversations with overly-enthused dancers who can’t see the other side (often beginners and intermediates):

  • The Person who Associates Skill with Happiness: “But you’re so good!  How could you not like it?” (Well, first off, I’m not that good; second off, my ability to swing out has little to do with my enjoyment of the action.)
  • The Perky “I’ll Always Love Dancing” Dancer: “How could you not like dancing? It’s so fun and enjoyable and amazing! I will never stop liking dancing.” (Yeah, good luck with that. In fact, that was me about a month ago. What I’ve realized is that for some people, dance is not their thing; and while it is my thing as far as I can tell, that doesn’t mean I love it right now.)
  • The Person Who Places Blame Elsewhere: “It’s probably just that you’re stressed with work / life / whatever. Just get out there and dance – you’ll feel so much better!” (Actually, this is relatively valid, with some recent non-dance-related events. Regardless, I think the issue is a bit more deeply rooted.)

And more importantly, I want to avoid telling all my friends and peers in the dance world, because I’m afraid they won’t understand. Or, they will understand, but they’ll write it off as a non-issue. Or even, I’m afraid of being judged – of being seen as unhappy with dancing for the wrong reasons, if that’s even possible.

I didn’t say my fears were logical – but logic does not change how I feel.

And if I’m honest to my fears, I also don’t want to talk about this because I don’t really understand where my change in attitude is coming from. Dancing has always cheered me up, even in the worst attitudes…so what do I do when dancing is what’s getting me down? The unsettling lack of understanding is causing even further distress, and thus I’ve avoided thinking about it as long as I could.

But I think this all needs to change. I need to analyze what about dancing is causing distress. I know that this depression will not end in me forgoing dancing – I love the community and the activity itself far too much. However, I want to know the source of my frustration so that I can properly nip it in the bud and enjoy swinging out again. Like, now – because honestly, it’s AVS, and there are too many awesome people here to not enjoy dancing.

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5 thoughts on “dance depression

  1. It’ll be back, but don’t force it. You dance for fun, not because you have to. Get out and enjoy a load of other stuff and meet your closer dance friends away from a dance floor – eventually it’s likely you’ll feel the draw back.
    I had a proper slump over New Year in the middle of a big Bristol event, which really didn’t help. I was morose and unhappy with my dancing, making me self-conscious and p*ssed-off with the whole thing. I too suspect some of my non-dancing life contributed to said slump.
    BUT a few months “off” and I was back in gear, big-time. I’m not really sure what happened.
    Try not to beat yourself up or over-analyse. Sometimes you can just have a little too much of a good thing. If you get it back, cool, if you discover something else that really gets you fired up, also cool – but I bet even if that happens, dancing will not disappear from your life – it’s part of you now, it’ll be back :)

    • Thanks, Sara! I think my biggest challenge right now is in fact the aspect of having fun. I am planning to take some time away from dancing — even if it’s just a couple weeks — to work on my life outside of the swing world and get it into a properly less-stressful place. Also, I hope the time away reminds me that dancing is fun, and that people are awesome. Feeling less enthused is natural, sometimes — it’s also just frustrating.

      • A break is always good, from all things. Saw your next post – good stuff – and you’ve realised that you do still enjoy the actual dance bit :)

        As awesomely fun and vital as dancing is – there is always more to life! Enjoy!

  2. Pingback: dance posts: reference / archive | The Lindy Affair

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