Arts and Anxiety

Guest post!

I have worked in the arts for years. I remember the first time I got on stage and stood in front of an audience. I was 5, and I was in a pink leotard showing off my “good toes, and bad toes” (this is a ballet term for children, where you point and flex your feet).  The arts have been integral to my life, and growth as a person. For a very long time, I enjoyed the aesthetic pleasure that theatre, dance, film and visual art can provide until I started noticing a change in me. When I turned 21, I was thrusted into the BIG WIDE WORLD of “the working life”, which if I’m honest about I was not prepared for. I began to notice that the world wasn’t as easily as I had dreamed of, and no matter how much you plan for life; ultimately life has its own plan. And with that, I felt a change in me. The things that pleased me aesthetically were no longer stimulating me intellectually. So I joined a writers group, and started creating my own shows that dealt with real issues such as identity, race and mental health issues. Putting my thoughts, experiences and feelings on a page helped me to let out all of my pent up frustrations, fears, worries and anxiety. I began to realise the power that the arts has, to help bring social change, raise awareness, highlight real issues and ultimately empower my voice/experience. During 2013, I did a postgraduate in applied theatre, which allowed me to explore, how to use the arts to support and raise awareness on mental health issues and young people. I was amazed to find out that , throughout history the arts has been used as a tool to support the wellbeing of people who have suffered from Depression and Anxiety. But sadly, in more recent years this has now been pushed to the side (due to arts cuts, and new forms of treatment). With this revelation, I became inspired to create my new play “On the edge of me”, which is a Semi autobiographical piece which looks at Anxiety and  Panic attacks.  I hope that through performing and touring my show, I will be able to use theatre as platform to support and raise awareness of these issues. And hopefully encourage others to use the arts as a tool to improve their wellbeing, and empower their voices/stories. I remember reading this amazing quote for Mental health, Psychiatry and The Arts-

‘it is in the participation itself that transformation takes place; whether for healing or learning or both’

On the edge of me has been programmed at the Rich mix, Hifa Festival Zimbabwe and is currently accepting bookings. Please feel free to contact me for more information.