Dance injuries | REbuilding confidence and the psychological impact

Dance injuries | REbuilding confidence and the psychological impact

Injuries can be a devastating experience for dancers, especially when they are at the peak of their careers and booming with opportunities. Dancers will experience some sort of injury at least once during their training. Despite facing injuries it shouldn’t, prevent dancers from pursing their dreams. Whether that is to be a performer, choreographer or an artistic director, always have faith in yourself to rise above the pain and keep it moving!

However….. seeking a therapist or psychotherapist will give you an extra hand in assisting you with your mental well being. Unsure on which services is best for you?

Please visit BetterHelp to learn more on what service is best for you here therapist vs psychotherapists.

It’s better off I share my personal experiences and explain how I pulled through… My injury escalated resulting in me undergoing a major surgery in 2016, where I now live with an ankle condition. And what I know now, is that the impact of experiencing an injury varies depending on knowledge, understanding of safe practice and social support. In my case

Me @ Pineapple studios 2010

1) I did not know the different types of injuries.

2) I found it difficult to pin point the exact cause of my condition in detail.

3) I didn’t realise (at that time) that I was being repetitive with my dance training. I was training too much too quickly.

4) I didn’t know of any dance medical specialists to seek advice from, apart from my dance tutors and doctor. They could only help to an extent.

Although my ankle condition has not prevented me from pursuing my dreams, little did I know it’ll cause a scar on BOTH my body and mind. The ongoing pain, discomfort and numerous consultant appointments caused me such a distress……….psychologically. As a result of this, it left me feeling frustrated, confused and disappointed. My feelings surrounding my injury awakened me to the impact injuries cause for dancers. Not the physical impact, but the psychological impact. I lost (and still working on) my confidence in the studio, my ability to get up and perform, because I was worried that I’d worsen my injury. I started to stand at the back of the class and not putting in 100% effort.

My awakening of the the psychological impact of dance injuries led me to think twice about how I could REbuild my confidence. I took notes and acknowledged other dancers reactions to their injury. So lets look at some of the common psychological stressors that dancers may experience after a (major) injury:

  • Denial Dancers find every possible way to cope with an injury by assuming that it’s not a big deal and that some time along the line things will gradually go back to normal a.k.a. wishful thinking. During those early stages of an injury, we somewhat refuse to acknowledge that their IS a problem. But sadly when we ignore those minor signs in the beginning, that pain will only worsen and worsen…. Where you’d find that the recovery time starts to lengthen and lengthen. What I can say is no one is perfect. I strongly encourage you to share your thoughts and ask questions with close (dance) friends or professionals you are in contact with.
  • Isolation In many dance environments we place such a high esteem on our physical ability. We emphasise far too much on commitment and heavy amounts of training. At times it can be very unrealistic and pressures us to reach those standards, where dancers may fall injured and then feel isolated. Instead of isolation its important to value yourself, your efforts, dedication and overall commitment towards your dance training. So instead of trying to compete with others, try to enjoy your passion and just value your expertise.
  • Self-esteem Dancers often attach their ability to perform with their self-esteem. You can have all of the confidence, energy and crisp technique to get up and perform, BUT when you consistently doubt your ability it all crumbles down…. Low-esteem can negatively impact on your actions and the way you function in the studio. Dancers start to contemplate whether they are capable of mastering a specific dance move. One way forward is to shift the focus towards making improvements and simply accept your strengths and weaknesses.

Overall what I’ve learnt is that it takes TIME to overcome any form of psychological distress caused from injuries. In some cases, this may take longer to heal than physical distress. I’d defiantly advice you to reach out and seek support.

My next blog (next week) I’ll explain more of my specific condition, what type of social support I currently receive and my surgery experience!!!! Hopefully this’ll be great for anyone who is currently seeking social support and for anyone who is thinking of undergoing a surgery.

In the meantime, you are most welcome to drop a comment on this blog. Please let me know your thoughts

Stay posted, stay blessed

Unique Tay


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