So where was I…
I ran into a freezing November night in 2006. I had less than a tenth of my reason left. I was quite literally insane.
I barely remember that night at all- I supposed it was my brain’s way of cushioning me from the shock, but I’m not sure now (for reasons I will explain later). I just ran.
I found myself “waking up” at three seperate times. The first was when a nice guy asked me how long I’d been at the ballet school I was at (he’d seen the logo on my thin cotton dance jacket) and asked whether I was ok. I said no in the smallest of voices so he wouldn’t hear. The second time was finding both hands curled around a railing of a bridge and one foot on the side, ready to jump. I don’t know what made me climb down. Thirdly, I remember staring at cars, wondering which to jump in front of.
I finally ended up in a pub doorway. There was blaring noise and such a riot inside, happy normal functional people enjoying themselves, that I flinched each time the door opened. I came to with tears on my cheeks, and unbelievably enough, my mobile and keys.
I listened to every single frightened voicemail message from my mum, who was in London that night to see me- I’d got so distressed I’d forgotten. I rang her, and she and my angelic friend from the floor above drove to get me- my friend’s boyfriend provided himself and his banged up van as a rescue car.
I was delirious, hypothermic and burned-out. I chattered nonsense all the way home (so I’m told) and fell into an exhausted sleep at the digs. I’d run a hell of a way across London, and I’m surprised I didn’t do myself more damage than I did- it was -2 when I ran, and gods knew how cold when I was rescued.
I didn’t go to the doctor for this.
Why not, I hear you cry?
Well, folks… It’s because in the world of classical ballet, admitting that there is anything wrong with you is a ticket to being fired. Physical injuries are bad enough- watch “The Agony and the Ecstasy” to find out how little classical ballet dancers are regarded in their own profession. Now, put that amount of derision and anger into the context of a mental health problem, but make sure you add a healthy pinch of misunderstanding and fear into the mix. That is what I faced from a less than understanding school.
I got expelled for being crazy. I could work to the end of the year, and then I had to leave.
Now tell me ballet is a nice, cushy career, and that pointe shoes don’t hurt, because I needed to hear that just one more time.
Everyone who has read this, or followed me: thank you unendingly for your patience and support.