Michelle's Kilimanjaro Trek
I am a 31-year-old Dancer, I used to perform in Musical Theatre and within the Dance Industry. In 2012 I had to give up my performing career due to a severe level of anxiety, depression and low confidence – of which I suffered in silence for from a very young age.
I come from a family that does not talk about feelings, depression or anything related to this subject. My dad suffers with type 1 diabetes and when I was just 4 years old, I saved his life when he took an overdoes of his medication. I called an ambulance, got help and saved him.
My Mum and I have a lot of similarities but also very much clash – she’s a very tough and a strongly opinionated person, however did everything she could to give me what I needed growing up. We’ve faced many challenging times together, financially, work difficulties and her struggles with stress and many worries. When I tried to speak to my mum she said “stop feeling sorry for yourself and nobody wants to be around miserable people”. So I suffered in silence and put on a brave face growing up, inside thinking “I wish I wasn’t born”, “I wish I was someone else”, etc. These thoughts crossed my mind almost on a daily basis.
Dance and sport is my passion and happy place, I put my feelings and emotions into my creativity and express myself through movement. I knew dance was what I wanted to do as a profession.
Along with depression, I suffered with bulimia for many years, which tied in with the same issues I was facing in my everyday life and continuously being made to feel that I was no good.
My passion for dance and performing was completely swallowed up by my extreme life struggles, which I no longer wanted to face, and 6 years ago I was sadly very close to suicide. I felt unwanted, useless to the world and didn’t want to forever be faced with these horrendous feelings of constant dejection, distress and disappointment. I needed a way out, years and years of build up came to a head.
I eventually reached out and came clean – it was worth at least trying to talk before I tried to end my life.
Coming out the other side
My mum has now come to a much better understanding of my mental health and is very supportive, as are my close friends and family.
That was the end of my performing career, which is sad as I was so passionate and good at what I did. I just could face the battle of worrying that something bad was going to happen all the time or that everyone was talking about me or judging my every move.
Things have turned around for me, I now teach Dance full time in private Dance and Performing Arts schools in London, and am currently in the process of qualifying to become and examiner. Teaching is the perfect way for me to do what I am most passionate about and also help others chase their dream, whilst providing a strong and secure support network.
Taking on Kilimanjaro
I love being given goals and challenges, it gives me something to work towards and a purpose for doing things, hence why I’m doing this!
I am absolutely delighted to be climbing Kilimanjaro for the Mental Health Foundation, as it's for a personal cause as well as wanting to raise awareness. I can't wait to take on the trek with the rest of the team who have signed up to do it for the Mental Health Foundation. You can support me by donating to my fundraising page here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MichelleCampbell