NICOLE | Coping strategies for anxiety and trauma

[Nicole's footsteps]
[Solemn music plays softly]

[NICOLE] When I was little
I always wanted to grow up and be a dancer.

[Background chatter]

I was really loud and bubbly
and bright and laughing, always.

[Train horn sounds]

I was put in a position
where a very, very familiar and comforting
environment was no longer safe.

It was something that I had to endure
for some time

and endure alone.

I started to exhibit
OCD tendencies
that led into pulling my hair.

My confidence was just further deteriorating

[Music swells, ethereal vocals begin]

Out of school I was still very 
much in the headspace
that I wanted to dance full time,
to create a professional career out of it.

But after I completed my dance course,
I unfortunately ruptured my hamstring,
and that just made me feel
broken again.

I loved dancing.
It was this one thing,
this one outlet that allowed me
to digest my emotions, and
I had to give it up.

I lost routine.
I would just lay there 
and stare at the ceiling.

and because I was then really not in check
with with my emotions
a lot of that backlash would really impact
my relationship with my partner.
I would push him away.
And he casually suggested,
maybe you just need to speak to someone.

[Keys jingle]

It was terrifying.

I remember going to a GP 
explaining that I'm just
I'm not doing okay.

They weren't asking why I felt like that,
they were simply saying, okay,
we understand you feel that way
these are the options that we can explore.

And I think that was a switch,
that it wasn't something 
to be judged or pitied on.
It was something to figure out
how to manage.

[Violins swell]

I was diagnosed with 
post-traumatic stress disorder
and with that other diagnosis
was trichotillomania
which is the compulsive hair picking,
as well as anxiety and depression.

Once the floodgates opened,
I realised that those closest to me
would understand me better
and would be able to support me better
if I explained
what had happened to me.

There's times where I'm doing great
and I feel like I've got a handle on things,
and then there's sometimes
where I just have to stop and let myself
have those emotions and have those days
where I don't feel 100%.

My focus with dance now 
is to use it as a place of happiness.
It's more the social aspect of it
and the connections
that you make with the people 
that you dance with.

You're not trying to fight this battle
by yourself anymore.

There's hope and there's things to look forward to.