Cath Lear (they/them)
Cath Lear is the founder of You Matter Too, a platform that takes an educative, strength-based approach to enhancing mental health and building resilience.
They share their story about how music and dance has helped them to find inner strength and give them the freedom to heal.
It’s only been over the past three or so years that I have dealt with some struggles around my mental health. Being a teacher who has the great honour and privilege of being able to educate young people about mental health within our school system here in Australia, it came as a little bit of a surprise when I finally acknowledged the depression I was going through (though in hindsight all of the signs that I teach students about were there).
I had to make decisions around my boundaries and cut ties in a long term relationship that was doing me more harm than good. The fall out from this decision led to some traumatic situations that I went through and really impacted my thoughts and feelings to who I was as a person and the guilt associated with actions I had to take to support myself. I only realised that the relationship breakdown and the aftermath had caused me trauma after discussions I had with a good friend who also happened to be a psychologist. I had developed trust issues, had guilt that I wasn’t dealing with properly and emotional outbursts that had a large amount of underlying anger.
This is where I was so grateful for my resilience and knowledge and experience around enhancing my mental health. It was these areas that led me to be able to take a great amount of time and effort to focus on myself and what helps me thrive. For me, creativity plays a huge role in my continuing healing and enhancement of my mental health.
Music and dance are my go to! Music gives me two ways to heal.
One is picking my playlists and just listening to a vast array of songs from musical theatre, to cheesy pop, to 90s grunge and my favourite, the 80s! The lyrics in songs are so powerful (like poetry with a soundtrack) and depending on my mood, I will find the songs I want to listen to, that resonate with me, and pump up that volume. Dance links in well here too as once these tunes are going, I am dancing my little heart out, not a care in the world. I am definitely not the best dancer, but it is such a great feeling to let go and have the music move through your soul.
The second way music is in my soul is through playing the cello. I am a classically trained cellist (started when I was 8 years old, played for 12 years until I took up representative soccer) and have recently rediscovered my love for playing after 20 years. Relearning pieces that I used to play, looking at new music and at times, just playing random things that come into my mind. The sounds, the timbre, the feeling it all creates, gives me a level of peace that is close to a form of meditation.
All I can say in the end is, to help your healing, find something that you enjoy and just embrace it. Let it take you on a journey. If it feels good, just go with it.