Juhi Bhatia, from Smallman Street, was on her usual morning commute from Stafford to Birmingham in May when she was overwhelmed by an anxiety attack.
The 35-year-old said: “Anxiety struck me like a bomb and disorganised my inner-self completely.
“At the time, I had been very focussed on completing a presentation on understanding the funding landscape in the UK for smart energy systems. This was for a UK government official, and I was leading the £1m project.
“Suddenly my body shook, and I was all in a sweat. I felt as if a high voltage battery had been attached to my heart and it was beating faster than the speed of the train.
“Questions flew through my mind; what is happening to me? Why can’t I control myself? Is this a heart attack? Or asthma attack? And at the station, I fainted.”
Juhi’s GP suggested she was experiencing anxiety, although at the time Juhi didn’t understand the condition.
She said: “I couldn’t believe I was struck with mental illness. Perhaps with a passionate professional life, two active kids and a full family life, I wore out my batteries. I was on a rollercoaster ride from 5am and was working 18-20 hrs every day. I forgot to take care of myself.”
Juhi spent the next two months at home feeling isolated and hopeless. She said: “A big bubble of fear embraced me with negative thoughts. I lost my appetite and couldn’t sleep and I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I was unable to stand properly or do any work, where earlier I was a super woman doing everything with satisfaction and perfection.”
Juhi began researching Mindfulness and discovered BhangraBlaze, which allowed her to use her passion for dancing and Indian Punjabi folk music to aid recovery.
She said: “BhangraBlaze helped me to get rid of my medications, which were making me very sleepy all the time. Dance or movement therapy is based on the belief that there is a fundamental interconnection between mind and body and what happens to the body can effectively influence the mind and vice versa.”
Juhi became a fitness instructor for the Leicester-based dance movement, BhangraBlaze. She now wants to help women with multiple responsibilities to understand that they need to have some time off.
“I feel dance makes everyone happy and gives the feeling of togetherness, trust in oneself and uber-confidence – which is just the opposite to the feeling of anxiety,” she said.
“BhangraBlaze has helped me overcome my anxiety. When I am dancing I feel like I have detached myself from all the negativity and I am just happy.
“Now North Staffs Mind is helping me to spread the word that dance can be a positive way to fight your anxiety and stress and to help others.”