By Anil van der Zee in Capture Dance Words.
My response to the opinion piece “ME is not ‘purely physical” by Hans Knoop, prof. medical psychology (AMC). Gijs Bleijenberg, em. prof. medical psychology (Radboudumc). Frank Snoek, prof. medical psychology (AMC / Vumc). Henriëtte van der Horst, prof. general practice medicine (VUmc) in response to the Dutch health council in the NRC. https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2018/03/23/me-is-niet-puur-lichamelijk-a1596899
After my training as a professional ballet dancer at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, I danced with various international ballet companies. With regards to my last employment I had been living and working in Switzerland. Unfortunately, after a viral infection in 2007, I was forced to end my career.
The days after I got ill I attempted to follow a classical ballet class. However, I had only gotten to the second exercise in the classical training, the plié, when the lactic acid in my muscles got so bad that I felt like I had just danced an entire ballet. I got lightheaded and felt like I had the flu. That feeling lasted about 3 to 4 days in which I felt significantly worse. Suddenly, overnight.
Following the advice of an internal medicine specialist at the hospital I tried cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy (GET). This resulted in me being much more ill for months, and never again regaining the level of function I had before those treatments. This happened because I was asked to exceed my physical boundaries, despite my body indicating that this was a bad idea. Completely counter-intuitive for a dancer as, obviously, we are used to listening to what our bodies tell us.
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