A Bradford woman says Bollywood dancing became her cure after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in her late teens.
Mother of two from Thornbury, Sonita Mitra first fell in love with the star-studded stories of passion and tragedy seen in Bollywood movies as a child.
But when she started facing mental health issues at the age of 16, Bollywood became her escape from the world.
“I used to watch Bollywood movies and be totally mesmerized and imitate dance moves,” said the 49-year-old.
“Looking at bright colors makes me feel good. Dancing is a kind of medicine for me. It’s in my soul.”
“Ever since I was a kid, it’s been my escapism.
“A Bollywood movie is three hours long, has a lot of powerful songs in it, and the music is very uplifting.
“When you’re sick, music and movement can help. A healthy body, a healthy mind, it’s all connected. It gives you hope that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It gives you hope.” It gives you pleasure.
“In depression it feels like it’s clouded over the whole time. But you have to talk yourself out of it.”
Sonita moved from Ilford, East London, to Bradford in 1994, feeling “isolated” in her new city.
She left school with a low GCSE score and gave birth to her first son shortly after arriving in Bradford.
On a mission to find her purpose, she booked herself into several different courses.
“I took control of my life and went to any course that had crèche,” she said.
She started with small courses and eventually completed NVQ Level 2 in Business Management and IT.
I started working as a civil servant in 1997 and never looked back.
Sonita says: I was hospitalized and had it removed. But my resilience and passion for dancing always helped me to recover quickly from my injuries. ”
From Pakeezah and Sholay to Shaan and Qubani, these iconic dramas are set to inspire the next chapter of her life.
The year she turns 50, Sonita wants to help more people through dance after decades of free workshops and dance-based volunteer work.
Her volunteer work has already seen her host classes at the Bradford PHAB Club and Ascendance, and has showcased her dance at the 2007 International Indian Film Academy Awards.
Sonita has also appeared in a Channel 5 documentary about how dancing helped her symptoms of manic depression.
“My love for Bollywood never stopped. It was always there,” she said.
“At weddings and parties, I’ve been known to be the first on the dance floor and the last to leave.
“Music and dance alone bring me out. It brings out the best in me and I’m so bubbly and happy.
“We are very lucky in Bradford. There are so many resources to tap into. For those with mental health issues, we need to reach out, make that call and help get out of that dark place.” You must accept that
“Moving forward requires a positive mindset, and only you can do it.”
In a message to others, Sonita said: If you are passionate about something, never stray from it – always have it in your life. Creativity is paramount.
“Life isn’t all about bills and stress. We’re here as humans. We need to take care of ourselves. That’s where creativity comes in. Don’t forget your passion. Don’t forget your passion.” lose track of.”
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