I hope you dance

by Charlotte Fantelli

I hope you dance.

I am a heavy rock fan. The darker and more powerful the better - a band without chains and leather is usually a band I've never heard of. So this video choice may surprise you, but stay with me on this....

Back before I was a mum, I was an aunty to four beautiful boys (well I still am!) one Christmas I made a video of them all and laid this track over the top. To me the lyrics encapsulated everything I dreamed for them. 

It is how I have lived my life, it is what I wish for my son, and now I ask you to play the video and scroll through my ramblings... I really do hope that you dance too xx

This is me when I was little - well in age, I did like my food :-)

And my beautiful mum.

As a child I loved to dance...

I danced, everywhere, all the time... In fact spent more time on my hands than my feet.

I was no angel, but I felt like I had wings.

My mum was agoraphobic from when I was nearly three after a very difficult period of her life, which included a divorce from my dad.

For eight years my mum battled chronic panic attacks, agoraphobia and tranquilliser addiction.

I kept dancing...

Hoping one day, she would dance with me...

At around eight I remember suffering panic attacks too...

But I kept dancing...

At ten my mum started to get better and met a man, a friend of a neighbour.

It was strange, I suppose at ten-years-old you still hope daddy will come home.

But I kept dancing...

My new 'pop' drank too much.

But she loved him... I loved him...

He hurt her, he hurt me.

It was hard to dance.

But I kept dancing...

I got with guys so early on, searching, hoping...

I was raped at 13.

Panic attacks grew worse, sleeplessness, flashbacks - terrified of the dark.

But I kept dancing...

I fell into the arms of someone that I trusted, that should have known better.

The last of my innocence was taken.

My dancing changed...

But I kept dancing...

I danced through different places, different schools, different towns...

Through different friends, different men...

Through fight after fight.

At 19, I thought I knew it all... I sure thought I knew pain!

I was wrong.

I lost my baby girl, and one day I may just be able to open up about how, but right now I think the only way to describe the pain is to say -

I stopped dancing.

I lost my flight, my dance. My life turned black. The darkness closed in and so did I. I felt pain,anger and hate (for myself more than anyone else).

If it wasn't because I couldn't do it to my mother, who loved me so much, I would have died to free myself from the pain.

PTSD, agoraphobia, OCD, eating problems, insomnia, addicted to bad men and self destruction, a psychotic episode (all prior diagnosis at some point or another) - call it what you will, 'A rose by any other name' - has thorns just as bloody sharp!

Two years in hell, and I say that from the heart of someone who believes in hell, so forgive me if you think me blasphemous.

I thought I would never dance again.

July 2005 I hit rock bottom, I cried out to a God I had never known and asked Him to let me die or let me live - not keep me this way.
I promised I would change and help others who have been through the same pain if I was allowed to dance again.
I cried for the first time in what seemed like forever.
And somewhere deep, deep inside, unbeknown to me I found something that still longed to dance.
Baby steps turned into big leaps and soon after beginning to leave the house I met a man. I fell in love.
I found a psychologist who helped me deal with the past.
I had CBT to help me deal with the present.
And soon that little bit of hope that allowed me to believe I would dance again turned into a tapping foot, then a skip...
Then a dance...
This time I had my husband by my side. 
There was a time I couldn't go into the garden as the outside world held so much fear.
I have now been dancing again for over five years.
I have flown to Sardinia, my husbands birthplace, I have become a mum, I have launched a magazine to the news trade, met celebrities and been interviewed on TV!
I continue my battle.
But I keep dancing...
Photo above from top: Me and - Ruby Wax, with my Italian Mama having ice-cream in Italy, my husband Gabriele Fantelli, my business partner Simon Dolan, on the Michael Ball show with Dr Rob Hicks, my son on the first day of nursery, the Dragon's (Theo Paphitis, Deborah Meaden, Hilary Devey, Duncan Bannatyne and Peter Jones)
And just to let you know, so is my mum, you may know her by now - Liz Lockhart.
There is just one thing left to say, and that is:
I hope you dance x


Hi, Your friend stigmatizes me and I will let it pass "to err is human to forgive divine"

I am sorry to anyone who feels stigmatised. At Mental Healthy I can assure you we do our upmost to ensure everyone is treated with the respect they deserve, whilst maintaining the boundaries, privacy and safety of our staff.

Kind regards,


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I cried all the way through your post. Thank you for sharing... seeing your lovely pics at the end was truly moving. Hope for us all...xxx
She has made a packet, and is not the only one to feel suffrage?

Should that comment be about me, I would like to say that Mental Healthy certainly has not been making 'a packet' with much more private funding going in than coming out. It has been a true labour of love. As for sufferage, if people did not use the experiences and platform they have to inspire others the world would be a very sad place - do feel free to post your own inspirational story on here, I certainly do not claim to, nor certainly would want 'manopoly' on suffering.




Thank you so much for your kind comments. It means so much for me to be able to share my story with others, it certainly makes the darker times I have had more worthwhile :-) Very best wishes for your journey.

Charlotte x

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