Medicine of Choice

Feeling completely lost, Dara E. Johnson went to therapy to get some direction. Weekly sessions with a psychologist brought back some painful memories. Dara was diagnosed with a mild form of depression and also suffered from anxiety and PTSD. When psychologists told her she might have to go on medication, she refused. “NO,” Dara told herself, “I am going to fight this with everything I have left in me.”

Dara found an alternative to medicine, the Zumba program. The long-time student and licensed instructor recalled, “I started teaching Zumba class.  I felt alive and I knew that this was the “drug” I needed.  I would look at the faces of each of the participants and see their smiles, and it made me feel good. Dancing to my favorite songs was so therapeutic. Slowly but surely, I was getting better.”

Today, Dara is doing ten times better. Her depression is less severe, and she no longer feels as lost as she once did. “Zumba fitness has changed my life and so many others beyond physical fitness,” she recounts. “It’s providing an opportunity for participants to be mentally fit as well.”Dara’s advice to others: “Don’t ever stop dancing!”