Abbie's Story

Abbie by a harbour

I was diagnosed with severe depression from the age of 15 which I battled until I was 19 years old. This affected my late teen years. When I was diagnosed, I found I didn’t have the support I needed from doctors, family or friends, in order to recover. Everything went in a downward spiral and the feelings I experienced made me feel very alone and I did not want to be around anymore. I found life events or stressful situations triggered my depression.

I knew I had to do something to change my life.

There is a lot of stigma attached to mental health and I don’t think it is taken seriously enough.

I always got labelled as crazy, moody, always unhappy and mental.

I always found it easier to put on a front rather than explain to people. I want to share my experience of what I did in order to help others, as talking is such an important role in recovery.

After I finished college, I found pressures lifted greatly but towards the end of my depression I was left with feelings of not being confident enough in anything, alone from losing friends, I seriously hated the way I looked and I felt confused with life.

That’s when I competed in my first beauty pageant. I have never been so terrified to do something in my life. You read the horror stories about them in news articles and how pageants are portrayed in the media. I did not experience this at all, I was greeted by the other girls and I was helped with catwalk training and anything I was worried about. Being on stage was very scary but the girls encouraged each other and this helped greatly. I did win a few awards which made me feel great and I also made friends for life.

After years of depression, I never had felt as confident as I did after the pageant.

There is one pageant in particular I really enjoy competing in which is, Miss Sensational UK which is directed by Romy Simpkins. This pageant raised money for MIND which is close to my heart because of my experiences, between contestants over £1700 was raised last year. People do not realise how much charity/community work happens in beauty pageants, it’s not just being on stage and winning awards.

Since then I have competed in various pageants systems and have won a few. I have raised nearly £3000 for various charities. Beauty pageants have given me the opportunity to take part in photo shoots, getting to talk with people about mental health, appearances and getting to meet new people and pageant blogs in which I get to, raise awareness for mental health as well.

My top tip is; try something you never thought you would do, as you will be very surprised on how it makes you feel when completing something and then keep those positive experiences going! Also it is very important to talk about mental health and create awareness.


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