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Cara blogs about how after suffering a breakdown, being in pageants has helped her to gain confidence on stage and off.
Cara lives in Essex, loves pageants, doing things for charity, and spreading her mental health story.
I have social anxiety and panic attacks. Living with a mental health disorder doesn’t define me if anything it has made me stronger.
"In 2014 I suffered a mental breakdown it was the lowest I had ever been."
In 2014 I suffered a mental breakdown it was the lowest I had ever been; I couldn’t leave the house, I self harmed, thought about suicide. But with the support from my family and doctor I came out the other side and I’m in recovery.
I’ve always loved watching pageants on the TV and YouTube. Then I saw an advert on Facebook about a plus size pageant, and thought I would give it a go as it looked so fun and supportive, and also that some of girls had become really good friends thorough this pageant. So I thought I would give it a go, hoping that it could raise my self-esteem and confidence.
"When I went on the stage I felt like a different person."
In 2015, I entered my first pageant. I was so scared, but when I went on the stage I felt like a different person, a bit like an actor on TV. It’s like you’re totally different than you are in real life. Everyone was amazed by the difference, of how someone so quiet and shy could be so confident on the stage. Do I feel like pageants have helped me recover? Yes I do. It’s made me focus on other things, and even raise money for charities along the way.
During my 2 years of pageants I have raised over £2000 for various charities including Mind. I got the chance to meet some amazing people, who I now am lucky to be able to call some of my best friends, which means I now have support if I ever need it. Most amazingly of all, I got to travel to places I may never have been to otherwise. In 2019 I am going to Spain to compete in the Belle pageant.
"Most importantly: I’m more confident in myself."
As well as all of this, I do not have as many panic attacks. I do still have the odd one now and again, but I’m getting there! I will probably never been fully recovered, but I’m happy and grateful for what I have been able to so with some amazing support. I know that if I’m ever down I’ve always got people to cheer me up, and most importantly: I’m more confident in myself.
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