Lady in red who beat the blues
Pageant queen suffered depression
A Toryglen woman has told how she overcame depression to take part in a beauty pageant.
The Reformer previously reported that Stephanie Donovan, of Ardnahoe Avenue, was to take part in the UK Power Pageant grand final.
But a year ago Stephanie would never have been able to stand on stage in front of a packed crowd.
She said: “I couldn’t even leave the house some days because of the anxiety of having to talk to people.
“Sometimes it’s tiring to pretend you’re OK and smile when you just feel empty.
“A year ago there’s no way in hell I could have spoken to a big crowd of people, never mind stand on a stage with a microphone or parade around onstage in a bikini.
“That’s why I threw myself into the pageant. People were saying I could win but for me it was all about the confidence building and throwing myself into something where I wasn’t necessarily comfortable and I had to do it to come out of my shell.”
Stephanie, who works as a receptionist at the King’s Park hotel, realised she needed to seek help after she started to cut people out of her life.
She said: “I had a massive breakdown last year and ended up not showing up for work.
“I was cutting everyone out. I’d been on a night out and I’d had an argument with my boyfriend and it spiralled from there.
“The smallest thing could trigger it and that makes it hard to talk about to other people.
“They might say the smallest thing to you, like ‘oh, you’re grumpy today,’ and that can just trigger a certain mood where you keep thinking no one is there for you and everyone is getting down on you.
“So the smallest thing sets it off and that makes it hard to talk about, because you’re embarrassed and don’t want people to judge you.”
Stephanie is now coping much better with her problems.
Although she did not win the pageant, she had a great time taking part and felt her confidence took a massive lift as a result.
She said: “It was fantastic. We were treated like celebrities all weekend and spoiled.
“Everyone was so lovely and friendly. The minute you needed help with something then someone would give you a hand.
“There was about 30 girls, all there just having a laugh, and there wasn’t any bad atmosphere at all.
“I thought I would be shy or uncomfortable but because everyone was lovely and boosting everyone else’s confidence then I just kept all that in mind.
“Watching the other girls, I thought ‘if they can do that then I can do that’ and I was just beaming. It was a great feeling.”
Now Stephanie is hoping to continue modelling and already has an interview with an agency coming up.
Anyone who is concerned they are suffering from depression should contact their local GP or visit www.nhs.uk.
Battle Stephanie has had issues with depression since she was young
Model Stephanie on stage