ELISE Nazzari understands first hand what it is like to live with depression and anxiety.
The Burswood resident’s mental health issues began when she was 10 years old and lasted throughout her teenage years.
But competing in the beauty pageant Miss Galaxy Australia has improved her confidence.
“The issues held me back and I actually had to leave school when I was in year 10 because I couldn’t cope with social situations,” she said.
“I put pressure on myself and at my worst times I thought about suicide; I came close to dying because I never felt I would be right.”
Miss Nazzari said competing in Miss Galaxy Australia for the first time three years ago helped her mental health.
“Most girls have a dream of being on stage and I couldn’t sing or dance, so competing in pageants was the next best thing,” she said.
“I’ll never forget the adrenaline rush I got when I walked on stage for the first time.”
Miss Nazzari said Mental Health Week was a time for self reflection but so was every week.
“I’m the type of person who is prone to mental health issues because I take on too much and I become stressed,” she said.
“I reflect on what I went through every week and think about how the pageants have made me more confident.”
After being named as a WA State finalist for the 2017 competition, Miss Nazzari will compete in her third Miss Galaxy Australia competition on December 7th.
“It’s a different experience; I compete to get personal development,” she said.
“I try to be myself when I compete rather than what the competition wants to turn you into.”
She will travel to Trinidad and Tobago later and the United States later this month to attend events and take part in photo shoots.
“It’s going to be an exciting and crazy time, I think I’m going to take about nine or 10 flights in that time,” she said.
If you, or someone you know, is in crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www. lifeline.org.au or call beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.