Pia Wurtzbach reveals battling with inner demons during Miss Universe reign: "I was self-harming."

by Rachelle Siazon
Dec 10, 2021
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach on going through major depression that manifested to hair-pulling disorder, anorexia, and alcohol abuse: "I kept it all to myself even though I was slowly deteriorating inside... Imagine being celebrated as a strong, resilient woman, but deep inside you're going through that. I felt like a fraud."
PHOTO/S: Screengrab from Pia Wurtzbach YouTube

Inamin ni Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, 32, na siya ay na-diagnose ng "general anxiety" at "major depression" matapos niyang makamit ang korona sa prestihiyosong beauty pageant anim na taon ang nakararaan.

Tandang-tanda pa ni Pia na may 1.4 million Filipinos ang sumalubong sa kanya sa engrandeng homecoming parade para sa pagbasag niya ng 42 taon na walang nasungkit na Miss Universe crown ang Pilipinas.

"I felt like I was on top of the world," napangiting saad ni Pia.

Pero may kakambal daw iyong pasanin.

Balik-tanaw niya: "I wish I can tell you this part was the switch of my fate and fortune where things turned for the better and it was all plain-sailing from there.

"Maybe it was for many people who saw me and who saw my journey.

"From the outside, it looked like a fairy-tale ending to a life-long struggle of family breaking apart, financial struggles, and dreams being pushed away.

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"Yeah, maybe from afar it did look perfect, but the reality was far from it."

Ikinuwento niya ang naranasang mental health problems sa TedxSingapore na umere sa kanyang YouTube channel ngayong December 10.

Hindi pa raw niya kaagad naintindihan na mayroon siyang mental health issues dahil todo-trabaho pa rin siya.

"While on the outside I was fulfilling my duties as Miss Universe, and working nonstop, and traveling to different countries and working with different organizations.

"I wasn't missing a beat at all. Nobody saw it. I was always on time. I never missed a day of work and I just kept going.

"But as soon as the doors of my room close, I was a different person."

Umabot daw sa puntong sinaktan niya ang sarili at dumepende siya sa alak para pagtakpan ang depression.

"The thoughts, the doubt, the worry in my head were louder than the cheers.

"I had unhealthy coping habits. Plural. I'll say it straight out.

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"I became anorexic.

"I was self-harming. I was pulling my hair, a condition called trichotillomania.

"And in the four corners of my room I also abused alcohol," dire-diretsong pag-amin ni Pia.

PIA'S INNER DEMONS, STRUGGLES, AND INSECURITIES

Siya man ay hindi raw akalain na sa kabila ng tagumpay ay makakaramdam siya ng pagragasa ng inner demons dala ng personal issues niya mula pagkabata.

Binanggit ni Pia na sa edad na siyam na taong gulang ay iniwan ng kanyang ama ang kanyang ina.

Noong siya ay 11 years old ay nagsimula siyang maging modelo at naging "breadwinner" ng pamilya.

Naranasan daw nilang tumira sa maliit na bahay sa tabing-ilog, at hindi raw niya malilimutan na tuwing may bagyo ay abot hanggang dibdib ang bahang pumapasok sa kanilang bahay.

Nang siya ay nasa 20s na ay isa pa rin daw siyang "struggling actress" na nabubuhay sa "paycheck to paycheck."

Nagkaroon din daw siya ng toxic relationship kunsaan namanipula siya ng kanyang nobyo na iwan ang trabaho niya at mga kaibigan.

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At nang sumali siya ng tatlong beses sa Binibining Pilipinas bago nagwaging Miss Universe Philippines, tiniis niya ang panunuya ng iba na siya ay "failed actress" kaya sumali na lang sa beauty pageant.

Patuloy na lahad ni Pia: "All of the fame and suffering I endured all my life caught up to me and manifested itself in an ugly, self-destructive way.

"You'd think that the crown and the title would be the bandage to all of that. You'd think it would be enough to make sense of all the pain and rejection, but it didn't.

"I never really faced or acknowledged that I was sad.

"Because when you struggle to make ends meet, you don't think about yourself anymore.

"When your family is dependent on you, there's no time to think about you.

"When the whole country is looking at you, there is no time to worry about your personal interest.

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"There's no time to think about your mental health."

Pilit na itinago ni Pia sa publiko ang dinadaanang depression na nag-manifest sa kanyang hair-pulling disorder, anorexia, at alcohol abuse.

Kuwento pa ni Pia sa kanyang dinaanan habang siya ay reigning Miss Universe: "I was deteriorating. I would just sit there dwelling in my pain, crying.

"I felt so alone. It was nothing like the people thought I had.

"I realized that all of the pains that I didn't address when I was younger came back to me in a big and harmful way.

"You can't escape it no matter how successful you become. It was like a poison killing me."

Mahirap daw dahil kinimkim niya ang pinagdaanang pagsubok.

Paliwanag pa niya: "All my life my purpose was to please others, to fit in, to be the Miss Universe everybody wanted me to be.

"And so I kept it all to myself even though I was slowly deteriorating inside.

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"Because I couldn't imagine disappointing my country.

"Imagine being celebrated as a strong, resilient woman, but deep inside you're going through that.

"I felt like a fraud."

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PIA FINALLY GETS PROFESSIONAL HELP

Natuklasan ni Pia ang kanyang depression nang siya ay sumailalim sa "multiple therapy sessions" sa kanyang psychiatrist.

"What happens is when you win Miss Universe, you're usually given a psychiatrist because you need that.

"When your life is suddenly changed overnight, you need help.

"Especially for me with thousands of people sending me death threats," ani Pia, na tila tinutukoy ay ang kanyang detractors noon.

Tinulungan daw siya ng Miss Universe Organization para manatiling pribado ang kanyang mental health problems.

"Discreetly, they arranged the help and support that I needed.

"They introduced me to profesionals that could help me. I went to multiple professionals in New York and in L.A. and they gave me the tools that I need to be okay.

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"Again, I was lucky.

"Under the care of the president of the organzation, who is a woman, I was able to keep my privacy during this difficult time.

"I think that's important—that you're not forced into healing and that you're going through it at your own place and at your own time."

Masuwerte raw siya at hindi siya pinalitan bilang Miss Universe titleholder.

Sa kabila ng mental health problems, determinado rin daw kasi Pia na panindigan ang kanyang responsibilidad bilang reigning Miss Universe noon.

Aniya: "I was determined to stay strong, to continue my mission, my purpose, and to turn things around.

"I wanted to face my demons and finally take care of my heart. Something I didn't do or never cared to do."

Aktibo nga noon si Pia sa iba-ibang functions na dinaluhan niya at sa pagtaguyod ng kanyang advocacies.

Siya pa mismo ang nag-handle ng official Instagram account ng Miss Universe bukod sa kanyang personal social media accounts.

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EMBRACING HER IMPERFECTIONS

Sa huli, sinabi ni Pia na hindi kabawasan ng pagkatao ang aminin sa sarili na hindi siya perpekto.

Aniya: "In this next chapter of my life, I feel like breaking free from all the things everyone thought I should be...

"I want to paint a picture not of a perfect beauty queen, but of a real person with real-life experiences.

"There is no shame in admitting that you are not perfect. And there is no shame in admitting that you need help."

Umaasa si Pia na ang kanyang kuwento ay magbigay-inspirasyon sa ibang dumaranas ng mental health problem na harapin ito.

Sana raw ay maalis ang stigma na "OA" o "crazy" ang mga taong mayroon nito.

Note: May handang makinig at tumulong sa mga taong dumaranas ng depression. Tumawag sa mga 24/7 hotlines ng The Hopeline Project sa (02) 8804-HOPE (4673), sa 0917-558-HOPE (4673), o sa 2919 (toll-free number sa lahat ng Globe at TM subscribers).

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Maaari ring makipag-ugnayan sa National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) sa 0917-899-USAP (8727) at sa 0917-989-8727.

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Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach on going through major depression that manifested to hair-pulling disorder, anorexia, and alcohol abuse: "I kept it all to myself even though I was slowly deteriorating inside... Imagine being celebrated as a strong, resilient woman, but deep inside you're going through that. I felt like a fraud."
PHOTO/S: Screengrab from Pia Wurtzbach YouTube
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