Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach has thanked those who supported her and watched the 16-minute TED Talk video she posted on her eponymous YouTube channel in December 2021, which now has over one million views.
“Thinking about how 1.1M views could mean that we are making each other feel we’re not alone, and that we are here to support each other’s mental health,” Pia wrote in an Instagram post.
In her TEDxP&G Singapore Talk, Pia opened up about her mental health struggles before, during and after her reign; how she accepted them and how she is still a “work in progress” who is finding healthier ways to cope.
“Para sa ating lahat ‘yung recent post ko on YouTube about mental health… struggling man o hindi, I thank you for your kindness,” said Pia who thanked those who watched the video and supported her.
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Pia, who recently tested positive for COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, concluded the post expressing her love for her supporters, “Mahal ko kayo.”
In the caption of her YouTube video titled "15 Minutes with Pia: You are Not Alone," Pia wrote that for the longest time, she never wanted to admit that she was sad out of fear that people would judge her or tell her she’s being ungrateful. In opening about her mental health, Pia said she wanted to make sure that it was coming from a place of strength of strength and confidence.
In her TED Talk, which she said was her most honest sharing yet, Pia opened up what she went through before becoming Miss Universe—from her father leaving the family when she was nine years old, being the breadwinner of the family at a young age, to getting in her first serious relationship that turned out to be abusive.
All these, she said, manifested in an “ugly, self-destructive way,” especially so that she did not acknowledged her sadness.
After she won the much-coveted title, she still faced her inner battles while putting up a facade that everything was ok.
“From the outside, it looked like a fairy-tale ending," Pia said. ”Girl joins a beauty pageant, wins it—almost didn't," in reference to when host Steve Harvey mistakenly announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the winner, only to apologize later and proclaimed Pia as the right winner of the pageant.
"(She then) moves on with her life doing amazing things," said Pia, who received thousands of death threats from rabid pageant fans who claimed the crown was stolen from Miss Colombia.
Despite everything that’s happening around her, Pia continued to fulfill her duties and kept going. But she shared that these challenges and the pressure of trying to please others took a toll on her as she suffered from anorexia, started harming herself by means of hair pulling (trichotillomania); and turned to alcohol abuse.
After winning the Miss Universe title in 2015, Pia said she was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and major depression following therapy sessions that were arranged by the Miss Universe Organization, which she considers her family.
“I was determined to stay strong, to continue my mission, my purpose, and to turn things around," she said. "I wanted to face my demons and finally take care of my heart. Something I didn't do or never cared to do.”
Among the lessons Pia learned from her experience that she would like to share with people is “there is no shame in admitting that you are not perfect, and there’s no shame in admitting that you need help.”
After the TED Talk, Pia said she would like to continue the mental health discussion with her followers and she has started to equip herself with the right people to make sure that whatever she shares is helpful.
Watch Pia’s TEDxP&G Singapore video below:
If you or your loved ones need help, the National Center for Mental Health's Crisis Hotline is available at 1553, 0917-899-8727, and (02) 7-989-8727.