Miss Universe Australia 2018 Francesca Hung
Instagram/Francesca Hung
Miss Universe Australia opens up about depression: 'Mental health issues kill 1 in 5 Australians'
Jan Milo Severo (Philstar.com) - December 4, 2018 - 12:34pm

MANILA, Philippines — Miss Universe Australia 2018 Francesca Hung revealed her past struggles because of depression. 

Speaking with the Real Talk podcast, Francesca said her parents are high achievers, so she was pressured to impress them.


#realtalk It’s safe to say that when I woke up this morning and realised that my story about my battles with mental health went public through my podcast with @heartonmysleeve I went through a roller coaster of emotions. I have had some tears, anxiety but also a sense of relief and joy. I have been working on this podcast for a couple of months now, yet nothing can prepare you for when it actually becomes real and public. This has always been the scariest thing for me... to have my battles made public, however it’s also made me remember why I did this in the first place. I wanted to share my story so people could see that they are not alone, and even if this reaches and helps just one person then I’ve done my job. 1 in 5 Australians suffer from mental health issues every year, and it is the second biggest killer of young people, so I know most people reading this has been affected in some way or another by this issue. I know that when I was feeling most alone and vulnerable I looked to other people who had shared their experiences to understand that I wasn’t alone, and that it was okay not to be okay. I hope that my story can shed a little light onto why I am the way I am or what has made me the person I am today and perhaps help someone else along the way. Thank you to @heartonmysleeve and @mitch.wallis for helping me express my story and in turn helping me to heal even a little bit more. Also thank you to my family and friends who have supported me through this and encouraged me to be the best version of myself. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you all. If you would like to listen to the podcast it is available on iTunes and Spotify under REAL talk. Link is on my bio. X Love Francesca

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“I didn’t really understand depression and that that is what I was feeling; straight after school I went to university and focused. It was all about focusing on the future,” she said. 

But she clarified she never acted on any suicidal thoughts and it “was more like self-sabotage; I would do things to, sort of, ruin my life so that no-one expected anything from me.”

The Australian-Chinese beauty queen continued that she felt horrible to be around her family and friends and started rebelling. 

“I was partying a bit too hard, and doing anything to distract myself; I was hanging out with the wrong people and wasn’t doing anything with my life,” she said. 

“I hated myself so much and I thought I was so worthless, and I would look at myself in the mirror and think ‘ugh you’re disgusting, what are you doing with yourself?’” she added. 

She also thought she was unattractive and ugly and was so conscious because she is a half-Chinese. 

“That was completely ingrained in me, and I was so self-conscious that when I would look in the mirror I would see this disgusting blob. I was overweight, and I would sabotage my eating so I would fit a certain look; I hated the way I looked… I always felt like I was my own worst nightmare.”

After realizing she needed some help, Francesca spoke to her family about her condition.

“My dad comes from a medical background, so I think that the psychological side of things is a different world to the scientific world, to him. I think it was definitely difficult for them to comprehend that I was feeling this way ... and I never wanted to speak about it with my friends because I didn’t want it to look like a sign of weakness.”

She also got the help she needed through different psychologists and anti-depressant medicines, but the medication always changed her mood.

“I went numb and I didn’t feel anything at all, and I was becoming a mean version of myself, and didn’t care about anybody else’s feelings, and I acted like I didn’t really care about the world and I was rebelling again.”

Nevertheless, she met someone who changed her and helped her feel good about herself again. 

“I started working on my diet and fitness. I started weaning myself off the antidepressants and that took quite a long time to feel good without them, and now I’m completely off them and I feel so much better than I ever had before... I think it grew from an understanding that a lot of people in his family have suffered from mental health issues, and I think it kind of clicked with him then, that if I was going through a similar thing, that a lot of it can be passed down – it’s not just a feeling, it can be a chemical thing sometimes as well.”

According to her, one in five Australians suffer from mental health issues every year and it is the second biggest killer of young people.

Francesca will be competing against her fellow half-Australian Catriona Gray of the Philippines at the Miss Universe 2018 pageant on December 17 in Bangkok, Thailand.

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