Sheynnis Palacios©@sheynnispalacios_of
Mental Health

Sheynnis Palacios recalls the self-improvement lessons her mother taught her

Miss Universe openly shared her experience with anxiety and how she received professional help to manage it

Since she was young, Sheynnis Palacios has been passionate about dance and has always had a great sense of humor. Growing up, Miss Universe 2023 was inspired by her mother, Raquel Cornejo, who taught her the importance of self-improvement and pursuing her dreams. She watched her mother work hard to become a better version of herself while supporting her family. Sheynnis has many fond memories of her childhood, all linked to her mother’s dedication to self-improvement and the pursuit of her goals.

“My mom taught me always to fly as high as I wanted and that when one of my wings failed, she would be waiting below to push me forward. Because that’s what life is about—the ups and downs and how everything costs,” the Nicaraguan native recounted during her conversation with Alejandro Chabán.

Sheynnis Palacios©@sheynnispalacios_of

“My mom always taught me that one should never give up on my dreams because she never gave up on hers,” she proudly recalled about the woman who gave her life at 18. However, there was also a moment when Sheynnis Palacios faced her toughest challenges when her mother assured her she had no chance of becoming a beauty queen.

“Grounded in our reality,” she tells me: “‘You’re not going to win.’ For your mom to say that makes you think she doesn’t love or trust you.” Despite winning contests, Sheynnis’s mother never congratulated her. Instead, she urged her to prepare for the possibility of losing. This only fueled Sheynnis’s drive to work even harder and win more. “She actually does it to prepare me, and it does help me because I understand now. Parents also have their process. She told me I wouldn’t win because those contests were for people with money, and we didn’t have money. She says, ‘I want you to cry right now so you don’t cry on that stage,’” she recalled.

“My mom was very sincere; when I won, she told me she thought I wouldn’t make it,” she proudly remembered. “She did all this to prepare me. I stubbornly told her I was going for the next one, and never by the wrong path, always by faith and love,” she assured.

The importance of mental health

Despite being a successful woman, Sheynnis also suffered from mental health issues, taking charge of the problem and seeking help from a psychologist to improve in all areas of her life. And indeed, she had loose ends in her childhood, marked by third parties, especially those who cyberbullied her. “At that moment I told my ex-boyfriend that I didn’t understand, I’m not a bad person, I’m just trying to help my family, be a good daughter, granddaughter, sister... I didn’t understand how people could say so many things about me and make memes. At that moment, I didn’t realize that I was starting to experience anxiety episodes,” she said.

The pressure in her chest, crying, and lack of oxygen were the strongest signs she saw in herself, and she discovered that the past caused many without giving importance to the present. “I knew I was in trouble but I didn’t dare to seek help because I thought I would be admitted to a clinic or given pills. There are so many taboos.”

Sheynnis Palacios©sheynnispalacios_of

Despite everything, she searched online for her symptoms and discovered that it was an episode of anxiety, which made her seek professional help. However, it was costly, a detail many people encounter when they want to heal. “I found an app that accompanies you, and it started to calm me down, but there came a point when it didn’t work anymore. Thank God a company reached out to me and said they had doctors with a mental health platform,” a place where she could get the help she so desperately needed.

In January, Palacios opened up in El Gordo y la Flaca (Univision) about her mental health, sharing a little-known chapter in her life. The Nicaraguan confessed to Gelena Solano that she suffers from anxiety attacks and that these occur frequently between changes of season or season.

She shared that she had just had a seizure, so this could have occurred in mid-December when winter began. Just around that time, Sheynnnis had just settled in New York, the city that had become her second home after winning the Miss Universe crown.

If you or someone you know is in need, SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental or substance use disorders. 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

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