–intro by Bianca Betancourt @ByBiancaBee
There’s no easy way to talk about the reality of suicide and depression. It’s a personal demon that can be easily hidden from those who suffer from it and easily ignored by those who don’t. It affects everyone–especially when least expected.
CIRCUS first met Jay when she modeled for one of our winter editorials, One Night Only, last year. It was a shoot I couldn’t physically be at, but felt like I was from the behind the scenes text messages and shots that our stylist Aun continued to send me. I instantly gravitated towards Jay’s personality that shone through her smile and laugh in the photos; she was vibrant and full of life. And I never would have guessed that depression was behind such a smile.
A few weeks later, Jay wound up in the emergency room after attempting to commit suicide by throwing herself in front of a red line CTA train. By chance, by God, or by just plain miracle, she made it through a five day coma, emergency surgeries, stitches and endless complications to make it out alive.
Today, while she’s still battling the everyday rollercoaster of depression, Jay simultaneously decided to make her story her new mission. By taking control of the future that stemmed from her attempt, she now works to promote suicide and mental health awareness as well as encouraging gender body positivity–proven in the pictures below–taken a few months into her healing process.
“On the morning of May 13th I jumped in front of the red line train. Since there were so many injuries, especially head injuries, I was in a medically induced coma for five days. They weren’t expecting me to wake up, and if I did wake up they didn’t think I would be the same person. They thought they’d have to teach me how to talk again and all of that. But I woke up like nothing happened.”
“At first I’d get really embarrassed whenever I had visitors. I’d kind of hide under my blankets, I didn’t want them to see all of the things that I didn’t think were appropriate, you know, like the extra body hair, my scars, my scabs, everything like that. I would apologize a lot, I would say sorry and cover things back up. But that shouldn’t have been a priority at all or something that anyone had to even think about. I was lucky I was even alive.”
"Since my attempt, making myself look pretty hasn’t been a big priority of mine. And I guess a lot of people think that it should be. I haven’t shaved my legs or shaved really anything at all in about two and a half months now, and when I go out in public all I see are people staring or giving me weird looks as if I’m some kind of alien. But I’m more focused on healing my bones and the wounds that I have rather than looking good for people who don’t even know my name.”
“There was a time that I thought I wouldn’t live past the age of 18, and here I am, about to turn 22, and even though a lot of bad things have happened and I had to fall so low and go through this attempt, things are getting better already. Sometimes it takes things like this to realize how good you have it. But I’m hoping by sharing my story that no one has to sink so low or fall so hard to realize that there’s hope for them too.”
“I want people to know that it’s ok to find help, there’s no shame in asking for it. Don’t be scared. It’s so much better to be happy and find peace within yourself rather than caring what people think because once you’re gone, you’re gone. If you don’t treat yourself right, then living won’t be enjoyable at all.”