Jay Blades opens up on hitting ‘rock bottom’ and why he couldn’t ask for help
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Jay Blades has become a firm favourite with The Repair Shop viewers since making his debut on the BBC show in 2017. He also recently launched his own BBC Two programme titled Jay’s Yorkshire Workshop, which has also become a hit with fans. The 51-year-old’s success is a far cry from where his life was six years ago after he admitted he hit an all-time low, and there was a point he didn’t know he was “alive”.
Speaking in a recent interview, Jay opened up about his past and recalled how he hit “rock bottom” when he ended up sleeping in a car park with barely any food to eat.
He went on to explain that he could see no future and felt he couldn’t ask for help because he was “a pillar of the community”.
“When you’ve been in that state – call it a no man’s land, because a future can’t be seen,” Jay explained.
“People say, ‘Why don’t you snap out of it?’ The answer is, I didn’t even know most of the time that I was alive, never mind being able to talk about it.”
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He continued to The Guardian: “Also, when I reached rock bottom, I was a pillar of the community, helping a number of young people, families, fathers, people in prison. If I’d said, ‘I’m broken. Can you help me?’, they’d have looked at me and said, “Can we help you?”
Jay has openly spoken out about his mental health in the past.
During an appearance on The One Show earlier this year, Jay told host Alex Jones the reason he ended up sleeping in a car park was because of the breakdown of his marriage.
He said: “I think when you don’t see tomorrow and you don’t see yourself in tomorrow, you’re in that kind of zone and it’s really hard to comprehend how you’re going to come out of it.
“I think everything that happened to me with splitting up with my wife, leaving my business and I was quite an influential character in my community.”
He added: “The only thing for me was to get in the car and drive and I had no destination.
“I ended up when I was in a car park, and I slept in there for about a week because I couldn’t see tomorrow.
“Things were happening in front of me in the car park, like people going to the shops, coming to work, going away from work, but I couldn’t see anything.
“I just sat in that car, and it was a really dark place at the time.”
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He went on to add that the biggest repair job he had ever done, was himself.
“The biggest repair job we have done on The Repair Shop is me,” the expert recalled.
“The community has helped me get back to my normal self because five or six years ago I fell down and I was in a really dark place.
“Going through The Repair Shop, everyone there has supported me and got me back to where I should be.”
Jay explained on the show: “They’ve all shared with me and supported me in getting me back, and also my family in Wolverhampton have just helped me to get back to where I need to be.”
One of the reason’s Jay wanted to launch his new series, Jay’s Yorkshire Workshop, was that he wanted to give back to the community.
The new BBC show sees the expert teaming up with local craftsmen in a bid to create unique items for people who are doing outstanding work in their community.
The latest episode saw the team build a bespoke piece of furniture for care home staff who went above and beyond for their patients during the pandemic.
For confidential support with mental health call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.
Jay’s Yorkshire Workshop returns on Wednesday at 9pm on BBC Two.
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