Jay-Jay Harvey returns to The Edge, opens up about abuse, infertility, depression
Radio star Jay-Jay Harvey has opened up about being abused as a child and suffering infertility during her return to the airwaves on Monday morning.
The Edge Breakfast host had been taking a break after abruptly leaving the show on October 27, when she suffered a nasty bout of depression.
Jay-Jay said she’d missed being on the show. and was candid with husband and co-host Dom while discussing her condition.
“I don’t feel comfortable talking about things like this,” Jay-Jay said.
“I just hit a wall, basically. I’ve suffered from depression for most of my life. It was probably triggered when I was a child – I had a bit of a rough upbringing. I was sexually abused by someone in the family and my mum was beaten a lot.”
She says her family moved around a lot as a result of the abuse, living at different Women’s Refuges and often changing schools.
“From there, I’ve always had this depression. I didn’t know what it was. But when I got to my early 20s, it was really bad,” said Jay-Jay.
“I thought I had gotten a good grip of it, but then the last few years it’s sort of come back… I’ve had 10 years of unsuccessful fertility treatment with Dom and that has been heavy, heavy stuff. Plus, we’ve been working every day through that, having fun on the radio while all that stuff is happening.”
Jay-Jay also talked about having a “really, really tough” time caring for her nephew, whom she described as a “difficult child”.
“Being on The Edge and having my book out, there’s lots of people wanting you to do things, and I got to the stage where I couldn’t handle the pressure any more.”
Previously, Dom told listeners about the process Jay-Jay was going through, saying she was on stronger medication and being advised to exercise more by her doctor.
Today, Jay-Jay said she had no way of being able to prevent a future breakdown, but was thankful for all the support and her increased ability to manage the depression.
“Many people go through it, people you’d be surprised about – you wouldn’t believe some of the high-profile people that have contacted me, it’s amazing,” she said.
“You just have to take a break and think about how you can manage the triggers. Get rid of people in your life that are not good for it. That’s a hard thing to do, but you have to eliminate those people.”
She also said that she was reshuffling her time so that she did have more time to exercise, and that walking every day and going to the gym made her feel “really good”.
Also likely to help her is a gift given by Dom and fellow co-host Clinton Randell – a big red button that says “no” for when she is overwhelmed with requests.
Last week, Jay-Jay travelled to Singapore “on a whim”, before attending the TLC concert in Auckland over the weekend.
WHERE TO GET HELP:
• Lifeline – 0800 543 354
• Women’s Refuge crisisline – 0800 733 843
• Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757
• Healthline – 0800 611 116
• Samaritans – 0800 726 666
• Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
• Youthline – 0800 376 633. You can also text 234 for free between 8am and midnight, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Your local Rural Support Trust – 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP).