Jay Blades: Showing your vulnerability means that you ask for help

Host of The Repair Shop and recent recipient of an MBE for Services to Crafts, Jay Blades, joins Happiful’s podcast to discuss life experiences and asking for help

Jay Blades is best known for his appearances on programmes such as The Repair Shop and No Place Like Home but most recently, it’s his brilliant book Making It: How Love, Kindness and Community Helped Me Repair My Life that’s inspiring deep conversations across the country.

As well as sharing memories from his childhood in Hackney, Jay details pivotal moments in his life to date, including his experiences of violent racism, studying criminology as a mature student and discovering his dyslexia in his thirties, his own mental health challenges, asking for support to move on from difficult situations and in turn, helping others.

Reflecting on his acute experience of poor mental health, Jay shares that he now actively looks for positive ways to grow, evolve and move forward.
“I don’t like to stay stuck in one spot. I’ve done it once in my life and I’m very fortunate that I’m able to be here today,” he says, referencing a bleak period he encountered over seven years ago, when he contemplated suicide.

“At some point in your life you do have to take on board support from other people or show your vulnerability. Showing your vulnerability, means that you ask for help – it’s as simple as that. And for someone like me, coming from Hackney, it was a hard thing to do, but not now, I always ask for help.”

Seeking new and nourishing experiences is also a big part of Jay’s journey and he makes sure to grasp every opportunity available to him.

“I go into different environments and believe I should be there and then I gain an experience that I never knew I needed to develop me as a person,” he says smiling.

Jay is keen to encourage others to adopt this mentality too as he’s seen the benefits first hand. “So, imagine you live in a room and there are four windows; if you only look out of one window, you’re going to have a really narrow view. But, if you turn left and you look out, you’ll have a different perspective, then the right… and that’s all I’ve done.

“All of the layers that have been added to me, from all of the windows I’ve looked through have created the person you’re speaking to today.”

Read a full interview in Issue 63 of Happiful, out in June.

Listen to Jay’s episode of I am. I have

Making It: How Love, Kindness and Community Helped Me Repair My Life by Jay Blades, published by bluebird books for life, is out now.

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