Jess Impiazzi on how she overcame dark times after two suicide attempts: ‘I changed my mindset’
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After rising to fame on MTV’s Ex On The Beach in 2015, Jess Impiazzi went on to pursue a successful acting career. But while it may have seemed to the outside world that Jess had it all, she was secretly going through a devastating battle in her personal life.
The 31-year-old suffered a string of tragic experiences in her childhood, including her nephew Charlie dying of meningitis aged just 13 months, followed by her mum Debbie going blind. At 18, Jess tried to take her own life.
Then in 2018, her world fell apart once again when she found out husband Denny Solomona had cheated on her. Jess ended their 15-month marriage and hit rock bottom, which led to a second suicide attempt.
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Now, in her new book, Silver Linings, Jess has bravely opened up about her journey – and she hopes it will inspire others.
“One thing I really love to express to people is that it does change,” she says. “I know we can get so stuck in the moment and you don’t think it will. But I wanted people to know there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
Here, Jess tells new magazine about the emotional writing experience, how she always looks for the positives in life and her dreams of finding love in the future…
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Congratulations on the book, Jess! How does it feel for it be out there for everyone to read?
Before it came out, I couldn’t sleep properly. I knew it was probably anxiety and nerves because it’s basically laying your life bare for everyone. But I hope it can help other people. I’m trying to show that there’s always a silver lining to everything that goes on.
Did you get emotional while writing it?
Some chapters more than others – like the one about my nephew. I’d always talked about it matter-of-factly, I think that was my coping mechanism from when I was young. It was like, “This happened and it was sad.” I talked about how it happened, rather than the emotional side. So when I wrote about the emotions and the funeral, that hit me. I remember having a few tears while writing that.
You’ve gone through really tough times. How do you think such tragic experiences have affected you as a person?
These kind of things can break us down, but sometimes when you get so broken, it’s the only time you can really feel like you need to change. I think everything does happen for a reason and sometimes we’ll never know what the reasons are when it’s so tragic and awful, but we can shift our brains to see what we can learn from it. My nephew dying taught me that life is too short. He was well one day and dead the next day. You never know when your time is up, so you’ve got to live in the moment.
You got diagnosed with PTSD after his death…
That was really helpful to know. I thought I was going out of my mind every day and I was like, “What is this?” Suicide attempts are often associated with PTSD because your body is in constant flight or fight mode. When you’re constantly on red alert, you can’t focus on anything else but this emotion. So once I knew what it was, I could read about it, understand it and heal from it.
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You have bravely written about attempting to take your own life. How did you overcome those dark times?
Looking back, it’s almost like I’m looking at a different person because I changed my mindset so much. After the last attempt, I thought, “I don’t want to live like this any more.” It gave me the final slap around the face to be like, “This isn’t your path.” I can have days where I feel a bit down, but I have the tools to stop myself from spiralling now.
What kind of things help you when you’re struggling?
I meditate every single day, as soon as I wake up. One thing I learnt through this self-progression journey I’ve been on is that we have two minds. There’s one called the “monkey mind” and your thoughts swing from branch to branch and you can end up anywhere with them. But when you meditate it kind of stops the thoughts and you learn to control them rather than having them control you.
Did you ever speak to anyone or get therapy?
I kind of did it all by myself. When I was in Australia after the last suicide attempt, I stumbled across a shop that was full of crystal-healing and self-help books. I bought $200 worth of books and I just sat and read. To this day I still read every night.
Has your ex-husband Denny reached out to you about this book?
I let him know I had a book coming out and asked if he wanted to read it first. He just said he’s learnt from his mistakes and there’s nothing he can say or do, and that he was really proud of me for finishing it. We’re not friends and we don’t really talk. He’s moved on and he’s got a baby and that’s his life now. It sounds a bit crazy when I say this, but I’m actually a bit thankful for everything that went on because I wouldn’t have got to where I am now. I needed that extra kick and I think him cheating on me gave me that.
How did being cheated on affect your self-esteem?
It affected it big time. But what came from that was to learn to love myself more. I think that’s where I was going wrong. I wasn’t loving myself enough and how was I expecting someone else to love me fully when I didn’t love me fully?
How do you feel about love now?
I’m single. I’ve dated but I feel like, at the moment, I want to be focused on work. It doesn’t put me off and I’m open to dating again. But I think a lot of the time, when you do focus on yourself, the right person comes along.
Do you see yourself getting married again and having babies in the future?
One hundred per cent. But I don’t like to put an age on it. I’d like to have a nice big wedding. My last one was in Vegas, so I’d love to have a big one with a beautiful dress with all my family. I definitely want to have children. But I won’t put pressure on myself. If it comes, it comes.
Silver Linings by Jess Impiazzi, Hashtag Press, £17.99, is out now. If you have been affected by this story, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123, email [email protected] or visit samaritans.org
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