OITNB Actress Jackie Cruz Speaks Out About Past Depression

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Orange Is The New Black star Jackie Cruz revealed that, following a near-fatal car crash as a teenager, she struggled with depression and attempted suicide.
In an emotional interview with People, Cruz said that as a teenager, she moved to Hollywood with her mother to pursue a career as an actress. But Cruz made friends with the wrong crowd, and at 16, she moved out of the studio apartment she shared with her mother.
“That’s when everything went downhill for me,” she said. While she was driving to a concert, a friend began racing a car next to her. Cruz lost control of the wheel, crashed, and was ejected through the windshield. A nearby hospital performed emergency brain surgery and doctors predicted she would not survive. She was in a coma for 72 hours and woke up two weeks later.
Cruz said that she struggled with her appearance after surgery. “They had to shave my head right away,” she said. “I had a kidney contusion, a collapsed lung, and two broken vertebrae. So my eyes were crooked and my face was crooked, I couldn’t smile.”
“Looking at myself in the mirror, not like recognizing myself, was scary,” she added. “I wanted to commit suicide at the time because all I ever wanted was to be an actress and a singer and I grew up just watching beautiful people on TV and I just felt like that was it for me. It didn’t look like me anymore. I didn’t know who it was. I was very depressed and I tried to kill myself a few times.”
Cruz spent several months in the hospital, and she says a 10-year-old fellow patient named Melly helped her heal emotionally. Melly “told me I was pretty. She taught me that beauty is always from within,” Cruz said. “It’s the way you treat someone, it’s the way you are, and she saw that. She saw the strength without, she saw the beauty in me without looking at my surface.” Cruz, who is a singer as well as an actress, is releasing a single named “Melly” in her friend’s honor.
“I’ve been wanting to share this for a long time,” she said. “But I’ve been holding it in because I know that its special and it just has to be right.”
If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.

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