About Janet Jay

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Professional Bio

Janet Jay is a freelance journalist, writer, and editor specializing in science and healthcare. She also blogs here at “Pain: Chronic / Words: Iconic” about disability, chronic pain, mental health and invisible illnesses.

For the last 7 years she has worked as a communications specialist with the US Pain Foundation, writing for the organization and working closely with the CEO and editor-in-chief in order to edit the INvisible Project, the organization’s magazine.

Janet is also an internationally published journalist and photographer. She has written for publications including Popular ScienceVICE Motherboard (where her first feature went viral worldwide!), Maxim Magazine, the MightyL-Style G-Style, MAKE Magazine, and many more. One of her pieces in Popular Science even described her experience getting an implantable spinal stimulator.

Want more details? Here’s my LinkedIn and here’s my MuckRack profile!

Media Coverage

Writing is only one way that Janet speaks out about life with chronic pain, invisible illnesses and mental health. She is lucky enough to have been able to tell her story in a few places, like…..

To start with, check out the profile that Migraine.com published of her in a piece called “Janet’s Life ‘In Spite Of’ Migraine.”

Most recently, in December 2023 Janet was the subject of episode of the podcast Podcetera named “Invisible Realities: Life Beyond Chronic Pain, Illness and Disability.”

The podcast “Cool People, Good Things” with journalist Joey Held also hosted an episode about Janet, her story and her career. (Janet aspires to be the former and do the latter.)

Need a guest? Hit me up! I’ve been dealing with this shit for the majority of my life, so in that way I’m an expert. Unfortunately, I don’t have any magic words to make it easier. But I know the depths of loneliness and hopelessness that can come from living with chronic pain, mental health & other disabilities. Maybe reading about the BS I’ve dealt with, the lessons I’ve learned and the tricks I’ve figured out will help you find answers, sidestep nonsense, or at least feel less alone. I sure hope so, at least. ~Janet

Volunteer Work

Janet is involved in various kinds of advocacy work surrounding disability and social justice. She volunteers as a deputy with the Parking Mobility program and is a proud member of US Pain Foundation’s Disparity Solutions Advisory Council. Currently, Janet is working to become SpinPoi certified in order to teach classes about poi for chronic pain. She even hosted a webinar on the subject as part of US Pain Foundation’s Building Your Toolbox series!

Pain: Chronic

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Hi, I’m Janet Jay. I’ve been in constant pain since I was 15, but nobody could figure out why. Nothing showed up on scans, and specialist after specialist threw up their hands. I didn’t know what was wrong or if it would ever get better (or worse!), so I had to plan my life around that giant question mark. It took decades of navigating the world of chronic pain and invisible illness before I got any answers. That process changed every aspect of my life.

Now in my late 30s, I still suffer from a grab-bag of physical issues causing me constant pain. These include fibromyalgia, migraine disease, a messed up L5-S1, bursitis, neuralgia and mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and ADHD. I’m doing just well enough now that I have the spoons to do this! I write this blog to help others; I know the depths of loneliness and hopelessness that can come with chronic pain and other disabilities. You are not suffering alone.

Life: Iconic

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My pain might be chronic, but from the start I’ve been determined to still live a life that was iconic. I graduated with honors with a triple major from Carnegie Mellon University. There, I wrote two things that have had continuing repercussions throughout my life:

Lake Waco Murders

I wrote my honors thesis about the Lake Waco Murders, where four men were blatantly framed by local police. After graduation, my familiarity with the case led me to become involved in a broader effort to free the innocent man I had interviewed who was still imprisoned. I was even interviewed about my experiences for Texas Monthly’s feature about the case.

Advice Column Fun– ft. E. Jean Carroll!

a book cover of a library, text reads "sex and the university, celebrity, controversy, and a student journalism revolution, daniel reimold"
Janet Jay is quoted in this very book!

I also wrote an advice column for the Carnegie Mellon Tartan that led Elle Magazine’s E. Jean Carroll to select me as one of “America’s Top Campus Sex Columnists.” The funniest thing is, it wasn’t actually a sex column, just a column about college, which (brace yourself) sometimes includes sex. This led to interviews in Playboy Magazine, Playboy Radio, Men’s Health, and many more. I was eventually interviewed for and had my quotes featured in a book about college sex columns.

The funniest thing is, it wasn’t actually a sex column, just a column about college, which (brace yourself) sometimes includes sex.

Freelancing In Knoxville

When college was over, I accidentally moved to Knoxville, TN. For a little more than two years, I worked in development and communications for a local production company. I also published writing and photography in the Knoxville News-Sentinel, the local alt-weekly (the Metro Pulse), and most other area magazines. I also began writing for the Carnegie Mellon Today print magazine at this time and continued as one of their core writers for over ten years.

Austin Accomplishments

Over the last two decades of professional freelance writing, I’ve published piecs on many sites and publications, both obscure and well-known. These include Popular Science, VICE Motherboard (where my first feature went viral worldwide!), Maxim Magazine, the Mighty, L-Style G-Style, MAKE Magazine (RIP) and many more.I’ve previously written about, well, a little bit of everything: hoverboards and tricorders, competitive cheerleading, Y-Combinator-funded startups, dive bars and great music, and even a profile of a cussing nun with chronic pain. That last one was in the INvisible Project Magazine, which I have written for for 7 years and also edit as part of my job as a communications specialist at the U.S. Pain Foundation.

For something like 14 years I’ve made my home in Austin, Texas, with my wonderful mutts, Kismet and Arrow. In my spare time, I collect records, play too many video games, read a lot, and am an all-around huge geek.

Art by Storyset. Man with cloud of digital notifications and logos surrounding him in shades of teal

Work with Janet Jay

  • Want to hire, interview, or collaborate with me?
  • Do you need a subject matter expert for a story or podcast you’re producing?
  • Interested in guest posting on this blog?
  • Dealing with complex health issues and need a little guidance on how to navigate the maze of American healthcare?

Shoot me an email or reach out on social media & let’s talk about how we can work together!

By the same token, if you like this blog and find it helpful, please check out my Patreon! I don’t have ads here so if you can buy me a cup of coffee, it’d be a huge help. PLUS you get secret super special posts for your eyes only! Everybody wins!

Then, Say Hi On Social Media!

I’m not really active on Twitter anymore because of, yknow, the antisemitism and general robber baron autocracy. Check me out on Threads and Bluesky instead!