The Bachelor's Juelia Kinney on Husband's Suicide: 'I Cried Myself to Sleep for an Entire Year'

Aurelie Corinthios
The Bachelor's Juelia Kinney on Husband's Suicide: 'I Cried Myself to Sleep for an Entire Year'

Juelia Kinney is opening up about her painful past — and how she’s learned to heal.

Kinney, 34, vied for Chris Soules‘ heart on The Bachelor in 2015, sharing her heartbreaking story with viewers for the first time. (She also had a stint on Bachelor in Paradise that summer.)

On Tuesday, she shared a lengthy and heartfelt post with her Instagram followers about her husband’s suicide in 2013.

“If you met me today you probably would never know the deep despair I felt in the last 5-6 years,” she began. “It’s hard to look back without tears falling down my face. To think of when I cried myself to sleep for an entire year. Going to Target to get pajamas for my baby daughter and only finding ones that read ‘daddy’s princess.’ The doctors asking me why I didn’t put any information about her father on the intake form… After that first year that Dustin died I felt pain upon pain upon pain. Watching Ireland with all her firsts and all the firsts without Dustin. I felt so alone.”

Kinney explained how she turned her suffering around for the sake of her daughter Ireland, now 5.

“When the year mark hit I decided that enough was enough,” she said. “I could wallow in my sorrows for the rest of my life and no one would blame me… but that is no way to live. I wanted to be a role model for my daughter that you don’t just give up when life gets hard. You pick yourself up and do what needs to be done to get back on track! I know saying that is much easier said than done.”

For Kinney, starting her day with inspirational songs like Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” and Katy Perry‘s “Roar” helped her cope.

“The most important way to change your circumstance is to change your mindset. One thing that I did that helped me more than I can describe is listening to positive and encouraging music EVERY morning the second I woke up,” she said. “This might sound dumb, but please try it!! It just gets your head in the right space.”

Also, surround yourself “ONLY with people who encourage you,” she added. “Everyone else can go immediately. You don’t have to feel bad about this, this is about you and not them. You need to heal!”

“Accepting what has happened is just a part of your journey,” she continued. “Wishing it didn’t happen or wondering why it happened to you will do you absolutely no good. You can’t control what happened to you, you get to control how you respond.”

Kinney ended with a note of encouragement for anyone going through something similar.

“I know you might be in a place like I was where the pain feels like you’re drowning,” she said. “I PROMISE IT WILL GET BETTER!!! I’m so sorry you have had to go through this — but you are not alone. Whatever you’re going through does not define you. You will be a better, more empathetic person on the other side.”

RELATED VIDEO: Kailyn Lowry & Juelia Kinney on Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars ‘Reopening Some Old Wounds’

She has since found love again: Last summer, she got engaged to none other than Aaron Bass — the brother of Paradise alumnus Evan Bass.

The couple celebrated Aaron’s birthday this week.

“Happy freaking birthday to the most amazing man I have ever met,” Kinney gushed alongside a selfie of the two on Instagram. “I can’t believe it’s been a whole year that we took a leap of faith on each other… I couldn’t imagine life any other way than with you by my side. I love the way you make me smile just by thinking about you, the way you care for me, the way you make me laugh constantly and don’t even get me started on the incredible father that you are. I love you @theaaronbass I know this year will be incredible!!!”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.