Headshot of Stability Leader Jake Bradshaw

Manager, Population Health at Greenspace Mental Health
Living with depression and anxiety

Jake Bradshaw started feeling depression during childhood but it wasn’t until he had to take a semester off during university that he was forced to confront and work on his mental health every day. Through therapy, medication, exercise, mindfulness, and support, he was able to not only regain stability, he now works full time at a mental health company. If you’re also dealing with anxiety and depression, Jake wants you to know to keep fighting and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Jake’s Story

How has your condition impacted your life?

In my second year of university, I took a semester off to take time to learn about my mental health conditions and develop tools to help me manage them.

When were you first aware of your conditions and what was your most difficult time?

My first memory of feeling depressed was in Grade 6 when I returned home after a trip to London. I remember feeling sad for two weeks without ever knowing why I was feeling that way. My most difficult time was my semester off at university when I was forced to confront and work on my mental health every day. During that time I was worried that I would never be able to return to school and finish my degree.

What is your life like now and what does success and living well look like for you?

My mental health conditions have given me a lot. They’ve created career opportunities and forced me to prioritize relationships in my life. I’m now working at a mental health company where I’m focused on improving access to mental health supports and services for post-secondary students across Canada. Thriving with my mental health condition means knowing how to manage my ups and downs and being able to recognize when I need additional support from a loved one or professional.

What help or specific strategies helped you to get well and move to stability?

Therapy, medication, exercise, mindfulness, and support from loved ones helped me move to stability.

What do you do to manage your condition and stay healthy on an ongoing basis?

I’m no longer on medication and I don’t see a therapist on a regular basis. I manage my condition by exercising five times a week and trying to meditate every day. Meditation taught me how to acknowledge and accept my emotions, as opposed to running away from them, which reduces the intensity of my condition.

Are there positives that have come from having a mental health condition?

Yes, absolutely! Anxiety and depression have taught me how to be resilient, gave me a greater appreciation for life, brought me closer to friends and family, and even created career opportunities. Despite all of the challenges times I’ve been through, I’m grateful for my mental health conditions. 

How has your condition impacted your work and your career?

Mental health advocacy became a passion of mine when I took a semester off. This passion created opportunities for me through volunteer work, internships, and now a full-time job. 

What words of encouragement would you give to someone struggling with a condition similar to yours?

The world is better because you are here. Keep fighting and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

What motivated you to join The Stability Network?

I wanted to join The Stability Network because I’ve done a lot of public speaking about my mental health journey and have always enjoyed it. The most rewarding part for me is the conversations afterwards with people from the audience.

What resources (books, videos, websites) have helped and/or inspired you on your journey?

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John Ratey.

Headspace is a fantastic app that makes meditation accessible.