Knowing I wasn’t alone was my first active step towards ‘progress’.

About Jay:

I was born and raised in Vancouver and currently work as a professional digital animator where I help create cartoon shows. On the side I write poetry to wrap my head around topics that might have contributed to my depression.

Jay’s Story


What was the major turning point in your recovery from depression?

While I was at University I was in charge of a project that oversaw how patients at Vancouver Children’s Hospital were transitioning into adult care – but I felt like too much of a hypocrite to not be taking care of myself when I was supposed to be helping others.  From there I had intimate conversations with people I trusted who, surprisingly, told me about their own experiences with depression as well. Knowing I wasn’t alone was my first active step towards ‘progress’.

What are some things that really helped?


  • I was in group therapy for a few months, and it gave me a plethora of tools that I could use in different situations in my life.  Applying them was difficult, as it was usually about situations involving factors out of our control – but we soon were taught that it was about framing situations in a way that showed us the things that were within our control.

Talking to others

  • Intimate conversations with people close to me were important to have.  All my life I would think about how those people wouldn’t understand what I was going through, yet to my surprise some responded with their own version of, “yeah, me too.”


  • Sometimes when I write poetry, it’s during a moment where I can’t put my finger towards explaining what is happening with me and why I might be behaving a certain way. If I just give myself free reign over what I write and keep it private, I can occasionally come to a revelation of sorts which points me towards the direction of what might be bothering me.

Moving beyond the past

  • I was often afraid of forgetting my past or afraid I wouldn’t learn from it. Thus I gave myself ample space to go over my past endlessly in depression, which was satisfying, but was a depressive habit I needed to change into more of embracing the present moment.


  • I learned a lot about embracing the present moment through mindful meditation. It is one of the many tools I picked up through therapy, and is available through many different organizations.

What advice would you give to other guys fighting depression?

I’ve had to let go of what I used to see as traditionally ‘manly’, like avoiding being vulnerable around others or trying to act like nothing ever hurts. It is part of a societal construct I’ve so far found to be a huge contributor to my depression and nothing but joy has come of letting go of these types of behaviours.  There’s a lot to be said about how men and women are traditionally seen in society, and there’s a plethora of dialogue and studies out there trying to take on these perceptions for the sake of our wellbeing.  If it matches your interests, I’d recommend seeking these things out.

– Jay, animator based out of Vancouver, B.C Canada. Hear more from Jay in his story video (from this past June’s Men’s Health Week campaign).

As we share recovery stories this month, we are also raising funds to keep HeadsUpGuys going. If our message strikes a chord with you, we’re asking supporters to join in the campaign and help raise funds to extend the life of HeadsUpGuys.

Support our Campaign and Fundraiser to Keep HeadsUpGuys Going.Donate Now