Jamie Baker struggled for a long time.
The Sharks broadcaster, who played 186 games for the franchise and clinched their 1994 Stanley Cup playoff upset of the Detroit Red Wings with the winning goal in Game 7, revealed to The Athletic's Katie Strang in March that he took multiple leaves of absence from the booth during the 2017-18 season, nearly ending his life as he struggled with his mental health. Baker previously had been diagnosed with depression and ADHD, but undergoing therapy and committing to lifestyle changes that have allowed him to, in his words, "re-train his brain."
"I'm re-training my brain so I can live in this with gratitude, with radical gratitude, radical acceptance, compassion, kindness," Baker said as part of NBC Sports' documentary "HEADSTRONG: Mental Health and Sports." "I don't have the impulsiveness I used to. This has all taken time, but this is worth it."
Every day, Baker writes in his gratitude journal, reads "The Daily Stoic" and practices yoga. He is on his third journal, having written about what he is grateful for every morning over the last year-and-a-half, and he says yoga now "is something I will do ... for the rest of my life."
Baker is embracing the opportunity to "re-train" his brain, and the commitment it requires as part of ending the stigmas surrounding it. He noted that awareness of caring for one's mental health isn't especially widespread.
"We train our bodies to either look good or to be these athletic specimens," Baker said. "We educate our brains to go out and make money and do all this. Nobody trains their brain to deal with everything that life is going to throw with you. Good, bad and everything else. It's not part of the curriculum."
It's part of Baker's curriculum now, and he says he is much better for it.
"I'm a happier version of me than I was for a long time," he said. " ... I recently wrote in [my gratitude journal], 'I like Jamie Baker.' That's good, because for a long time, I didn't. Not many people knew that."
[RELATED: Watch all of the vignettes from HEADSTRONG]
Baker's "HEADSTRONG" story will air Tuesday night on Sharks Pregame Live and Sharks Postgame Live on NBC Sports California. You can watch all of the "HEADSTRONG: Mental Health and Sports" vignettes right here. The full documentary will be playing all month on NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California.
Check our channel listings page for times and dates.
Sharks broadcaster Jamie Baker shares mental health journey in HEADSTRONG originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area