Podcaster Adam Blum on beating depression

Once depressed and on the verge of suicide, here’s how NSW rural firefighter turned podcaster Adam Blum came back from the brink to embrace life.

A simple phone call was life-changing for Adam Blum, literally.

After leaving his construction job one afternoon, the 22-year-old had driven deep into the Blue Mountains in New South Wales.

Earlier in the day, Adam had been accused of being “a liar, a thief and a bludger”.

None of this was true but that hadn’t stopped the cruel verbal onslaught.

Consequences of bullying

Bullying and abuse had been part of Adam’s working life since he left high school.

His school years had also been marred by playground cruelty, hostility and unkindness.

Adam had navigated debilitating health issues, an ADHD diagnosis and unfeeling comments about his weight.

Adam held the years of hurt and hopelessness inside but on September 14, 2014, the dam broke.

He left his workplace, got in his ute and drove to the mountains with a single plan in his mind.

“For years I’d been told I was useless and that I’d amount to nothing,” Adam, 31, who lives near the Blue Mountains, says.

“The bullying was constant and (those) words that day were the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“At 22 I was a broken soul and I wanted to end my life.”

Calling a friend made the difference

But at that moment the sun broke through the clouds and Adam says he heard his beloved nan talking to him.

Adam had been close to his Nanna Robyn and he says in his darkest moment, he heard her urging him to stop and to call a friend.

Standing on the edge of the mountain, Adam called a close friend and said he needed help.

Fast forward almost a decade and Adam’s life could not be further removed from that bleak time.

Adam is a crew leader with the NSW Rural Fire Service and hosts a successful podcast series, True Blue Conversations.

He has also just written his first book, Easy Target, which is a frank and moving account of his victory over severe depression and anxiety.

It’s not weak to speak about mental health

Adam has shared his story in the hope it will encourage other men experiencing the challenges of mental illness to ask for help and get the support they need.

“That day when I went to the mountain, I now realise that I didn’t want to die, I just wanted the pain to stop,” Adam says.

“I kept the depression hidden from my family for a long time because I didn’t want to burden them with that pain and suffering.”

He says telling his family what he was going through was a confronting conversation.

“The stigma around mental health is gradually lifting, but I still think males are reluctant to talk about mental health,” Adam notes.

“There’s still a belief that it’s weak to speak and if you’re a real man, you’ll just get on with it.

“That’s absolute garbage. I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t asked for help; it’s not weak to speak — it’s a sign of strength.”

Living life to the full

Since that day in the Blue Mountains, Adam has worked hard to improve his mental and physical health.

It took him three years to find a psychologist he felt truly understood him.

He began exercising, losing weight and gaining in confidence and resilience.

“I swim, run or cycle six days a week – exercise has been a game changer for me,” Adam says.

“I love getting out in the fresh air and in nature now; I also meditate daily, I journal my thoughts every night and I start every morning with 15 minutes of silence – it’s just me and my inner thoughts and it’s a beautiful way to start my day.”

Adam says all of these things help him have a clear mind and help him thrive.

Last year he achieved a milestone when he completed his first triathlon in Jervis Bay, NSW.

Remember, you’re not alone

Adam says the past has made him who he is.

“Every experience, including the toxic experiences, have been part of my journey,” he says.

“Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have believed I was capable of achieving everything I’ve done so far.

“I hope people who are struggling realise that there is hope and that they are never alone – they just need to speak out and ask for help.”

If you or someone you know needs mental health support call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

Easy Target by Adam Blum, published by Big Sky Publishing, RRP $29.99.

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Written by Sarah Marinos.