16 April 2024

Easy Target: Taming the Black Dog

| Rama Gaind
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Easy Target: Taming the Black Dog is the inspirational story of a young man’s journey from being a victim of bullying to forging fortitude and resilience to battle bullies and depression. Photo: Supplied.

Adam Blum is a NSW Rural Fire Service firefighter whose autobiography, Easy Target: Taming the Black Dog, reveals a personal story about overcoming adversity and depression.

Painting a raw emotional picture of heartache and eventual happiness, it’s easy to see how overcoming hardship has been a long and painful journey to when he was no longer a victim — and no longer an easy target.

One day in September 2014, everything changed for the Blue Mountains-based author. This is a hopeful story as one telephone call changed his destiny and Adam is still here to share his story to help others build their own inner strength and self-worth.

With true Aussie humour, Adam shares how he experienced complicated health issues at a young age, resulting in surgery, weight issues in his teens and relentless bullying into adulthood, which resulted in him trying to take his own life twice.

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“Right from day one at school, I had been bullied,” Adam writes. “Bullied for pretty much everything. Bullied for merely existing. And it hadn’t stopped when I entered the workforce.” He points out “… But what you need to understand is that I was already in a very dark place – a place one should never enter – and I had been living in it for many years. The place was called Depressionville, population me.”

Harsh words uttered sent him to the depths of despair. As we walk with him through the pages of Easy Target and feel his pain, we also share his highs and lows in life and learn lessons along the way to building his toughness. How Adam went from easy target, deciding to stand up and fight back to resilient warrior is a remarkable read.

He had some amazing and toxic people in his life. Aged six, he was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with learning difficulties.

“What we want and what our reality is can be quite different, and this was certainly the case for me,” Adam recalls. “I struggled with literacy, I couldn’t spell for …. and half the time everything on the blackboard was just a big blur that made no sense. Instead of laughing with friends, I had people laughing at me, pointing at me and calling me names.”

Even his coordination skills were not good. By the time he was eight, he was considered overweight.

“As if I didn’t have enough going on with my body, I now had to contend with being a ‘fatty’ and as a little boy, there appears to be nothing I could do about this.”

Not one to mince words, Adam doesn’t hold back on how he feels now about his trials and tribulations.

“This book is titled Easy Target because until a few years ago, I was a walking, talking target for people’s nastiness, and the years of bullying and dealing with medical issues had given me low self-esteem and a poor, ‘why me’ attitude. I have experienced the deepest, darkest hours of depression, and I almost became a statistic …”

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Learning resilience and forging fortitude in the fires of adversity have been two of the biggest factors in Adam regaining control of his life.

“I had to learn how to not be the target, how to deflect if I was spotted and zeroed in on, and what to do with the pain if I was hit. You can ignore the pain, hoping it will heal itself and just go away or you can recognise it, understand that pain is a completely normal human feeling and add it to your armoury. It can be used to help build your resilience shield so you can encounter things in life and be able to deal with them in a rational way.”

Adam has proved dreams really do come true. “Without commitment you will never start, but more importantly: without consistency you will never finish. Never give up.”

Easy Target: Taming the Black Dog, by Adam Blum, Big Sky Publishing, $29.99

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