The Andy Jackman Show – Talks with Jamie Milz about mental health for the Hold Fast Project

The Hold Fast Project – You’re not alone, we are all fighting our own demons so fuck the stigma and lets get our stories out there.
I haven’t known Jamie Milz for too long and from the times I had seen him and seeing what he posts on his social media he looks like a everyday happy dude. Before I started the Hold fast project I would post a R U OK instagram story each Sunday night and whoever replied with a no I would messaged to check in and see what was up… Jamie was one of those dudes and after a couple messages back and forth he opened up about his struggles over the years with mental health. For a dude to open up like that to another guy that he only semi knows takes some seriuos balls! But I’m glad you did my friend and I think the story below will hit home with a lot more people. This would be one of the best parts about this project it’s making new mates that you’re already on a different level with just from opening up and talking to each other. Thanks a lot for sharing your story dude.

Jamie Milz
I don’t think there was any one defining moment that lead to depression and anxiety for me, looking back it was just something that always seemed to have been there. But without realising there was a problem it grew inside me to the point it became obvious to those closest to me. A real wake up call was how I felt around the birth of my daughter three or so years ago. I knew I loved her and was stoked to be a father again, but that deep joyous feeling was missing. It was like looking at the world through a darkened lense.
My wife saw it in me and really pushed hard to to make sure I saw a doctor, she was right. I’d never really thought about mental illness at all until then, it just wasn’t something that was ever spoken of as I was growing up. I grew up believing men don’t talk, don’t cry, don’t share, we just get on with life and don’t complain too much.

As they do the GP prescribed anti depressants and pointed me toward a psychologist. I had a hard time finding one, or anyone for that matter, that I felt I could talk to. I’m just not a talker or someone thats all that comfortable sharing feelings or emotions. So I gave the talk therapy a miss and just stuck to the drugs, over time they became less effective and I got worse.

A year or so later I got hit by a car riding my motorbike home from work. After a few months stuck on the couch mending broken bones I finally got back to work to find I had no job anymore, and given many of my friendships were created at work they all seemed to dissolve as well. This was easily the lowest I had ever felt. Thoughts that I wasn’t good enough, that I didn’t have friends, that no one really cared just took over. I wont say I ever had suicidal thoughts as such, I’m not sure what counts there. I did catch myself wondering if some people might be better off if I wasn’t around, I wondered if anyone would turn up to my funeral if I wasn’t here anymore, just lots of shit like that.

After realising I wasn’t going to feel any better without making a few changes I went to talk to someone, and after a few tries found a really good psychologist. First job she worked on with me was to get off the anti depressants. Those pills were terrible, anyone who has extracted themselves from these drugs would understand. They are physically and mentally addictive and it was an absolutely horrible process to go through to get away from them. Next was the inevitable delve into history, and look at the impact my personal values have on my perception of me and ultimately my depression. At this point it became clear I had probably lived with mental illness since my teenage years. I just figured it was normal. Being thrust into taking on an adult role in my late teens with a family member incarcerated, doing what I had to do to look out for others, and any number of other things seem to have heaped a lot of pressure on from a relatively young age. This would prove to take a toll as I got older.

One of the other key drivers for my depression is an element of self blame. I wont lie, I have it pretty good. I have a well paying job, a nice house, new cars, bikes and other stuff and most importantly an amazing wife and two great kids. So now the guilt kicks in, how are you depressed when you have things others might only dream of? It’s your fault this is happening, if you were different stuff would be too… Well thats part of the rub I guess, sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to it, it’s just there. Sometimes I have no idea why I feel like I do but cant shake the feeling of impending doom or darkness.

Even after putting the work in I still have my good days, and my average ones, fortunately the truly dark ones are few and far between. I tend to overthink stuff, but I now know some of my triggers and I do anything and everything I can to recognise when shits going south and do something before I end up too far.

Depression is just such an odd thing, your not just sad, it’s more that you can see no light. I’m no hero in all this, I’m probably not the guy that will change the world with regard to mental health, I’m in awe of the guys that do but it’s just not me. Most will never know anything is wrong, I hide it where I can. But If I can do anything, it would be to attempt to explain what it’s like to be depressed or have anxiety to those that have been fortunate to never experience it. When it hits I’d love nothing more than to be able to just snap out of it, smile, whatever… if only it were that easy. But the support of those around, that I have shared with, is absolutely invaluable. That and knowing I’m not alone.

Hold Fast Project with Jamie Milz

Subscribe to receive Email-only discounts, alerts for flash sales and sneak peeks!

“Do You Wanna Loose Your Kneecap?” – Guess It’ll Be Easier To Find From Down There.

“I’ll Never Retire!” Full Conor McGregor Interview w/ Ariel Helwani On Next Fight, Khabib, Pub Punch