• Tom Robinson

Blind student’s emotional reunion with guide dog after seven months lonely and isolated

I thought I would write a less involved post today to balance out the rather difficult topics I generally discuss on here.


Committing to writing almost daily on the subject of mental health (and illness) is quite ambitious because not only does it rake up a lot of unwanted memories it also takes me over 2 hours to research, write, edit and publish each of these posts!


I am also having to write the blog the night before and then edit and publish it at 6a.m before going to the yard to ride out racehorses which is proving quite exhausting!


Anyway, I’m determined to help others so I will continue to push on through.


I’m not reaching nearly as many people as I would like though and I really need to be reaching other sufferers, but I am determined to keep churning these articles out because I know that they are incredibly important.


I also know that I would have really benefitted from peer support and guidance about how to not only survive, but to recover and reach remission from severe mental illness - This is something I had completely given up hope of ever achieving and I want others to know that it IS possible to recover and reclaim a full and productive life, even in the most DIRE of circumstances!


My aim is to write daily for the whole of this year, by which time I will (hopefully) have documented and discussed most aspects of mental health/illness and disclosed everything I have to offer on the subject!


Between the blog and the book (which is hopefully coming) the full story of survival, treatment and recovery will be available to others, but until then I can’t relax, because even though I’m in full remission, I know that there are millions of people stuck under duvets ‘dying to stay alive’ and in brutal suffering and I need to reach them without delay!


The other reason I plough on with my writing is that I know it will be impossible to get a decent publisher without being noticed or having an online presence. Since I limit social media to an absolute minimum (because I don’t think it’s good for my mental health) marketing myself is proving quite tricky, so I’m reliant on others noticing the importance of what I’m doing!


Only time will tell as to whether I can actually make a difference but for now I will just continue to write, hope, and keep persisting in my mission to help other people.


In contrast to what I’ve been writing about recently, I saw something a little bit more positive in the form of a cute news report on the BBC last week which I thought I would mention today.


The story involved a student and her delight at being reunited with her dog after months of feeling isolated and lonely without her.


Kimberley Burrows, who is studying art at Leeds university, was separated from her ‘best friend’ for seven months when guide dog ‘Tami’ underwent an operation to remove several tumours.


With lockdown adding to problems of social isolation, not having Tami around for comfort and companionship left Kimberley feeling especially vulnerable and her mental health began to deteriorate.


Kimberley’s confidence was also affected, and she started to avoid leaving the house, leading to an increased feeling of isolation and depression.


Thankfully, the story has a happy ending since Tami was reunited with her owner in late March and Kimberley reports that she is now feeling fully well again. She says:

“It feels like she hasn’t been gone at all and like I haven’t been through any of that heartbreak. She slotted back into my life perfectly like my other puzzle piece.”

Animals can play such an important role when it comes to comforting people, especially those with combined mental health/learning and physical difficulties.


I mentioned this in a previous post because as well as the companionship aspect, the act of hugging animals releases oxytocin in the brain which is a chemical associated with happiness and reduced feelings of stress.


Now that I am well, I am really enjoying being around the horses and dogs, but I do struggle to talk about the benefits of animals on mental ‘health’ because when I was ill nothing was enough to help me.


Unfortunately, my illness was so horrific that I could not really help myself until I found a medical intervention that actually worked, and that’s why I would argue that animals, talking, exercise and nutrition are more associated with mental health (well-being) than mental illness which is something completely different.


Anyway, I am thrilled that Kimberley is now doing so well and is happily reunited with her best friend. It was certainly nice to see something a little bit more positive on the news rather than the usual horror stories that seem to be continuously clogging our screens and news feeds!


If you would like to read the BBC News article about Kimberley and dog Tami then you can find it here.


Thanks for reading,


Speak to you soon,

TR

www.dyingtostayalive.com




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