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  • Writer's pictureTom Robinson

'Death with a heartbeat': Horse & Hound magazine covers my horrific battle with mental illness

Updated: Apr 24, 2021

I'm so thrilled that people are picking up on what I'm trying to achieve through my writing, and all of the mental health messages that I'm threading into these posts on a daily basis.

On Saturday, Horse and Hound magazine published an article detailing some of my story, and the response I've had since has been incredible.

I've had so many messages from other sufferers thanking me for my honesty, but also seeking advice and comfort - I know what it's like and I'd much rather have heard from a fellow sufferer than a GP or psychiatrist when I was literally 'dying to stay alive', because true empathy and understanding can only come from someone who's been there and has experienced the pain first-hand.

I've also had enquiries and requests for my book which I'm currently seeking representation for. Anyone who's ever tried to get a book published will know this, but it's so hard to get noticed when you're a first time author with no literary contacts, and the frustration and worry I'm feeling is palpable!

I wrote the book 'Dying to Stay Alive!', two years ago, but it was rejected by the first batch of agents and publishers that I sent it to. Then my story evolved again (another book in itself), which is my next project, then I achieved full remission and decided that all this definitely needs publishing and documenting... there's just so much I want to do.

Anyway, I continue to try to get plucked out of the slush pile, but we will have to wait and see I suppose. I just know that the combination of memoir/ self-help/ real journal, is very important - It's something I couldn't find when I was looking for books to help me, and it's written as if I'm talking to the depressed and suicidal person, giving them support, advice, techniques, and survival strategies.

The book also offers so much understanding and insight through my own story, as well as how to cling on to life when it feels impossible and bucketfuls of hope and empathy. If anyone knows a literary agent could they please help me?!

Anyway, sorry for the shameless self-promotion - I'm just so desperate to help others and save lives. I know that between the two books, getting the treatment onto the NHS, and doing the huge fundraising event, that I can make a massive difference, but it can only happen if I get noticed, so please keep sharing and supporting me in my quest!

On a completely different note, today is international 'Self Injury Awareness Day', which I will be covering tomorrow when (hopefully) there will be some articles on the internet to share and discuss. I had a look last night but there's hardly anything from the patient's perspective on self harm and injury which I can only assume is because of the shame and stigma that still surrounds it.

I've never been a self-harmer really, but I did once try to break my own leg with a shooting stick in one of my first depressive episodes. My reasoning was that I needed a 'plausible' excuse for why I couldn't carry on competing the horses, in the bizarre hope that I could recover mentally in the enforced lay off, without admitting a problem and losing my owners and sponsors, (all of which is detailed in the book).

So, I do have a bit of insight into self harm and injury, but not to the extent of other sufferers. I wasn't really focusing on the physical pain as a substitute for my mental pain, which I know is the reasoning behind many people's actions when it comes to physically hurting themselves.

Anyway, I'm going to discuss all of this with someone more qualified to talk about it, later today, so look out for a very informative and insightful post tomorrow.

If you missed Saturday's article in the Horse & Hound about my mental health battle, don't worry because you can find it on the press page and also here.

Please keep the suggestions coming and please continue to share these posts and the site link so that others can benefit too.

Thanks for reading,

Speak to you soon,


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