Tuesday, 29 December 2015

I Cannot Do 2015 Again

It's over.  2015 c'est fini. Last week I talked about reflecting upon how lucky we are compared to others and how I was trying to be positive. This week, with a funeral to attend, I am in no mood to candy coat it; in essence 2015 nearly killed me, literally, and I cannot do it again.

Obviously I cannot do 2015 again without the use of a TARDIS, although I am sure everyone has things they would love to try and do differently. I literally mean, there is no way I could face a 2016 as bas as my 2015. In June this year, my mental health had become such an issue over the 6-8 months that I tried to kill myself. With my work situation and the stress playing a key part triggering my condition from an occasional thing to a legal disability. In 2015, I went from having a career and being excited and committed to being unfit to work and unable to make most telephone calls. I know it is the last blog of the year and I should reflect on all the good but, perhaps a symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder, all I can sense is how awful this year has been and therefore the next 12 months shall continue the trend. I've tried to remain positive; reading quotes about courage ad fighting the good fight.
Please read and share my blog.
Together we can defeat MH stigma

I've had a couple of high rating blogs over the past 12 months which do reflect some of the bigger issues and now is a good time to reread them and throw my 'tuppence' in. All of these received hundreds of reads, sometimes hundreds more than I normally get - so thank you for sharing and commenting, Click the title to open and read:
 
> Blowing Anxiety Away and Accepting Distress
Part of this post was worrying about the UK pondering about hopping in and out of the EU and how that would affect my duel nationality. The rest was looking at some arty farty cloud blowing. I still think it is arty farty but I enjoy mindfulness and thanks to my Godmother, I've even dabbled in Reiki; and that does work.
www.MattStreuli.uk

> What is the Point?
Re-reading this post I seem to be sending some bizarrely mixed signals. It seems I am thriving and better able to live with the pressure easing on me yet that nagging anxiety and suicidal thoughts still plague me. I sometimes feel like this now; overall it is OK and yet I can't help ponder if suicide is an easier option. There is a fantastic poem at the bottom of that post which should answer that thought.

> Mental Health is like Diabetes
I really like this blog. It reads quite well despite how I confused and panicked I remember feeling around that time. The overall point still stands and it is something I would like to emphasise and revisit: all of mental health is a spectrum. It is equally like Diabetes given that when under control, we can all live happy and fulfilling lives.
I love my friends and family.
They have kept me alive
A shoutout to my twitter/tumblr
friends too who have held my hand

> Closing the Door
It was around this time I went from being upset to feeling anger and also a sense of injustice. As I have argued throughout the past few months of my blog, mental health is legally equal to physical health. Reading this again reminds me of how hurt and betrayed I felt. The law appears to be on my side but time will tell.

> The Mental Health Fight - MOST BLOG VIEWS IN 2015
When I wrote this I literally wanted to give a brief overview of my story thus far and then review a fantastic project providing distractions to those like myself who can spiral into black patches. Writing honestly and openly not only fights the stigma surround mental health but also helps me understand, rationalise and process where I am and how I feel. This post was summary and included key themes such as my alcoholic mother, my interview on LBC Radio this year, discrimination and my suicide attempt. I am proud to be where I am. It has been so F##KING hard.

> I have a disability - MOST HUFF POST VIEWS
This was a gateway into a eye-opening article I wrote for the Huffington Post. I've received some amazing feedback through emails, my recently updated website and places like tumblr; yet I post and print screen of some amazing feedback on that post. It makes me feel I have achieved something and I'm not failing at life. Having a disability means I'm succeeding in survival. The linked HuffPost article is my personal favourite.
Follow my Story on social media
Links below 

I have come soo far and there were some good times in 2015 too. There is a video with a few fun moments at the very bottom.

Anyway...

Thank you once again for all your support - please follow me in all the right places on social media and share the link to this blog.

A big thank you to all my friends and
family for putting up with me. You are stars
So before I conclude with another shameless plug for the pantomime I starring in (4 weeks away!!) and I share some pictures and videos of 2015.

I'd love for you to comment here and share what your favourite post of 2015 has been.

Was it a blog post or perhaps something on my twitter, instagram or Tumblr? Comment and links are below.

THANK YOU


Here comes 2016... Best of Luck.

I'm Matt. I'm 26 and I write a mental health blog and articles for the Huffington Post. I'm also the Chairman and dame of the Iver Heath Drama Club in South Bucks. I host The Matt Streuli Show on Southwaves Radio and live near West London.
Videos: YouTube.com/MattStreuli
Twitter : @mattstreuli
IG: instagram.com/p/_hk9w9AiBS/
Tumblr : mattstreuli.tumblr.com/
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Hope you had a Safe and Merry Christmas
Need help? In the UK, call Samaritans free on 116 123. Alternatively, further information plus legal support lines are available from MIND, the mental health charity, at www.mind.org.uk 



instagram.com/matthewstreuli/
instagram.com/matthewstreuli/



















Tuesday, 22 December 2015

My Christmas Reflection 2015

I'm not religious or spiritual but read and share this post and a few from our past few months. Take this time to reflect yet appreciate what we have achieved and who helped us get here, especially those no longer with us, and how we can help others.
 
Despite my outward happy and panto-like character, unless I am somewhere I feel safe, I really struggle to force myself to do normal things such as using the telephone. The fear and anxiety of what could happen affects everyone, some more than others. 
Find more on The Huffington Post
 This week I'm just asking you to stop for a minute with your glass of mulled wine, close your eyes and realise how lucky each of us are and how hard we have all worked to achieve our accomplishments this year. Whilst for some of you that maybe degrees or fortune, for others like myself it is the fact I am still alive and still fighting. Remember that reminder of a post from a few weeks ago. 9.9 MILLION days are lost each year in the UK due to mental health such as stress or depression.

At this moment there are 20,000 people in hospital and likely to miss Christmas due to mental health (See the very bottom of this post for more). Even more people will be struggling at home and work. Time to Change research shows that over half (55%) of parents in England have never spoken to their children about the topic of mental health (including wellbeing, stress, anxiety). I've argued that mental health is a spectrum or sliding scale but how many people out there are just ignorant about mental health? How many people are discriminating against mental health because they do not understand and/or are scared? How many people have mental health issues themselves, minor or severe, and simply do not realise it or how to ask for help? You might sometimes 'bite your lip' when it comes to the family members you see over this festive period but there are many people who really have to force themselves to socialise, let alone wash and smile.

Also, when you stop to reflect, think of those we have lost this year. Next week I go to my second funeral of 2015 as the drama club loses a third member. Is it only 'post mortem', you stop to reflect everything that person has done for you? All the good and positives that person helped into your life. Perhaps we regret not seizing more opportunities but either way, reflect upon those happier times and be happy you were there.

I will dearly miss Sandra, the drama club's Vice-Chairman who died last week; she was everyone's Nan. If I reflect slightly further back into the year, my best friend's mother lost her fight with cancer. Neither would want me sat around sulking but it is good to remember the cheeky jokes and the love and care we shared. I am sure the same goes for you.
See more on Instagram and Tumblr

Even though I can seriously struggle with the confrontation and the shouting and the overwhelming positivity of Christmas, I am still very grateful for the friends and family I have and extremely grateful to you; my readers! Whether you are reading my recent post, or even a post from months ago, and sharing them on your twitters and Facebooks you help me feel understood and not as alone as the 'black dog' would let me.

So stop. Hold your drink. Take deep breaths. Remember where you were 12 months ago and where you sit today. So much has happened and it whilst it hasn't always been easy some of it was fun. You've worked so hard to get here and if your journey is like mine it may feel like you are falling behind on a cold race of life. Mental health will do that but keep on. I certainly feel that I am in a worse place than 12 months ago but all I can do is try.

Next week I will tell you of a few plans I have plus share some more positive memories of my 2015. In the meantime, thank you for reading and tweeting, and have a very safe caring christmas.

DONATE TO MIND :  Text SUPPORT to 70660 to give £3Text costs £3 plus network charge.   Mind receives 100% of your donation.   Obtain bill payers permission. Charity No 219830

Matt Streuli is a blogger, actor and YouTuber who is passionate about mental health and his local community. He has made a career in customer service, entertainment and customer care. Matt is the Chairman and dame of the Iver Heath Drama Club in South Bucks.  He hosts The Matt Streuli Show on Southwaves Radio  and lives near Pinewood Studios on the edge of London. 


Need help? In the UK, call Samaritans free on 116 123. Alternatively, further information plus legal support lines are available from MIND, the mental health charity, at www.mind.org.uk 

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Last Christmas?

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Salutations!

I write this blog with a nagging feeling hanging over me. Everything I have written here has been done in my opinion and with fact to back it up.  For example, last week I wrote a Huffington Post article about the realisation that my condition is a disability; I know that as a fact not just because I read up on the law but because a solicitor read my NHS and Occupational Reports and told me so. I say this because I have been asked to keep my grievance confidential which confuses me, least because I have been openly honest here on my blog since I first went on long term sick and made verbal complaints in October. 'Tis late to ask?

I guess it all boils down to freedom of speech versus libel.

Libel is the act of publishing or displaying something that is damaging to another person that cannot be supported by fact. In legal terms they call it defamation which is intentionally saying something false with the view to cause damage. However, I have no interest to cause any damage. I have gone out of my way to try and offer a honest view of where I am and how I feel but always related to facts and the evidence we have; therefore never intentionally false. I would like the situation to end tomorrow with a new job somewhere else in the company - the company I have never named. In short, you only know who my grievance is if you work there or the employer has told you and you've added one and one together.

Perhaps I am trying to read subtext where there is not any. Is this a sign of my mental health illness? I have been accused of 'blowing things out of proportion' before which is why I used to hang on and suffer into self-harm just so I wasn't made to feel a failure. Perhaps, I should just read that now finally my complaint is being investigated. As I've previously written, my condition fits several criteria to be considered a disability and the solicitor made it clear that I was legally disabled six months ago when I tried to take my own life.  Now, because a solicitor has lifted the shutter on the Equality Act and the Health and Safety at Work Act, it is being taken more seriously. For that reason, I'm not going to say anything regarding that issue for a week or so except refer you (links are in blue) to what is already out there.

The only thing I will add is that I spoke once again to the Legal Team at MIND, the Mental Health Charity I am proud to be a member of, and ACAS.

This year around 20,000 families will have an empty chair at their Christmas table because a loved one has been admitted to hospital with a mental health problem.
- MIND Christmas Appeal Details at the bottom of this post.
Let me give you an analogy...
I volunteer at the local non-profit community group.
Being a panto dame is great fun but with a title such as Chairman, I have quite a bit of responsibility.

If I find out that someone is at risk, whether formally told or informally, I have a duty of care to investigate and act or take appropriate steps. An example would be documenting what we know and contacting the Child Protection helpline for the County Council. What ACAS explained to me is that the analogy applies in every workplace. Whether it is a faulty piece of machinery or a damaging situation, you have a duty of care to investigate, rectify and/or report. Failing to do so, in either scenario, makes you accountable for the suffering and the further endangerment; this means that it is no longer an 'accident'.

Thank you to SANE for
 their SMS support
Having spoken with solicitors and ACAS, I already have a plan if there is no solution but I sincerely hope there is. If anything, this just hangs over everyone and applies pressure to my mental health. If it was not for the fantastic people at MIND, Hillingdon Law Centre and ACAS I would just think I am 'playing up'.

This leads me onto some triggers I've been experiencing. I haven't self-harmed since October -AMAZING - but I am having suicidal thoughts. Perhaps it is just Crimbo and I am 'Bah Humbug' but with this hanging over me, the threat of no pay and losing my flat, my illness is whispering in my other ear that sweet death would be the undeniable smoking gun and the release of pressure I need. I think I get why men can be so bah humbug. My theory is that we can see how hard and horrible, unfair and hurtful, life can be. The fact children are ignorant of it (blissfully) and women seem so much better and coping with it, just winds us up even more.

My favourite Christmas film is Die Hard (see christmas jumper!) which embodies all of that - except the suicide part of course. If you have 5 minutes, one of my favourite authors Matt Haig has written a piece on mental health at this festive time and perhaps you could have a read - before you share my blog.

See me in panto! www.ihdc.co.uk
But, I have to fight. I feel generally better than I have done for a few months and I will do what I can to stop this from killing me - unless I am out of options. I am lucky to have an amazing group of friends, an awesome drama club with pantomime and a pretty good family - minus the shouting. 

Considering I am mentally ill, suffered discrimination and my mother drank herself to death when I was 13, I guess it could be worse. If it goes to ACAS and then the tribunal or a public inquest, I guess you will publically find out how!


Before I wrap up, just a reminder of a post from a few weeks ago. 9.9 MILLION days are lost each year in the UK due to mental health such as stress or depression. We all understand that companies had to tighten their belts (and profit margins!) in the recession but at what stage does damaging your human resource outweigh the savings you were making? Sir Richard Branson believes that caring for your staff leads your staff to care about you and your customers.

Maybe if this is my last christmas, then everyone will care about mental health.

DONATE TO MIND :  
Text SUPPORT to 70660 to give £3
Text costs £3 plus network charge.  Mind receives 100% of your donation.  Obtain bill payers permission.  Customer care 020 8215 2243 Charity No 219830

Need help? In the UK, call Samaritans free on 116 123. Alternatively, further information plus legal support lines are available from MIND, the mental health charity, at www.mind.org.uk 
Matt Streuli is a blogger, actor and YouTuber who is passionate about mental health and his local community. He has made a career in customer service, entertainment and customer care.
Matt is the Chairman and dame of the Iver Heath Drama Club in South Bucks.  In his spare time, he hosts The Matt Streuli Show on Southwaves Radio (Thursday 8pm) and lives near Pinewood Studios on the edge of London. 

A photo posted by Matthew E Streuli (@matthewstreuli) on

"I am sorry to announce that great-grandmother, panto lover and Vice-President Sandra Corcoran passed away earlier...

Posted by Iver Heath Drama Club on Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

It's OK, It's a Disability

Last week I finally had some luck with legal aid and met an employment solicitor! I've written an article for the Huffington Post which explains more. In essence, it feels so good to feel that it is OK to have my mental health. Perhaps it is my illness, but I always feel like I'm the odd one and I'm the one who should always check what they say and think and feel.

 I've been made to feel at times that I'm not reacting appropriately to things and sometimes that is my own frustrations such as I can't make telephone calls anymore. Either way, meeting someone who knows the law and to hear that my efforts and feelings are justified made me feel so much more accepted and I'm not being a burden or overreacting!! It's like the world saying, we recognise you are trying and thats why its a disability.

Once you've  read my article (click here peoples!) I've included a tumblr post I posted last weekend as well as an inspiration quote at the bottom :P

Yes, it is me singing but even more important was the feedback.
Please read and share my article on HuffPost
Feedback is so important and I know some of you have been reading my blog for months or just since that uber popular one where I spoke about suicide and discrimination but it is all big steps towards making mental health normal. The only difference is that the further down the scale you go, the more you mental health 'disables' you from living a normal life. So thank you, for all your feedback and please do keep sharing and retweeting my blog.

Talk about normal life, did I mention I'm in pantomime in a few weeks? Tickets on sale. Thank you :P


http://mattstreuli.tumblr.com/post/134618583017/this-is-the-comments-within-an-hour-of-someone





Lounge fifteen presents Matthew E Streuli xxxx
Posted by Carol Campling on Saturday, 5 December 2015





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FOLLOW ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!! TWITTER, TUMBLR and INSTAGRAM!! 

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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Matt Idol 2015

Over the past year my blog has left comedy and focused on mental health.
@MattStreuli
 This week I'm bringing back some of that comedy. As December starts its time to review the last year and offer up some candidates for people who deserve more recognition; people I admire. 

This is Matt Idol. #cuemusic



 It's not a way to idolise me - I wouldn't idolise me but that's because I've met me. We've got a few candidates from different aspects of life so please bear with and tweet me your feedback. Below each little write up I've included a relevant video or picture - please keep reading - I've put a reward at the very bottom.

Laura Nuttall  @Lozzamogz

Laura is clever, articulate and relatable young lady from North England. I stumbled across her YouTube videos earlier this year as I was looking for information on what it is like to be 'sectioned'. Laura has, and does, struggle with mental health describing herself as 'Schizoaffected'. Earlier this year she posted some honest videos about her experience in mental health hospitals in the UK; some of which was devastating to hear. When you watch her videos, you gain an insight into her life and also how normal she is; despite the stigma of mental health and being section represents. I have only briefly spoken to Laura on twitter but I find her story (through her social media and YouTube) to be particularly inspiring. Here is a bright, beautiful and compassionate young woman, similar age to me, who has had such a difficult struggle and yet still has acheived so much including graduating in psychology. Laura was admitted to hospital earlier this month but was well enough to attend the MIND Awards 2015 where she won the Blogger category. She was discharged earlier this week and is making great progress. Before moving onto the next entry, have a look at her channel especially the video below. Seeing Laura smile, after know she has been so ill, made me beam!
Thank you for sharing your story, I would love to come close to your honesty, your passion and your success.



Jenson Button MBE

Jenson has had every reason to feel angry or at least frustrated. He's been loyal to his team McLaren for almost five years and has acted as a proud ambassador not only for the sport but also his fellow drivers. Since his world championship win in 2009, Jenson has has a strong performance - even winning my favourite race in 2011 where in Canada he won the race after ending up last place due to 6 pit stops and a penalty in a soaking 4 hour wet race. Despite having an OK car, McLaren have kept falling behind the competition since the engines in Formula One moved from the noisy muscle to smaller more-fuel-efficient hybrid cars. This year, McLaren finished 9th out of 10 teams. As a McLaren fan I am disappointed and frustrated to the extent I can completely understand and forgive Alonso's outbursts throughout the year. Alonso, Jenson's team mate' joined McLaren because he had nothing to lose and felt that the risk of a new Honda engine might be the edge he needs to compete with the mighty Mercedes - but its the exact opposite. Despite all of this, plus the break-in to his house this August where thieves gassed him and his wife to sleep, he has remained cool, clever and kept on. His cheeky grin never far away. He could of so easily walked away and joined a TV commentary team or even went and raced in rally or endurance - yet he fights on. His car was a go kart compared to some of his competitors, yet he has still provided some of the most exciting wheel to wheel action of the season. Louis Hamilton and others will have their names recorded in other awards but I wanted to celebrate other achievements and my 'fandom' for Jenson keeps growing. The below video highlights Jenson's personality especially in a poor year of F1.


Mental Health Aware

instagram.com/mentalhealthaware/

This is an Instagram and twitter account run by Deano Hollett. There is not much of a backstory but I would ask you have a look and follow them. 

They post several times a day with a range of pictures and quotes some are to inspire you and others to help us all reevaluate our viewpoints. Either way, it raises the profile of mental health and I always enjoy reading their posts.  pic.twitter.com/Y4jOkCKI0N
  

Tom Scott

 If you have never heard of him, then you are missing out. I wanted to feature a YouTuber as I probably watch more YouTube than broadcast TV and feel that some of the content they are directing, producing, editing and presenting is freaking amazing. I looked through the channels I regularly watch and decided that Tom does an incredible job of every aspect and quite a bit of it, solo. His regular series "Things You Might Not Know" is genius and takes the viewer from weird British bridges to the radioactive remains of Chernobyl. Whether it is the bizarre code that killed Chrome, the moonpig bug or the 'Heartbeat' threat, Tom is there quickly to explain in simple yet entertaining ways how it works and why this is an issue. His videos are fun, clever yet most of all entertaining. Some of his videos are pure comedy and some carry a serious message but that's part of his charm keeping you glued to every video. PLEASE, I implore you, to go subscribe to his channel and binge on his videoes. Thou shalt not regret it.


And that's the end of this list...

Come see me in panto! Details at www.ihdc.co.uk
for now at least!

Your feedback is always welcome and I'd like thank you for staying with my weekly blog and reading every post - the stats show you do :)
It means the world to me that I am able to help promote better understanding of mental health, whilst therapeutically helping myself and hopefully we've all had a laugh at times too (suicide attempt and discrimination aside!). 

Keep scrolling, I've posted a few favourite things from the past week. Keep sharing, and please do tweet your feedback - THANK YOU xxx




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A video posted by Matthew E Streuli (@matthewstreuli) on
A video posted by Matthew E Streuli (@matthewstreuli) on

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

9.9 Million Days and I'm in Limbo

bottled_void / flickr
 Creative Commons
At this moment I am on long term sick, contributing to the 9.9 million days that are annually lost to work-based stress or related issues surrounding mental health according to the Health and Safety Executive. I've agreed with my employer that I will not return to that post I now have to hope that a new position is found before my sick pay runs out.

  Four months ago, I tried to kill myself. I'll try to summarise and leave the full details on previous posts of my blog but the main cause was stress and workload at work.  Meanwhile I've seen GPs, my psychologist, I've spoken with Citizens Advice Bureau and the fantastic team at MIND, the mental health charity. Last week I covered my meeting with HR. He discriminated against me; I assume because of my health condition and so it feels like they tried to constructively dismiss me. I went straight to HR. He knowingly exacerbated my condition or at least did nothing to prevent conditions getting worse.
The predominant cause of work related stress ... was workload (tight deadlines, too much work/pressure/responsibility). Other factors identified included a lack of managerial support, organisational changes at work, violence and role uncertainty (lack of clarity about job/uncertain what meant to do.) 
- HSE Stress Fact Sheet / Labour Force Survey (2009/10-2011/12)

I am now in limbo.

 I could do nothing and hope that a position is found but either my cynical side or my illness makes me think I am damaged goods for disposal. I want to find a good solicitor who will take on the fight of discrimination and personal injury or failure in duty of care and get me the compensation that will pay for my care. Where do I find them? Who would take on a case knowing I have no money and an income about to expire. A side effect of my mental health is that I feel pressured to act now. I have to fight 'my battle' now, whilst I am fit and articulate before the 'black dog' strikes me down. Remember, 43% of all work days lost due to ill health in 2014 relate back to stress and workplace mental health, so I cannot be the only one in these shoes.

New glasses!
 One option I am trying to pursue is the career of being a spokesman for mental health. Recently I was invited to take part in a debate on LBC Radio discussing the public health crisis of male suicide; something I am lucky to have survived. How do I move on?
I've tried to publicise my story through twitter and even relate it to the fantastic efforts to get the male suicide crisis discussed just last Thursday in the House of Commons. I would love to be on the review of the newspapers on Sky or the BBC or maybe I could make my wage in just offering my story and being a point of reference for the media?

 Do I just wait and hope for a lucky break?

  Post continues below...

are you looking for contributors / commentators on #mentalhealth or #malesuicide ? #Survivor https://t.co/lk8GZgT5H8Matthew E Streuli (@mattstreuli) 
http://mattstreuli.tumblr.com/post/133521941455/the-life-expectancy-for-people-with-mental-health


I find myself stuck.
At this time, I cannot claim benefits and any legal action would take months. How do I pay my mortgage? What can I do? Will I ever be able to work in a office or any stressful environment like a shop again?

2015-11-23-1448241525-5474571-12239745_1099603530051861_4842113095977253601_n.jpg
Tickets are available online at www.ihdc.co.uk
All profits help fund our nonprofit community club.  
Iver Heath Drama Club 
 My story is not all gloom. I have many positives to hold on to. I have an amazing set of friends and family plus I have found positive and sometimes therapeutic outlets such as my blog, the articles I write on Huffington Post and even my time as a Dame in the pantomime at the local drama club - I look stunning in pink boots! Whatever I do though, I still have this nagging feeling that I am just hoping for one lucky break, for one chance, otherwise I have no idea how I will buy my bread and milk this Christmas.

What else can I try?

Need help? In the UK, call The Samaritans free on 116 123. Alternatively, further information plus legal support lines are available from MIND, the mental health charity, at www.mind.org.uk
Matt Streuli is a blogger, actor and YouTuber who is passionate about mental health and his local community. He has made a career in customer service, entertainment and customer care. He is the Chairman and dame of the Iver Heath Drama Club in South Bucks. 
In his spare time, he hosts The Matt Streuli Show on Southwaves Radio (Thursday 8pm) and lives near Pinewood Studios on the edge of London. His website is www.MattStreuli.uk
A video posted by Matthew E Streuli (@matthewstreuli) on
photo credit: There's more to life than bills & more bills. via photopin (license)

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Closing the door

Over the past few editions of my blog I've been recapping my story and explaining the anxiety I've felt towards my meeting with HR but actually I didn't need to worry so much. 


If I didn't ask for help they would have my blood on their hands.
 -Last weeks blog post

I got up early and dosed myself on propranolol before heading to my parents' house.  
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=503977179776810&substory_index=0&id=499312536909941


I was asked if I was making a complaint or a grievance but even with their explanation, I'm still not too sure of the difference. They didn’t answer the points in my letter per se but were happy to accept that I am not willing to return to work in that team for that manager. Whist that is never how I would want to leave a post, I have to accept that I have been forced out and so close that door.

They did imply I should go see my psychologist again but given my manager's behaviour I think this might just be to cover myself legally and prove this was a key cause of my current sick leave. HR did agree to look for positions for me elsewhere in the company and I should look too. Unless we find a new position before hand, we suggested another meeting in early January as my paid sick leave runs out so we can discuss how we proceed. My stepmother was present to act as an advocate for me and did ask that given they accept my manager’s behaviour was wrong, would they extend my paid sick leave. The answer was no and any further wages would be down to an assessment by their Health Insurance. 

I feel a massive sense of relief that they were so understanding and perhaps in hindsight I allowed my anxiety to get the better of me regarding how bad this meeting could have been or how negative they may have been. They have asked that I remained signed off until we can agree on a new position – I don’t know if this is best legally but I am currently signed off until end of this month. Part of me is worried that I may not be able to work, that I am too ill, and all because of my time in that team; I wasn’t this ill 12 months ago – I guess I won’t know until I try but I have a mortgage and bills to pay.

Once I get their letter summarising the meeting I'm going to call MIND's legal helpline. They admitted the manager shouldn't say those things but didn't comment on whether laws had been broken or if it was bullying. There is no harm in getting legal advice. If I can prove my condition is worse due to their inaction and treatment, surely that is a personal injury claim?


My stepmother did raise one question to me privately regarding my diagnosis. She asked why I have borderline personality disorder rather than bipolar disorder and I couldn’t give a definitive answer. I think it was because my ‘black patches’ were caused by events rather than just occurring but She believes that I show clear signs of severe depression and clear signed of mania, some of which I miss because she has an external view compared to me.  She is a Specialist Nurse who has just retired but has limited experience in mental health.  I have been reading DSM 5 which suggested there is a lot of overlap between the two conditions. In theory, would it be possible to trial me on medication for bipolar? Is there any harm in trying? 

higeneskimdom/tumblr
Going back to personal injury, I just wanted to mention the terrorist attacks that have taken place in Paris as well as the incidents in Iraq and Syria to name a few. I need to leave you with a thought that I realised through a tumblr post (below) in the past couple of days. The injuries are not limited to those who were shot or blown apart. 
Bataclan Theatre aftermath: shockmansion.com

The mental health injury spreads to those who help the victims, whether medical professionals or locals trying to help, and even further to the victims friends and family at home. To witness the blood and brutality first hand is a horrifying image especially as stories come to light such as those from the Bataclan theatre where people lay hidden under their dead friends. The wounds in the mental health are more complex and will take much longer to heal. Learning to move on, understand and accept what you have seen or the loss of a loved one in such a needless and barbaric way can never be as easy as shutting a door.




http://mattstreuli.tumblr.com/post/133395168817/httpsinstagramcomp-kucvkaiom-come-see-me


http://mattstreuli.tumblr.com/post/133201223017/i-had-a-horrible-day-i-am-from-paris-there-were



A photo posted by Matthew E Streuli (@matthewstreuli) on

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The Mental Health Fight & Unboxing a Little Box of Distractions

Four months ago, I tried to kill myself. The main cause was stress and workload at work, since we had lost several members of staff without them being replaced, but the trigger was an incident at work where I defended someone I 'saw' as vulnerable but I came under attack. Without consciously knowing it, I needed to look after that vulnerable person just as I was the sole carer for my Mother between the ages of 8 and 13. She died when I was 13 from alcoholism. My 'damaged' hardware and software of my mind crashed. Once I returned to work, I volunteered my NHS assessments to my employer, saw their appointed Doctor who gave them a list of adjustments (which they only followed one of) and I agreed to be more open rather than bottle things up. I did. We all did.
I lasted just over 3 months. The trigger was when I brought something to the attention of my senior Manager and challenged him, just like we are always being told to. I told him he had offended some of the staff and he replied with "I don't care". It set off the same cascade failure we had seen a few months earlier except this time, I asked for help. When I told that same manager I had been signed off due to work he replied "No one else has a problem." He even tried to convince me to resign. I've seen GPs, my psychologists, I've spoken with solicitors and legal teams at Citizens Advice Bureau and ACAS as well as the fantastic team at MIND, the mental health charity. He discriminated against me, I assume because of my health condition, and tried to constructively dismiss me. I went straight to HR.

I self harmed because of him.  They knowingly exacerbated my condition.

On Monday, after some postponement, I have my first meeting with HR. If I didn't ask for help, this meeting could be taking place at an inquest in front of the press and a coroner. If I didn't ask for help they would have my blood on their hands.

I summarise my story because some of you are new to my blog. I have proactively removed any evidence of who I work for from my website and social media and I have never mentioned it here or in my interviews with the press. I want to tell my story but I do not wish for the negligent behaviour of a man to damage such a fantastic company I would work for but, I make clear, I would rather KILL MYSELF, then work in that department again or for that man again.

Such a meeting is playing on my mind. I went on a midnight walk last night to try and clear it. Will they be reasonable? Will they care about me? Will they be concerned for the welfare of those at work, working Saturdays to try and keep up? Will they want me to back in a different division?

Even though I am so much better than I was four months ago when I tried to kill myself, and better than I was a month ago when I first asked for help, my anxiety has returned and I am scared for my future. How will I pay my credit cards? My mortgage? It would be great if I could do more interviews like the one for LBC last week and fill my life with the little volunteer projects for the local Police and even this blog, but how will that feed or water me?

One way of helping people with mental health, especially those in a difficult place or an unhealthy frame of mind, is a box of distractions. Kerry Elliot is running a scheme where those who need the box can get one for free or a small donation. The scheme is crowdfunded. It is a brilliant idea and is really helping me at the moment, taking myself away from some of the more destructive thoughts. A video review is down below but boxes like this are really helping. I wonder whether a monthly box, like lootcrate, would work. I'm quite interested to use some of them and as you will see from the video, my cat Punch likes them too.

I have so much going for me. Hopefully you'll agree my interview on LBC went really well and maybe they will give me the leg up to do more media things. My radio show has a steady amount of listeners and my blog gets steadily more popular. The pantomime is coming really well and for the first time in a couple of years, I'm not being all negative and hateful towards it, an apparent side effect of work. I'm fighting. Fighting not to let them kill me. Fighting not to overthink. Fighting not to fail. Fighting for what is right and just. Fighting so that people with mental health are not locked away or left for dead. Fighting to survive and so that others survive too. Fighting to help others, and not hurt them.

I can see all of this on a loop. I'm going to open up that box and distract myself. I have to try.








http://mattstreuli.tumblr.com/post/132933305867/buy-your-tickets-now-and-the-booking-fee-is-free