Hi' I'm Matt Streuli, I'm a mental health advocate and this is my #mentalhealth blog. I survived suicide and I am the 'adult child' of an alcoholic. Aside from my radio show and being a pantomime theatre dame, I am a media volunteer for mental health charities such as MIND, a Time to Change Champion and a blogger for The Huffington Post. In 2015 I wrote an article for the CALM charity website and in 2016 my story was featured in an article in The Guardian newspaper.
It is very hard to write a blog post when it feels like there is nothing wrong. In short, I feel fine.
The last time I blogged about my mental health adventure (click here to see it) I was waiting a referral which I am please to confirm did happen.
Last Thursday I met a therapist at Upton Hospital in Slough.
From the outside Upton looks like a Victorian mansion that’s been requisitioned
into the NHS. In a small corner is the Slough Memory Clinic but once inside it feels
like a very clean and modern GP surgery. I was met by a therapist who took me into
a ‘Group Therapy’ room. With its high sided armchairs reminded me more of
the lounges in care homes where the inmates wait for death. I filled out the
same questionnaires that I completed a few weeks ago over the phones – to track
any changes I assume – and then I was ‘interviewed’. I think interviewed is the
best word to explain it as it didn’t feel like any CBT (Cognitive Behavioural
Therapy) session I have had. I gave a summary of recent highs including
pantomime and the last low. In her opinion, it does sound like bipolar and she
said she would refer me to a specialist team who using tools like CBT would
help me. At this time, just over a week later, I am yet to receive a letter
with an appointment.
At the time of the meeting I was low; not lowest and not in
a bad place but just low. I don’t know if it was that meeting or perhaps some
unimportant (in hindsight) news that triggered my crash. Over Thursday night
and into Friday morning I crashed to the bottom of my ‘cycle’. I had extremely
worrying thoughts even testing whether a belt would take my weight. I severed
all contact with the outside world and refused to even acknowledge it. The last
thing I felt I could do is socialise with people because it is so draining. Everyone
gets those days were we just can’t tolerate that loosed jawed person at work
who won’t shut up or that one member of the family everyone limits their time
with. I felt that there was no way I could put on the Matt Streuli act at all
and I didn’t want people seeing me unable to engage. I know the people reading
this will say that “we love you no matter what” and it does mean a lot to hear
that. However, I do not love myself and I feel I am burden; a burden I would
hate to impose on anyone. If I ever become a burden or severely disabled with
age where I do nothing but hinder the lives of others, I would kill myself. I would kill myself in
exactly the same way we euthanase pets when it’s the ‘kind’ thing to do. Why am
I any different to your cat?
Except that I don’t shit all over your floor.
On Sunday, my close friends Louis and Falcon turned up at my
flat. Knocking on doors and windows, they sent me texts demanding to see me. I
hid. I pulled my covers over me. I wanted to be alone in a self imposed exile. Everyone
was obviously worried about me and my unusual media blackout to the point that
Falcon and Louis went to my Dad’s house. My dad called me. My immediate
reaction was that I felt betrayed. Rationally I of course understand why they
went to my Parents and I am so grateful I have fantastic friends like this. Emotionally
I felt betrayed and this isn’t something I can justify. Over the next few days
I forced myself to interact with people and apart from a ‘low tolerance’ moment
of deleting a certain backstabbing hypocritical bitch from my facebook, I have
been coming up the other side of the ditch. I would like to point out that,
sometimes, it is worth purging some people from your life as you realise that those people are purely toxic. Yes, that means upsetting people which I do not like
BUT I would rather sever the link than continue to be hurt by their nasty
I have been to my GP and got another 4 weeks of meds and had
my dose doubled. It could just be the placebo effect but acting happy is a lot easier
than it was a week ago.
Part of me is looking forward to the next step of my referral
but somewhat dreading the inevitable step it brings with it; officially informing
Now cheer up. Its not all bad.
Thank you once again for reading my blog and please do retweet
and youtube and blah.
Did I mention I copresent one of the most popular ‘news’
podcasts on mixcloud? Check out OFF THE RADAR!
I hereby confirm that, with immediate effect, I have resigned from my post as Publicity Officer for the Iver Heath Drama Club.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the club as a whole for its support and efforts especially during the recent Robin Hood pantomime however I have decided that I am no longer able to fulfil both roles up the standard it requires.
I will continue in my position as Vice-Chair of the Iver Heath Drama
Club and I look forward to assisting the new Publicity Officer and the
Thank you for your support. Please read and enjoy the rest of my blog and subscribe to my YouTube channel and videos.
"Wouldn't It Be Good" is a song by the British singer-songwriter Nik Kershaw. It was released one month prior to his debut studio album Human Racing. The release was Kershaw's second single on 21 January 1984 http://www.nikkershaw.co.uk/ Here is my cover with music video. I would like to record a better version in a studio but need time and money for that.
This is will be last YouTube video. I'm taking a break from everything. Thank you for supporting me.
I have been rather neglectful of my blog thus far in 2015 and today is the day to change that. Today is also the day when we can all pull together to fight the stigma of mental health.
Time to Change, the mental health anti-stigma programme run
by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, are encouraging people of all ages to take part in the national Time to
Talk Day by taking 5 minutes today, Thursday 5th February, to have a
conversation about mental health.
Hundreds of schools, organisations and members of the public on Time to Talk Day will come together to
break the silence that surrounds mental health.
If you have been reading my blog you will have seen that I am not too shy about discussing my mental health. I feel that by blogging I can let people near me know what is going on without them feeling awkward but also it feels as a good way to process and evaluate how I feel rather than let my thoughts and emotion clog up my head.
I'm taking 5 today because no one should be ashamed of any illness - whether it is a depression or a sprained ankle.
In my own life I have been using my anti-depressants which do seem to work but I will admit I have been double dosing myself occasionally which has shortened an emotional crash I was entering. However, with January and February being so busy for work and for my pantomime, it is hard to know what I will be like in a few weeks once it is over. Later today I have a telephone appointment with someone from the Berkshire NHS Talking Minds Service. Whilst I have told my boss it is just a GP appointment, actually it is the next stage of referral.
For those of you who have not read my blog before I believe I may have bi-polar - something my GP said was a possible explanation.
Bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic depression) is a severe mood
disorder. Individuals experience low moods, which might be characterised
by depression, feelings of hopelessness, a lack of energy and social
withdrawal. At other times, high, manic moods can bring confidence,
energy and optimism, as well as a loss of inhibition.
me, bi-polar fits as I am not permanently depressed; in fact some times
I could be described as hyperactive. Also bi-polar disorder suggests
that the mechanics of my mind are not quite right which also makes me
'happy'. To me it suggests that my previous attempts at talking therapy
did work but 'gearing' is not quite right. The difficult part is that
for 50%-70% of the time I am not low or depressed nor do I have any
thoughts of self-harm or suicide. It is at these times that I wonder why
I need anti-depressants or to go through the NHS' overstretched Mental
Health services because who doesn't 'like' being hyper?
The stigma around mental health still exists which when we know that 1 in 4 people will be affected by a mental health condition is inexcusable. If you are mentally healthy, then you will know at least one person in your immediate freinds or family who has a mental health issue at some level - so how can it still be a taboo?
We have come a long way from the days of murdering our own troops for 'shellshock' or hiding mothers away with what we now can 'Post Natal Depression' and whilst it is true the current government has put policies out declaring that mental health be given the same attention as physical health; society still has a long way go to.
By reading this blog and other online things you are joining the fight against this stigma so go on your social media and share you support by 'taking 5' today.
Oh - and come see me in pantomime this weekend! Did you see Channel 4's Sunday Brunch a week ago? Yes that was me! hehe.
This blog is part of the,Time to Talk Day 2015 #Take5ToBlog initiative.
"We are asking people to break
the silence that stigma creates by joining our 24 hour talking marathon.
Mental health is relevant to every family, workplace, school, sports group,
place of worship, social club or community group, so let’s get talking…”