Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The End Will Come

Why can't I just enjoy being with my best friends on holiday?
Am I being self-centered and selfish?

I have been waiting for this holiday for a few weeks. The perception I have is that most people look forward to their holidays for months but I didn't. For one, I didn't know if I would be alive and two, why. I'm not saying why look forward to a holiday but more why look forward to anything.

Whatever I do, things will end. Whatever I try things will go wrong. When you put in 110% and things go right, you will be barely noticed; if you are lucky you might get a thanks or two. If it goes wrong, suddenly you are centre stage.I have to fix it. Even if it is not my problem. my limbic system kicks me into that survivalmode.exe that you might call flight or fight. For some logical and rational problems, this is actually good news. The issue is resolved methodically or I direct the person who is panicking rather than doing the obvious. But too few problems are rational, logical or even worse, controllable.

Before this holiday, the strikes in Calais and the ongoing efforts by the migrants camped there caused upheaval in my job. Aside from keeping my key customers and my colleagues updated there is nothing I can do. And this frustrates me. It makes me want to scream. It makes me want to cry.

During this holiday, I am aware that these issues will be creating issues for my colleagues and I am sure there are other problems. I have full faith in them, most of them do things much better than me. Yet, I feel guilt for leaving them and also a sense of stress and panic that there will be a workload for me when I return. Why did I even take a holiday in the first place when I have impending doom in 10 days... 9 days... 8 days...




I upset people. I say things I shouldn't in an attempt to be funny or I try to communicate that I need a hug or to be told its OK yet I just annoy people or upset them. I let them down.Maybe I didn't do enough. At work, you are always encouraged to go that one step further - so why didn't you? You didn't do enough.

Am I being self-centered and selfish?

Even now there are problems and I wish there was something I could to fix them. If it as digging a hole or buying and building something, I'd be there at lease trying.But how do I solve a problem thats out of my remit? How can I allow myself to admit that it is out of my remit, let alone something I cannot solve becuase no one can? I can't. It scares me. I lay in my bed here in a warm muggy French valley worrying. No more than most days but yet I still worry. Alot of my worries are cared for by my closest friends whom I trust but there is always a plan B.

 Today, I re-visited the site of a massacre. Oradour-sur-Glane was left in ruins with over 600 people brutally murdered in some of the most horrific and most uncessacry ways. My best friend, Mr Aidan Parr has written a fantastic blog about it and included some images to help you picture the scene.

Seeing that destroyed town preserved makes me wonder that:
A - I can't do or save everyone
and yet even if I try
B - The End will come

Everything must end. Your friendships, your life, The loves of your friends and their happiness. The youth you currently enjoy. Your surroundings.
"Just hang it up and let it go... the end will come for us."


Holidays are nice and its good to enjoy yourself but how can you stop worrying about the debt and bills and commitments and workloads of life.Do you normal people just ignore it and think its all under control for now? Because that is only for now - its still coming.
And with everything that is coming, I can't keep trying to save the day. Yet I so desperately want to.

IF I could do something to make the lives of those at the therapy session better I would. If I could do more at work or drama I would - yet I am seemingly doing less and less because I'm mentally ill and I can't do it now.

If I could fix my friends problems, I would. So why do I feel so guilty and horrible that I can't.

Perhaps that is why I want to find someone to love. Someone to care for and focus on and perhaps they would do the same for me. My friends are great but sometimes I wanna hold your hand. I wanna be equal. I don't want to be alone.

Yet, I sit here in bed choosing to be alone and wishing I was at home alone so I could cry and not put on this mask.

I have so much going for me and how ungrateful I must seem but I don't want this it anymore. I want to tag out.
Tag me?

Please.

Yet I enjoy this holiday. I wish it didnt have to end. And ending it or tagging out, would be letting you down again. Guilt overload.

I'm going to wrap up this shambles. Writing feels good but I'm not sure what I'm achieving.

Here is some quotes from my "Pysch Assesment". Maybe they some it up better than I can.

"I must say I found him friendly, engaging and far from self-centred. He was able to appreciate and take the position of others... Despite his ratings of narcissism I think he would take care of others in a group. Indeed, the potential risk would be his need to ‘look after’ the group... 
 He gets recurrent bouts of low mood with associated suicidal ideation. These last for a few days and he will usually self-harm at these times."
 Why can't I just enjoy being with my best friends on holiday?


Don’t cry over the past, it’s gone.  Don’t stress about the future, it hasn’t arrived.

  Do your best to live in the NOW and make it beautiful.




Thank you for reading and sharing my blog. I'm going to try some mindfulness rather than self-harm






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Monday, 20 July 2015

Its not about the destination, life is the ride.

In school, in work, in play and in religion we set each ourselves targets and goals. I live rather literally day to day and week to week so my goals are always getting through the next few days and whatever those days may have planned. You might think that means I leave everything until the last minute but it is actually the polar opposite. I try to be over-prepared setting myself little goals along the way and getting the majority of the work done early, so when the day or event does appear I pull my Action plan out the filing and open it up.
Since my post last week I've hit quite a few of those targets and whilst it hasn't always been easy, the end result it that I've enjoyed it. I've had a good week.


Previously in this blog I've pondered what it the meaning of it all and I think I've worked it out. Rather than being 42, the reason for living is the journey or the adventure of life itself. In short, the reaching the goal and its reward is not as good as the journey to get there.

This week I made a status on Facebook. One person described it as shaming but it is only shaming you, if you have a guilty conscious to make you imagine it is about you. It has meant that a friendship has ended but if I am being realistic it ended with this person's betrayal and bitching that kept escalating over the past 8 to 12 months. When you live a few days at a time, some stupid nastiness is easy to ignore. You are still hurt by it, it is still nasty behaviour, but you have bigger anxiety battles to brace yourself for. At some point you decide that you are in a good enough place to confront it or it reaches a limit - and that was this week. Being selfish when you are too caring is tough. Sometimes, you have to be selfish and make sure you are not suffering for those who are truly selfish and do not appreciate it. 
 Selfish persons are incapable of loving others, but they are not capable of loving themselves either. - Erich Fromm

This person will never apologise despite people explaining their friendship sins to them. This person did things for others in the name of friendship and charity but actually they do things only because it offered a benefit to them. "Oh look how good I am"
Any deed done for someone else is a kind one when you don’t expect something in return. - Courtney Olsen
I write this blog as I feel it is therapeutic and I enjoy it - if you enjoy it and it gets a bit more popular each week that is great - but its not why I do it. I like driving for the fun of the drive, not for getting to work. I like running the local drama club because I get to do something quite important for my community and have an epic amount of fun at the same time! - not for the glory of being a panto dame!? I do all these things because I enjoy it - if I get a round of applause or you all nominate me for an OBE (hint) that is just a bonus.

This week I write and ask that you do things because you want to and not because of the rewards. Buy the homeless person a happy meal, not because someone might see but because you think he deserves a meal and you have £1.99 to spare. Stay behind at work not because people will notice (those in charge don't care) but because you want to help your team be ahead tomorrow.

Take a moment to think about this second.

Are you worrying about work tomorrow? Or have you got everything ready for your holiday? What about that birthday card? Or that meeting this week?
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. - Buddha

What I am saying links in nicely to mindfulness. I'm not expert and it was only briefly covered in this week's therapy. The idea is to sit still and focus on a the sound around you. Focus on the sound of the clock or the cat licking away at his balls bowl. It is so hard to stop your mind wondering back to the panic and the anxiety of life but maybe if you can take some time out to rest those grey sounds you can some back to reality and face your issues with a more level-headed view; not one driven by emotions.
  

Still not convinced? Below, as always, are my favourite moments from the past week 
where I have loved life and been 'in the moment' enjoying "the ride"
Let me know what you think about living in the moment and enjoying the ride!
 Have I just become some 90's religious pastor? TWEET me and comment below"

I am on holiday to France with my best friends and little sister but there will be lots of fun on my social media! Stay tuned! xx MWAH!! xx






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


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

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


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BRAP

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

My first group therapy session and my first anxiety attack.

I was no more nervous than any other appointment with a GP. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect but I've performed in front of 120 people and presented powerpoints in front of 50 or more. Yet the moment I sat in that chair, I went from being nervous to paralysed. I was petrified.

Last week I felt rather jovial. In fact my blog was light hearted. Perhaps it is a side effect of living a day or two at a time but I had not put much thought into the group session on Monday. It didn't worry me. I have sat in many meetings whether at work or at drama however I feel the difference is that I never enter those blind. You might imagine that group sessions look like AA meetings, and in some regards it did. We sat in a circle and I immediately froze. Feeling unable to look up from a small watch battery or whatever it was on the floor, I felt under attack or being judged; even though the others seemed like quite nice people.

We have to be careful what we can say as I wouldn't want to betray the trust in the room but they all seemed to be thoughtful and caring people although they were all older than me so perhaps this is why they were less nervous and more able to contribute. I hope your opinion of me is that I am thoughtful and articulate yet yesterday I was dumbfounded. That is word I have only ever used to me shocked or flabbergasted but I was actually so dumb that I couldn't construct sentences or engage with the group like normal Matt would.

Every 10 or 15 minutes the psychologist in charge would ask people questions to reinforce their learning and check their understanding. I have done this myself when training people. Yet when he turned to me, I could barely engage him. I can't even recall my first answer but it was gibberish.

Hearing someone talk about how their behaviour and mental health affected their children was hard. Did my mother ever think about that?

I wanted to flee.  My heart wasn't racing but was like a large sub-woofer pounding my chest and jaw grew stiff as if clamped into place. I had to get away but my legs were frozen.The last question he asked was how we felt that very second at the end of session one. I felt scared and angry.

Scared for reasons I have yet to fathom. Angry because I can do this and yet I had let myself down.
Scared because I fear I am getting worse. Angry because I am trying.
Scared because I am ill. Scared I am letting you down. Angry because it isn't fair.




The moment the session was over I walked with pace to my car. After a few minutes trying to calm down I drove straight to my Doctor's surgery.

I spent the afternoon with my Dad. Being driven by instinct, I knew I had to be warm and safe. After a few mugs of tea and "chewing the fat" by the time my little sister was home from school, my fear and panic had started to pass. I just felt frustrated. Why had this happened to me? I can easily talk to a group and I can easily speak about how I feel so why me? Why today?

My GP has given me Propranolol as a 'pill in my pocket' and it works well. After listening to 'I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue' on the iPlayer I put on some meditation music and dosed my way to a full nights sleep. I love sleep. #favourite. 

Today, I feel OK. I'm not angry. I'm not low. I feel a bit light-headed and dopey. By light-headed, I don't mean faint. I am floating slightly above my head. Does that sound mad? It is really off-putting. Anyway, my pulse now is 67bpm.


I have written to my GP and my Psychologist. I am scared I am getting worse. My anxiety is definitely worse and from chatting with my 'Big Sis' I have been more 'edgy' and easier to offend than before. What an awful way to end a brilliant weekend. I will just keep living one day at a time trying to survive.

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






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




Friday, 10 July 2015

Where's this week's blog?

Hello my little friends. There is no blog this week. I can tell you are gutted. This is because I have my first group therapy session on Monday so it seemed apt to move my blog to Monday night.
Join us at the Iver Heath Junior School Fete tomorrow (Sat 11th) from 12pm!




Meanwhile I've had a mixed week. It was a stressful start with work with anxiety leading up to a meeting with my Boss' boss. I also overreacted and read too much into something my best friends had said. Perhaps overreacted is too strong a word but the air is now clear and I'm sure hugs a plenty will occur at girls night tonight (there will be pictures on my Instagram and Tumblr!) 


Preparations for our trip to France are almost complete. Spurred on by others, I have started packing my bag!

If you are looking for some more juicy content I've listed some of my favourite posts below:

Anyway, we're all good for now. Below is a few pictures from our fundraising - we are at the Iver Heath Junior School fete again getting wet this Saturday.

Hope you are well! Much love xx









Just for Elli... #feet   And it is the FOOT of my post. HAHA!

Monday, 6 July 2015

#AskMatt - Is your mind really set on suicide later on your life or does it just happens to be your ask for help? Do you feel better now that you are on therapy?

Have you ever wanted to ask me a question or ask someone with a mental health condition a question? Well, #AskMatt is your chance. This week's question was a comment on the last edition of #AskMatt and it is a damn good question. On one hand, I feel very anxious about answering this but on the other hand, I know answering it is probably very good and therapeutic for me - and maybe for you too.

As always - please remember I am quite open about my mental health and so this blog and my other social media will contact trigger warnings.

 Is your mind really set on suicide later on your life or does it just happens to be your ask for help?

I understand that other people don't want to die. I get that. Why would you want life to ever end? But I honestly find the prospect of fighting to survive for another few months, yet alone another 25 years, a frightening one. Previously I have used the analogy of  climbing a waterfall. Some days the stream of water is gentile and cooling. Other days the stream is a torrent that pushes you back and drowns you. Just as you complete one week filled with the stresses of seeing two Doctors or having to confront and handle people, you think you reach the top of that waterfall - yet you look at your diary and see the cliff face grow in front of you. I'm 25 years old. When I think I'm at the top, I realise I'm not even half way.

Suicide is the only way I can take control. It is the only way I can decide how tall that cliff face is.

Perhaps suicide is my way of asking for help. I don't know what more help I deserve though. I am much happier now I have a 'plan of action'. I hate not knowing what to expect or even a guide to how things will go - it makes me nervous.

Either way, when I put that belt around my neck a few weeks ago I did not want to live. It is as simple as that. There was no premeditated thought that I would get attention or that I might get time off work - in actual fact I'd prefer to have neither of those things as they result in confrontation! If the very simple version of me that was running, an emergencyMatt.exe , had the simple problem solving skills required to secure a belt to a door with a screw then I would now be dead.

 Do you feel better now that you are on therapy?

Now I know that I am attending group therapy, which starts next week, I am much happier. I am also getting some great support at work and having seen the report from my Occupational Health Doctor a couple of weeks ago I am somewhat optimistic. I'm actually nervous about my next meeting with HR as I don't know how my management will feel about the NHS assessment and the OH report.

The more aware and educated you are about a problem, the better you can manage it. I am trying to be more forgiving with myself, without being lazy or self-centred, and manage myself better. This weekend I saw signs of another black patch coming, so I left. I avoided the situation and gave myself some time.


Thank you for your question. Please comment below or tweet me - I'd love to see your feedback and even a question for next week.



Awesome day with awesome friends :) #summer #2015 #fete pic.twitter.com/XRP71NiggO
— Matthew E Streuli(@mattstreuli) July 4, 2015




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

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Are all terrorists and Murderers mentally ill?

Last week the Channel 4 live satire show, The Last Leg, returned to our screens on the day of the terrorist attack in Tunisia and the murder in France. Josh Widdicombe asked a question which I'm sure some people will have found offensive but actually it is a question worth asking yourself. I paraphrase but he asked whether everyone who commits mass murder or terrorism is at least slightly mentally ill.



There is a stigma surrounding mental health. The immediate stereotype that the film industry has given us is people whose actions and thought processes are completely unacceptable or cannot be understood. By this measure, the question is right. For the vast majority of people on this planet, regardless of their culture, race or religion, the thought of killing one person is incomprehensible yet alone acts of terrorism or mass murder. But as we have previously discussed, we all have mental health and it is a spectrum not a simple mad or sane decision.

In the UK a person can be found not guilty through grounds of diminished responsibility or insanity. Adam Hills, the presenter of the programme, was quick to point out that by the above standard, everyone who commits murder would be mentally ill. If you agree with me that mental health is a spectrum, where do you draw a line saying he's guilty or he isn't. Where on the colour spectrum does blue become ultra violet?

In UK law we follow something called the M'Naghten Rules. It states that "to establish a defence on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that, at the time of the committing of the act, the party accused was labouring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or, if he did know it, that he did not know what he was doing was wrong"

In short?
 Did the person know what he/she was doing was wrong? Did they understand what they were doing?

If the answer is yes - as it is for the terrorists who attacked the beach in Tunisia or the murderers - are responsible for their actions. For the little boy who killed his sister or whatever it was in EastEnders the answer is yes and no/maybe - this would be diminished responsibility and it would be unfair and unjust to treat him the same as someone who killed in cold blood. For someone who was completely detached from reality, the answer to both is no; even if they normally would know that murder is wrong. We as humans, have a duty of care to each other.

Considering how complicated mental health is, I find in shocking that when it comes to crime and responsibility we are lucky enough to have a division this clear. I am sure there will be examples that 'muddy the waters'.

Earlier this week in my new series on this blog, I answered the question whether being public on social media about my mental health is a good idea. Have a read of that article. Do you think terrorists or murderers like Ian Huntley (The Soham Killer) are as mentally ill as me? I go back to my point. It is a spectrum.                         Scroll down for more

That is the stigma of mental health. Where do you sit on the spectrum?



Moving back to my own personal story...

I have been a little better this week compared to rereading last week's post. 
It is actually quite impressive at how just being slightly more aware of your own mental health, how much better you can be and how much better you can interact with the world. From Falcon's 21st Birthday party through some dealing with some rather blunt people, I've managed to cope and move on in my own pessimistic way. Part of this was due to receiving the report from my first assessment which happened whilst I was off sick.



I sent it to my Dad first and panicked when he didn't read it and reply right away but actually it was all OK. The report in places glazes over and offers a very brief summary of events. In some ways it is a very eerie and out of body type experience to see yourself, as a person, being described through the eyes of another. It does however make me think, that if I was reading this report about someone else then I would definitely be more lenient, caring and forgiving to them then I am to myself. some of the report I feel strangely proud about. I'll wrap up this week with a quote from that assessment.

Thank you for reading and sharing my blog. Don't forget to catch up on past posts and tweet me your feedback and questions. Thank you


I must say I found him friendly, engaging and far from self-centred. He was able to appreciate and take the position of others. I do think he might put on a defensive and overly jovial front to his difficulties where he minimises the severity of his difficulties. This may however emerge as a barrier to therapeutic progress.