Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Flashback & Guardian Article

My brain says it was a Thursday but it was 14 years ago so I can't be sure. It was my Mum, her boyfriend and myself driving home from our trip to the pub down our road. She was plastered which was normal. I don't remember him being drunk but I don't know. We lived in a maisonette which from the outside looks like any normal semi-detached house except we lived in the upstairs flat. Next to our home was a driveway leading to all the garages for all the flats.We stopped on the drive. I got out with my Mum and I watched her lift her right leg over the small dividing wall. There was a slight difference in height between the drive and the path leading to the front doors but she had done this step down hundreds of times. She seemed as drunk as she normally was. Yet tonight, she clips her foot and falls.
Read my story in The Guardian
Linked below
The true sign of an alcoholic, she manages to get a hand out in front of her despite her angered drunken state. It doesn't stop her fall though and she lands forehead first on the edge of our concrete front door step. At the age of 12 my reaction was not to scream and cry. If I remembered correctly I took her keys, allowed myself in and went to get towels to stem the bleeding. I remember tutting and mumbling like I still do when annoyed. In the end, an ambulance was called. I don't remember the boyfriend being in the hospital with me whilst she was cleaned up. I don't remember anyone asking why a 12 year old was caring for a 46 year old drunk with head wounds either but I guess in 2002 less 'shits' were given. I have no memory of how we got home but I do remember going to bed thinking that there was no way I intend to get up in time for school.

This was the flashback I kept experiencing over the last weekend. My Nan (Mum's Mum) is the last grandparent I have left. When I was a child I used to spend the weekends at their house - as I got older it was some escape from my home life. Yet as the years continue to pass I find myself increasingly looking after her. I've been calling the council to get her hot water sorted and on Friday took her to A & E after swelling on her arm meant she couldn't get up from her sofa.
See me in panto this weekend! More info below...

Her memory is also starting to play tricks on us although sometimes I doubt her recent memory and find out it is 100% true. It's scary. Sometimes I catch myself and realise that her symptoms or behavior are like my Mother - her daughter. I am so thankful for having an Aunt and cousins who can pop in during the week as I don't think I could risk looking after her more than the 24-48 hours I already do. Reading this it sounds so lazy or inconsiderate but sat in A&E with her having repeating conversations and acting as a translator between medical staff and my Nan just put me back to that incident all those years ago. I don't care for myself properly yet I feel I need to help my Nan.

My Nan is feeling much better xx
Those flashbacks along with fear for my future, my Nan and some silly triggers with people in my life lead me to misbehave. I can't remember the last time I took a blade to my skin yet I had to do it this week. I keep having intrusive thoughts too as I reside to the fact that my suicide is slowly becoming the best way to solve my problems and seek justice and absolution.

That is just a glimpse at my mind and my childhood and I've never complained or bragged about my childhood - I have good memories too including drinking 'Hooch' in Spain with my Dad and Stepmum - yet in hindsight I can see the "Childhood Trauma" my NHS report talks about. This is something that I discussed with journalist Elena Cresci in an article for The Guardian newspaper called "The NHS (and playing a panto dame) helped me recover after suicide attempt". Perhaps I have been lucky, but I look at my blog and my journey and think how much worse it could have been. Don't get me wrong, it could of been better. With the right support from my employer (as required under the Equality Act and the Health and Safety at Work Act) I don't think I would be here today. In last week's blog I spoke about my visit to LBC and my latest YouTube video in which try to explain what stigma means to mental health. If it wasn't for the staff in the NHS, I am sure this country would be in a much more crippled state and not just in terms of health as it would disable our economy too. We have fantastic staff who would ridiculously long hours for no where near enough pay or respect. I feel the NHS mental health services are overloaded and collapsing with the coin counters ignoring the true 'KPIs' (Key Performance Indicators); a person kills him/herself in the UK every TWO hours.
"But in the end one needs more courage to live than to kill himself."
-Albert Camus
If you have a moment please do read and share the article in The Guardian and perhaps you could even comment or tweet on this blog. At this moment I am feeling a little low but this week begins my two weeks of pantomime performances and as that article highlights; this club is really important to me and my mental health.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. xx




Our annual fundraising pantomime starts with two shows this Saturday (30th)! For the latest news, to get your amazing...
Posted by Iver Heath Drama Club on Saturday, 23 January 2016



Tuesday, 19 January 2016

From fighting Stigma and HGVs to visiting LBC

How can a week go by so quickly? Last week I was in agony with a possible kidney infection whilst in drag protesting - which got a fair share of press attention too! 
Picture thanks to Slough Express - I'm the one in red dress
I am pleased to report that said kidney appears to be behaving like a pulled muscle at the moment so I could have a painless pantomime next week. Ha! It is good fun being a local celeb although no autograph hunters yet!

This week, I published Episode 2 of #ExploreMH. For those of you new to my story, there is a full recap on the INFO page of my website but rather than sit at home and be abandoned to rot and fester, I am going out of my way to make the most positives I can out of the situation. #ExploreMH is a series of Huffington Post articles with YouTube videos tied in.

People are scared to ask for help because of the 'image' mental health has and therefore how other people will treat you. Its very easy to say "I don't care what other people think of me" but stigma is more than that. My aim is to make mental health more accessible and easier to understand and in turn break down some of the stigma that goes with it. Even though it is illegal to treat people differently because of their mental health, it happens far more than it should.

If you would like to read more on stigma in mental health ( #ExploreMH ) then please check out the article I've written on The Huffington Post or you can watch the article on YouTube. However you choose to do it, please do share it and leave a comment - spark a debate. In the next edition I'll go onto talk about how you, Mr Average Joe or Ms Average Jo, can help battle stigma. I plan for that episode to come out on 2nd February which will be hard with pantomime surround it! I'm sure there is another major event at the same time... I wonder if it coincides...

Also this week I popped into Central London to sit in on Shelagh Fogarty's show on LBC. Towards the end of the 2015 her producer Rachel found my website and invited me on as a guest to talk about male suicide reaching a crisis point and my own experiences - you can read more in the archive on top left.  Continues below video...



My anxiety did make me panic. Not a full panic attack but it rattled the gates nonetheless. I pushed it down, donned my #TimeToTalk #Take5toTalk shirt and drove to Hillingdon Underground Station; to find the car park full. Anxiety laughed at me. After a few laps of the car park and pondering if I could park outside a bay without blocking anyone, I drove to the next station. I've never been to Ickenham station but I have to make myself do things. I found a space pretty quick and parking was cheaper there - result!
Stock image of Shelagh in the
TV Studio style room at LBC
I forgot to take any selfies!

LBC is a talk radio station broadcasting from some amazing studios at their parent company's HQ in Leicester Square. It's also home to Global's other radio offerings such as Classic FM, Smooth and Capital which along with LBC have gone from being regional stations to nationwide hits. Being sat in the control room with Rachel and her team was amazing. Seeing how callers were lined up, a guide script ever changing and updating. At key points Shelagh was listening to a guest or a caller and her producer as they agreed in which direction to take the show. On the journey home, Shelagh tweeted me to say 'It's Exhausting!' and it truly is; yet I was watching. I love listening to LBC and, not just because she let me watch, Shelagh is my favourite. Some presenters can be quite confrontational whereas Shelagh lets the caller take and then through gentle yet suggestive questioning can either help us understand or let the person's argument fall apart like a neatly demolished stack. Perhaps it is a symptom of my anxiety but I hate confrontation and the 'Paxman' style is all about that.

I've already offered the team a bribe of Jaffa Cakes to have me back for #TimeToChange Day!

As always - thank you for reading and sharing my blog, articles and videos. Please do comment -even if it just to say howdey - and give the Thumbs Up or Heart or whatever it is. Right... Better go learn my lines for panto! THANK YOU xxx
Matt Streuli is a mental health blogger and activist. He is a member of MIND, the UK Mental Health Charity and a Time To Change Champion. Read more on his story on his blog and his articles on THE HUFFINGTON POST.
Blog: www.MattStreuli.uk 
Twitter : @mattstreuli
IG: www.instagram.com/p/_hk9w9AiBS/
Tumblr : mattstreuli.tumblr.com/


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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

In Someone elses Shoes with a Back Stabbing Kidney

I thought I pulled a muscle getting out of my bunk bed. Yes, I have a double bed on stilts, I'm cool. As the days went on, it grew from a ache to agony. Putting on pants is such painful activity. I suddenly have much more respect for those with back issues.Until you are in the other person's shoes, meaning viewing the world from their perspective, it can be difficult to truly appreciate how debilitating a back problem, or in my case when your own kidney turns against you, can be.
FIND me on Social media! links below...

The same principle goes for mental health. There must of been times when you've felt incredibly low, such as at funeral or when the money doesn't reach the end of the month. It is a glimpse into just some of the emotions that are triggered in those with mental health issues. Last week I launched my new webseries which will appear in written form on The Huffington Post and in video on YouTube. Both have received some really good feedback which I plan to use for the next episode which will be early next week. I hope that my campaigning helps people step into the shoes of someone with mental health issues - after all 1 in 4 of us will.

Check out my most popular posts by clicking here...

My other main story is of course pantomime. Perhaps you subscribe to my blog or just read every edition but my true passion is my local drama club. As a youngster it gave me a way of being someone else on stage for an evening a week, instead of worrying what my alcoholic mother was up to and chaperoning her to the pub. Our club has always been about a mixture of having good fun and putting on a great show so it doesn't have the snobby clic that some semi-professional clubs have. If you fancy a giggle, I've put a video clip of last year's show underneath my #ExploreMH video so have a look. Perhaps you'd like to come see me on stage?
More at   www.tumblr.com/blog/iverheathdramaclub
Tickets are on sale now but I'd love it if you could show your support or tweet about the pantomime and boost those opening shows. For tickets visit www.ihdc.co.uk 


See more on local press (links below) Photo by Sharon Pollard
It's thanks to our drama club that I, as a last resort, ended up in women's high heeled shoes. It's those shoes I stepped into this week when I joined the protest in my hometown of Iver Heath (it's a village, but home village doesn't sound right). As part of this HS2 railway that the Government has decided England needs, Heathrow Express will have a depot on the edge of the village. At the moment over 1000 HGVs (Heavy Goods Vehicles or lorries) pass through the 3 villages of Iver, Iver Heath and Richings Park and the HS2 and Heathrow Express will add additional lorries; around 500 per day.

 If you have a look for #IversFirst on twitter you'll see some brilliant pictures of the visit made by MPs regarding our petition and protest for a relief road to help our villages but also the HGVs themselves. Some of the HGVs that stopped to ask why, in some places 50 people, were protesting throughout the villages, had no idea a relief road was on the cards and seemed in favour of it. On one hand, I think I'd like the independance of being a HGV driver yet having to drive through small villages like Iver, with narrow junctions and schools and cyclists and horses everywhere... too risky!
Despite my kidney infection and chilly wind, I had a really good time and actually enjoyed the community spirit of the event. There is a few really good articles in our local press especially the ones with pictures of me in them! Check out BUCKS FREE PRESS , SLOUGH OBSERVER and a few others yet to print.

Either way, that pretty much wraps up my week - aside from progress being made and ACAS now in charge of my grievance. If you want to know more about that gossip, why not have a browse of previous posts on my blog.

 Much love and thank you for your views and sharing/promoting my videos, pantomime and blog. xxx
Blog: www.MattStreuli.uk
Twitter : @mattstreuli
IG: www.instagram.com/p/_hk9w9AiBS/
Tumblr : mattstreuli.tumblr.com/
scroll down for more...


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. 




http://mattstreuli.tumblr.com/post/137081497641/mattstreuli-every-one-has-a-mind-join-me

http://mattstreuli.tumblr.com/post/137101266912/residents-of-iver-iver-heath-and-richings-park


Wednesday, 6 January 2016

2016 is already improving...

Watch the video below or on HUFFPOST
Firstly, my blog is moving to Wednesday. Secondly, happy new year! How was mine? Shite. Lastly, what do you think of my new YouTube series?! EEEEK!!

At the end of 2015 I recapped my mental health come discrimination story so far and also gave a hint that I was working on a new project. I had seen the YouTube videos of Laci Green and Laura Nuttall. I wanted to try and combine the two, with my own style and bring a similar open honest yet fun or quirky view on Mental Health. I am still going to be blogging but it will try and be more of my views and a mood diary so the actual debunking of mental health goes to the YouTube series.

The plan is that every one to two weeks I would like to publish a new video and I'm trying to ensure there is a Huffington Post article to suplement it. I completely get that some people prefer the written word and in researching and testing out my ideas, I found that writing an article and then making it more 'spoken' seemed to work quite well. That way, I have a script to work from and I'm not making daft noises or blabbing on and off the point. For the autocue, I'm using a website called BigVu which has an accompying Google app. It is still in beta and has a few clunky bits to it but aside from randoming stopping recording halfway through, it seems to work well. I'm going to ask that we leave the mental health debate brough up on the video and article to the comments section of the Huffington Post and the YouTube pages. However, I would love to hear your thoughts on the comments section here on the production itself; should I film somewhere else or use a different app?

Post Continues below this video:


My last post of 2015 was rather pessimistic yet was the second most viewed of the year. I read back and commented on my most read posts of the year - some of which should carry Trigger Warnings! Perhaps the low tone was a sign of the depressive episode that approached and flooded me at New Years. I could of had such a good time yet wrecked it. I felt overloaded.

As I've mentioned before there is an ongoing situation or grievance with my employment that is now being escalated to ACAS. I still sincerely hope it is resolved amicably soon. Linked to that, I am about to lose my salary as my sick pay expires although I have applied to the insurance company for my employer for continued wages - why I had to apply I'm not sure. What I know for certain is that if they cut my pay altogether, I could lose my home. I've also applied for PIP, the replacement for Disability Living Allowance although at the time of posting, I still have not received the forms they posted over Christmas. Pantomime is but 4 weeks away and whilst I love the buzz of being on stage and helping pull it all together; there are lots of empty seats I'm worried won't be filled. The club means so much to me and has been such a support.

The club survives on the profits made from the yearly pantomime, or my excuse to wear women's clothing as it should be called.

Tickets for panto are at www.ihdc.co.uk
All of this plus some events I am not able to disclose (not my story to tell) and the funeral of a close friend (as covered by the local press) just overwhelmed me. I went back to self harming and isolation.  Returning to sleeping 12 hours and some pretty intrusive thoughts. Using the phone is hard for me most days but when I'm that bad it becomes impossible.

I feel better now. I'm not out of the woods yet as most of that burden is still bearing down on me but there is a plan of attack in place for each one.

So I refuse to end this week on a low note. The HuffPost article and the YouTube video have gathered some comments and tweets - although your support in boosting that would be very welcome.
I guess 2016 is already showing signs of improvement over 2015!


If you get a chance go and see The Danish Girl in the cinema. Emily took me and it was a really thought provoking film. Maybe I enjoy being the panto dame too much...

Thanks again for your support; all the retweets and shares and likes and comments.  xx

Blog: www.MattStreuli.uk
Twitter : @mattstreuli
IG: www.instagram.com/p/_hk9w9AiBS/
Tumblr : mattstreuli.tumblr.com/


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





Please also support the TIME TO CHANGE campaign on stigma at http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/
A video posted by Matthew E Streuli (@matthewstreuli) on