A week of hurdles

Just a few weeks ago I had a rant that I was going to have to wait 18 weeks for treatment, which would equal 304 days from first referral to getting help. At the end of last week that suddenly changed. I received a letter giving me a few days notice that I would meet my clinical psychologist on Monday which on top of the seeing the Occupational Health Doctor and the IHDC Summer show on Wednesday made this week, a week of hurdles.

Over the past few weeks I've been rather candid about my mental health. I feel I have nothing to hide. I am not embarrassed or ashamed. If anything, I feel slightly empowered because I feel I am borderline coping which puts me in a good place to discuss and fight for the mental health cause. Last week I explained how I feel and think on my right to die and when I want it; by suicide.Whilst I am sure these are hard to read I ask that you do take a chance to have a browse through the past few  blogs - it helps with the back story.

On Monday I met with a very nice NHS Psychologist. I'm guilty of working myself up and expecting the worst. Perhaps this is the anxiety that I've heard my HR and Doctors comment on. I then kick myself; force myself to go ahead. Every single Doctor or Nurse I have come across in my journey thus far has been incredible. 'Inner Matt' worries that the world will judge him. He worries that when being honest with the people he meets on this journey, they will react with fear or prejudice and lock him away. Then you realise that we are all human. I don't want to get all hippy, wet and liberal but I am touched by the sincere care, interest, compassion and understanding I've felt from not only the NHS teams but also from my line managers, my colleagues and my closest friends. You might have only sent a short text or facebook message - maybe it was just a tweet - but it really does make a difference when your struggling to hold on. I paraphrase my Doctor Who quote from my last post: "The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant.  And you definitely added to my
pile of good things."

Tuesday came and went. It was noticed at work that I was not my normal cheery self. 


Part of this was work related. I am responsible for the getting a specific type of product from our facilities in France and Spain to our customers in the UK. It may not specifically say that on this year’s targets or my job description but I get it in the neck when it goes wrong. And when the French go on strike – they make it go wrong. Not only did they blockade the port, they set fire to the motorways around the tunnel. Migrants seized the opportunity and as you may have seen on your TV news, there were riot police with tear gas not sure whether to fight fires or try and stop people breaking into lorries to try and reach our fair green isle. I was already run down, emotionally, from my appointment on Monday and perhaps getting anxious about the show and seeing the company Doctor. This was an unexpected issue which took up a lot of time out of my already fairly busy days. I normally keep on top my responsibilities but my to-do list grew and in the end I just starting ignoring bits of it.

Wednesday. I turned a corner.
The Occupational Health Doctor was fantastic. He took time to explain the thinking process and how everyone is different. He actually inspired me and used a key word: tolerance. Sometimes I need to do my jobs without ‘not saying no’ or sudden issues dropping out the sky. When my tolerance is already low, it is easier to trigger my emergency programming which lead to our big issue a few weeks ago.  

Working from home for just a few days would ease this pressure but also hopefully tie in with the group therapy the NHS is offering me to start next month. Otherwise I’d have to leave work mid-morning, to drive past my flat to the group session and then go back to work. I’d be out the office for 2-3 hours including journey times.

As you may of read I was diagnosed a few weeks with a Personality Disorder. The way I explained it on my blog is that bipolar (my preferred theory!) is when the mechanics/chemicals of the brain don’t quite work and like having a dodgy hip, it is not your fault. To me a Personality Disorder is more that the software on the brain doesn’t quite work and you end up with the fabled ‘Blue Screen of Death’. The way I perceive it, is that I am reasonable for my programming. I am my programming. Therefore a Personality Disorder is a disorder or problem with who and what makes me and it is my fault. My brain thinks this is logic and you must admit, it makes sense. I have been feeling anxious and guilty over this. 

I wish I remembered his name so I could thank this Doctor. He said that it was not my fault. We all process things differently but we all find different ways to cope.  Having a Personality Disorder doesn’t mean my personality is disordered. It is far more simple than that. Mental health is a spectrum. There is no black and white or normal and abnormal. Everything slides and fades. A Personality Disorder does not mean that I am not bipolar. It just means that I am not severe enough to categorise my symptoms that way. It is that simple. He said that my symptoms were systemic of Bipolar Disorder but lower on the scale. It is no more my fault than if it as called Bipolar. Taking those extra 5 minutes made all the difference and after thanking my work mates through the medium of Greggs’ Yum-Yums, I was off to Drama.

The summer show this year was Law and Order: Fairy Tale Unit. A comedy family play which is a parody of the hit US TV show. This summer the youngsters had the leading roles whilst us old farts simply filled the gaps. Just like a Nativity Play you go in not expecting too much but you know with IHDC it will be good – even when pantomime goes terribly wrong it is still great fun for the audience! As I said to the audience at the very end – it was the best rehearsal we’ve ever had. The audience, despite the hot muggy hall, loved the infomarket and there seemed to be some great conversations between the Pinewood Studios delegates and locals and the Parish Council. You can see more about it on the Drama Club website. The audience also laughed and gasped along with the play. Our worries about the plot or jokes being mumbled or lines being forgotten disappeared as the youngsters pretty much nailed every scene. Falcon, in her directing debut, was so proud as was I.

I had been at the lower end of the happy spectrum for a week or so – in hindsight. There is no buzz quite like having a room full of people laughing and applauding you – and maybe sometimes I forget that. I had been honestly thinking of leaving drama. I put in so much work. I used to do it because I enjoy it but now I just feel obligated. But nights like Wednesday with a bit of ad-lib stand-up at the end make me want do more. 

However, I still don’t want all the work. 

My actual job and drama just don’t feel rewarding. I’m just going through the motions of life. I’m surviving. I guess that is all life is, but for me that isn’t enough. To quote Mr Williams: “I Don’t want to die, but I aint keen on living either.”

Thanks for reading, please do retweet and share. Why not tweet your thoughts and questions? I’m on Instagram and Tumblr too.

Have a great week and enjoy the chaos below! 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


  1. Good luck with your therapy! We all seem to have the same worries and anxieties regardless of our diagnosis, I think the treatments differ slightly and how successful they can be long term will differ but ultimately how we feel towards our illness, treatments, work stress is fairly similar.

    The one thing I've learned over the years is be good to yourself. Learn what makes your brain well, and make sure you do those things.

  2. Well done for taking the time to share your thoughts about the mental health system. Keep up the good work