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)