Tuesday, 22 December 2015

My Christmas Reflection 2015

I'm not religious or spiritual but read and share this post and a few from our past few months. Take this time to reflect yet appreciate what we have achieved and who helped us get here, especially those no longer with us, and how we can help others.
 
Despite my outward happy and panto-like character, unless I am somewhere I feel safe, I really struggle to force myself to do normal things such as using the telephone. The fear and anxiety of what could happen affects everyone, some more than others. 
Find more on The Huffington Post
 This week I'm just asking you to stop for a minute with your glass of mulled wine, close your eyes and realise how lucky each of us are and how hard we have all worked to achieve our accomplishments this year. Whilst for some of you that maybe degrees or fortune, for others like myself it is the fact I am still alive and still fighting. Remember that reminder of a post from a few weeks ago. 9.9 MILLION days are lost each year in the UK due to mental health such as stress or depression.

At this moment there are 20,000 people in hospital and likely to miss Christmas due to mental health (See the very bottom of this post for more). Even more people will be struggling at home and work. Time to Change research shows that over half (55%) of parents in England have never spoken to their children about the topic of mental health (including wellbeing, stress, anxiety). I've argued that mental health is a spectrum or sliding scale but how many people out there are just ignorant about mental health? How many people are discriminating against mental health because they do not understand and/or are scared? How many people have mental health issues themselves, minor or severe, and simply do not realise it or how to ask for help? You might sometimes 'bite your lip' when it comes to the family members you see over this festive period but there are many people who really have to force themselves to socialise, let alone wash and smile.

Also, when you stop to reflect, think of those we have lost this year. Next week I go to my second funeral of 2015 as the drama club loses a third member. Is it only 'post mortem', you stop to reflect everything that person has done for you? All the good and positives that person helped into your life. Perhaps we regret not seizing more opportunities but either way, reflect upon those happier times and be happy you were there.

I will dearly miss Sandra, the drama club's Vice-Chairman who died last week; she was everyone's Nan. If I reflect slightly further back into the year, my best friend's mother lost her fight with cancer. Neither would want me sat around sulking but it is good to remember the cheeky jokes and the love and care we shared. I am sure the same goes for you.
See more on Instagram and Tumblr

Even though I can seriously struggle with the confrontation and the shouting and the overwhelming positivity of Christmas, I am still very grateful for the friends and family I have and extremely grateful to you; my readers! Whether you are reading my recent post, or even a post from months ago, and sharing them on your twitters and Facebooks you help me feel understood and not as alone as the 'black dog' would let me.

So stop. Hold your drink. Take deep breaths. Remember where you were 12 months ago and where you sit today. So much has happened and it whilst it hasn't always been easy some of it was fun. You've worked so hard to get here and if your journey is like mine it may feel like you are falling behind on a cold race of life. Mental health will do that but keep on. I certainly feel that I am in a worse place than 12 months ago but all I can do is try.

Next week I will tell you of a few plans I have plus share some more positive memories of my 2015. In the meantime, thank you for reading and tweeting, and have a very safe caring christmas.

DONATE TO MIND :  Text SUPPORT to 70660 to give £3Text costs £3 plus network charge.   Mind receives 100% of your donation.   Obtain bill payers permission. Charity No 219830

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. Matt is the Chairman and dame of the Iver Heath Drama Club in South Bucks.  He hosts The Matt Streuli Show on Southwaves Radio  and lives near Pinewood Studios on the edge of London. 


Need help? In the UK, call 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