Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Why did Mrs May keep that Hunt? AND I made a stressful phone call!

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Perhaps it is a sign of my improving and more stable mental health but last week we discussed how our new Prime Minister, Theresa May, might actually be good in the fight for mental health equality and care.

In 2012 she said “I think it’s important to do a good job and not to feel that you’ve got to make grand gestures, but just to get on and deliver.” It is that sort of ethos that encourage such enthusiasm in her last week. My post was met with some mixed comments . There are some of you older and undoubtedly wiser than moi who are right to be cynical and less willing to actually have hope let alone faith in any politician.

Then I felt a bit stupid. While others lost their headline posts or swapped them, Jeremy Hunt was kept in his position in Mrs May's new cabinet. It is very hard to find anyone within the NHS who thinks he has done a good job - most believe he has made the NHS debt considerably worse let alone what he has done to our NHS workforce. In fact it was only a few months ago I encouraged us all to rise up and depose Jeremy Hunt to support the NHS staff who support and save us.

Mr Hunt must be rubbing his hands with glee; surely this is a license to carry on deconstructing our NHS (and what little Mental Health services we have)? Actually, I think it is the polar opposite. I think it is really clever. Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt were two key leaders in the Brexit camp which made claims such as an extra £300million a week for the NHS and now they are both in key brexit related roles they have to provide it. If they struggle and fail then it reflects awfully on brexit, highlighting even more 'porky pies' voters put their faith in. Failure to completely achieve goal proves Mrs May and the Remain camp right and gives her the impetus to say; you only got this far due to the efforts of the remain camp like me. If they succeed, which I think is a very hard challenge, then Mrs May can still claim the leadership crown. It is in Jeremy's interest to get the Brexit MPs to secure his funding and rebuild the very NHS he has crippled - even partial failure will destroy what is left of him and Mrs May again swoops in to save the day.

Still putting politics and the big picture to one side, its time to focus on the smaller picture; ME!

I started this blog as a way to process what I think and feel. If you write something down, you can than better view it and almost answer it as if you were a friend giving advice or just a fresh external set of eyes. Being able to discuss bigger picture issues such as our new Prime Minister is great but it relegates my own mental health battle to the social media posts I embed at the end of each blog edition.

There was a time where I never made or took person phone calls. To start I'll point out that I still very much struggle to answer the phone. Even if it is a close friend or family, I'd rather ignore the call and leave it to my answering machine. Making a call is easier and something I have been getting better at. When you make a call, you are in charge of the subject and the aim of the call - something you lose vice versa.

On Saturday, we awoke to the email that LowCostHolidays had entered administration. There was a time in my life where this would of left me emotionally falling into a black patch. Yet I remained calm. There was a time in my life I would of slowly become overwhelmed with panic. Yet everything felt in control. Accepting that there is only so much you can do is easy to say but liberating when you achieve it. Thankfully we bought our holiday on my credit card so the money should be easy enough to get back from them; so much so we have already replaced the cancelled hotel and transfers on a like-for-like basis with a different travel agent.

The reason for the Nelson Mandela quote? There was a time where I tried to kill myself and honestly didn't know if I could survive life anymore. As I hinted in the 'comic book' cover for the last week, our minds are still prehistoric and not quite 'designed' for the chaos, stress and stigma of the 21st century. It was only a few months ago that I couldn't face making a phone call, yet over time I've re learnt and readjusted. I can call the Police or, in the recent example, the credit card company. If you stroll back through the a few months of this blog you can see my condition gradually deteriorated as I fought workplace discrimination, stress and stigma as well as my own mind. In the end I didn't know what my future could even be, let alone if I would ever work or contribute anything again. My continuing work as Chairman of the drama club, the local lollipop man, writing this blog and working with Time to Change and, a key part, volunteering at a local infant school has really helped me readjust and awaken to the real world. You have really helped too through reading and sharing my blog, clicking adverts or my own links to social media and even watching my YouTube or resharing my tweets. Every little action not only supports silly old me, but helps fight the good fight for the mental health services, support and care an equal and just society like ours should have in the 21st Century.

Finally, a huge thank you to all of you who share that goal, optimism or belief and nominated me for the Mind Awards. Regardless of what happens - it means alot.

Whether you are enjoying Summer at home or on holiday, be safe and look after and love yourself and your closest friend. You are brilliant. You can do it.
With your help we can go viral and fight the right fight. It will only seem impossible until we all do it. Together, as one.

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