Thursday, 1 June 2017

Back to Blog : Reboot V.2017

I knew my Childhood wasn't normal but I certainly didn't dwell on it. Children don't. They can be a lot stronger and more adaptable than we realise, depending on their age and how it is explained to them. My mother was an alcoholic.

What was a typical day like as a child? Well I got up and went to school. I've never needed a parent to wake me, did it all myself. Couldn't really be bothered with breakfast but I acted old enough to get to school and nag myself to do homework or clean the house.

I was her sole carer until she died when I was 13.

Flash forward to June 2015 and I tried to kill myself. Depression has been an ongoing symptom of my battle with mental health and the discrimination and stigma I have faced, mostly in the workplace, has only exacerbated the problem.

The main cause of my suicide attempt was stress and workload at work, since we had lost several members of staff without them being replaced, but the trigger was an incident at work where I defended someone I 'saw' as vulnerable but I came under attack. Without consciously knowing it, I needed to look after that vulnerable person just as I did when I was the sole carer for my Mother between the ages of 8 (my Step-Mum says it was when I was 10) and 13. She died from alcoholism. My 'damaged' hardware and software of my mind crashed.

I lasted just over 3 months. The trigger was when I brought something to the attention of my Senior Manager and challenged him, just like we are always being told to. I told him he had offended some of the staff and he replied with "I don't care". It set off the same cascade failure we had seen a few months earlier except this time, I asked for help. When I told that same manager I had been signed off due to work he replied "No one else has a problem." He even tried to convince me to resign. I've seen GPs, my NHS psychologist, I've spoken with solicitors and legal teams at Citizens Advice Bureau and ACAS as well as the fantastic team at MIND. He discriminated against me, I assume because of my disability.

I self harmed because of him. They knowingly exacerbated my condition. If I didn't ask for help they would have my blood on their hands.

In the end, with thanks to ACAS, I took the company to an employment tribunal but settled before the first hearing. Part of me wishes I held out just to have my ‘day in court’ but by this point, months after I ended up on long-term sick and having my pay cut off, I needed the money. I went from taken 100+ phone calls a day, handling orders in excess of £1m to being unable to make or take phone calls and crying when trying to handle basic paperwork.

Almost Two years on I am so much better than when I tried to kill myself, I am will always suffer anxiety and depression linked to my condition (Borderline Personality Disorder).

I then saw a job offer as a Lollipop Man. Perfect.
Stop Means Stop!
 Failing to stop for a Lollipop Man or Lady is a £1000 fine and 3pts
A great way to get me out the house, give me reason to wake up and avoid the risks of an office. It hasn’t been easy – I’ve been sworn at, had cars swerve round me and I was even hit by a courier van in February 2017 – but in the last year I’ve become a Teaching Assistant, re-met an old school friend and fell in love with her. MADLY in love. She moved in with me, taken care of me and I proposed to her on New Years 2017. She has given me hope in life and love. We've had a few explosive adventures! The council has given me hope in employers again and being one of two male staff at the school has given me a lot of lovely caring mother figures – I can’t get away with anything!

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter  -  @MattStreuli
I should also mention how amazing my drama club has been - giving me love and care of a family of friends as well as a way of self-exploration and desperately needed distraction.

Despite being busy with road safety and school work, I still write and I aim to reboot this blog. Over the 2 years, I've produced YouTube videos and I have even taken part in Public Speaking to the MoD with Time To Change to actively encourage everyone to speak out and seek help in an attempt to fight the frightening suicide rate, despite my ongoing depression and anxiety. I even help with shortlisting for the Mind Media Awards – this will be my second year. I've even appeared in The Guardian and written for HuffPost.

I might be a lot poorer than when I worked in that office, but I am happier and physically healthier than ever before.


BELOW are links to some favourite posts of my past blog. Every view and share is really appreciated. 
When I looked at my friend sat on the kerb, I didn't see her. Just how am I to describe it? A hallucination? A flashback? It was like watching a film and suddenly the actress playing my friend was swapped with the one playing my dead mother, but I was the only one who could see it. Why did my head decide this was a helpful thing? http://mattstreuli.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/i-cannot-do-2015-again.html 
 It makes me feel I have achieved something and I'm not failing at life. Having a disability means I'm succeeding in survival. http://mattstreuli.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/i-cannot-do-2015-again.html