#Variety : F1 crash to mental health reboot

Hello my friends. I'm starting to think I should blog more than once a week - what do you think?

Being the trend setter that I am, this week's post will be a variety of topics and to start I will update you all on my current mental health adventure.

 In last week's post I explained how I went from being bipolar to having a personality disorder. If you have seen my tumblr then you will have seen some the research I have been doing to try and distinguish which personality disorder I may have. I would recommend having a browse as, along the lines of my Are we all mentally ill post, I think we may all have personality disorders but on a sliding scale. At the moment I am waiting for a letter from the psychologist I met last week and then I guess I'll find out the next step.

In other news, I just wanted to say a Hello and Thank you for all the support I have received recently whether online or with my friends and family or through work. As we've discussed before the stigma of mental health is daft and it feels so good to be accepted by you all. That said I've just had a meeting with my HR department which I'll mention more at the end.

Photo with thanks to t-online.de
Carrying on with the variety, it is on F1. Max Verstappen is the youngest ever F1 driver and has had a quietly successful season so far. That was until a crash at last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix. Monaco's circuit takes place rather literally on the main roads of the tiny country and at the end of the curving start/finish straight is a sharp and tight right hand bend. Over the past few laps Max had been making fantastic headway in catching and trying to pass Romain Grosjean. It was at this sharp right bend that Max tried to undertake Romain and the picture shows the impact that threw Max into the barriers at 100+mph. Max walked away unscathed but commentators immediately started posting online and in print that this was proof that a 17 year old is too young to be in F1. A comment supported by Grosjean himself. I post this today to highlight how exciting even a dull race can be in F1 but also to defend Max. 

The late great Senna said:
By being a racing driver you are under risk all the time. By being a racing driver means you are racing with other people. And if you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver because we are competing, competing to win.

ROMAIN!! FoxSports.au
Max saw a chance and took it just like Senna would and just like Grosjean would. I do not think for a second that Max is reckless. This is his first accident in what I would call a quietly successful first season. Compare that to Grosjean. Romain appeared in 2009 for a brief period where his driving style could be described as enthusiastic but careless. He then returned with Lotus in 2012  where his experience had certainly calmed down the careless behaviour but look at this 3 year old report on a F1 Fan site - http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2012/10/13/romain-grosjean-first-lap-crashes/   It is true that he has matured and settled down since but look at this spectacular crash (pictured) which was caused at least in part by Romain and nearly took a fellow driver's head off.
My summary? F1 is dangerous but chances are there to be taken and whilst not every chance will be successful it is the experience and maturity that shows whether it the gap is too small or big enough. Yes, Max is still learning, but hasn't his season thus far redeemed one misjudgement?

Keep pushing Max, you've earned a fan here.

Earlier today I had a meeting with my boss's boss and our HR department. In the meeting I was asked how I offload my stresses and triggers. The answer is this blog. It feels great to think through and explain how I feel and maybe that helps me understand why, if there is a reason. Also, my friends and family can read it and see how I am without having any awkward conversations.

That said:  it must be very difficult to hear a member of staff say they tried to kill themselves but I would like to say a huge thank you to my friends at my place of work. I understand that last week they were under pressure and understaffed but they did a great job and I'm lucky to say I have almost caught up on my personal backlog. It will be good to see what support they can offer going ahead especially to the team I work with.

Today, I am functioning quite well and I'll be honest - the Matt that had to call the crisis team scares me.

And we wind up this week by promoting the Summer Show at the Iver Heath Drama Club. We are a small family of 30 members from all ages and abilities and this summer the youngsters have the main parts in Law and Order: Fairy Tale Unit with the old ones like me taking a step back. It is a funny and clever show for the whole family. Tickets on sale now at www.ihdc.co.uk

Thank you once again for reading my blog. I'm sorry it has been lacking the normal humour but why not have browse back through my blog and let me know your favourite post.

TTFN xxx

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

Love you xxx

A diagnosis!

I should start this week's blog by apologising. I have been describing myself as a Bi-polar blogger but earlier today I had my first appointment with a psychologist. A 90 minute appointment grew into over two hours discussing everything from the 'trigger' of last week (Fool me once post) that caused an emotional crash over last weekend through to the story of my alcoholic mother and how I ended up caring and coping with her. I do not have bi-polar (although I still think I might be on the spectrum of it...). The psychologist, who was really nice and understanding, has diagnosed me with a Personality Disorder.

The NHS Choices website lists the following as common symptoms:
  • being overwhelmed by negative feelings such as distress, anxiety, worthlessness or anger
Well this weekend is proof of that! After a rubbish end to the week I spent Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday paralysed in bed, cutting myself off from social media and my friends. I woke up Sunday morning with the realisation that I either killed myself or I'd have to face the world in just a few hours. When life feels like a battle, suddenly falling off the waterfall is much better then trying to hold on while a tsunami waterboards you.  I had to call the mental health crisis team on Sunday; my situation became extremely bad.

  • avoiding other people and feeling empty and emotionally disconnected
When I am low I try to disappear. I feel unable to function and I avoid all contact. Some of you think I might just need my space but I am dead inside and I cannot even try to act like the normal Matt.
  • difficulty managing negative feelings without self-harming (for example, abusing drugs and alcohol, or taking overdoses) or, in rare cases, threatening other people 
As we have previously covered I do self harm. I'll let you have a browse to read why but I would point out I only need to do this when I am low. It feels good. It is a coping mechanism.
  • odd behaviour
I prefer the term, eccentric. ;)
  • difficulty maintaining stable and close relationships, especially with partners, children and professional carers 
I think I have close friendships but maybe they would be the better judge
  • sometimes, periods of losing contact with reality
 I reject your reality and substitute my own!
  • Symptoms typically get worse with stress.
Definitely true!
For the most part I am happy about my new diagnosis. It does mean that, unlike with bi-polar disorder, it is the programming of brain (the personality) rather than the hardware not functioning correctly. Compare my mental health to a troublesome computer you've endured at some point. I am sure we've all had PCs or Laptops that seem content with some tasks yet try to get it to do something awkward or too much at once and you end up with the much feared Blue Screen of Death. To me this makes perfect sense. Have a look at all those triggers before the black patches in my blog? Could it be that my software is unable to process and bear it?

This past weekend, I think exactly that happened. My software accessed the file for looking after what perceived to be a vulnerable person - a file it created with my Mother. That file ran emergency programming but under attack it went to the default shut down option. My brain had a Blue Screen of Death. I ended up in bed, shut down and this week whilst off work I have been rebooting.

I think it makes sense. I quite like it - maybe not as much as the bipolar option but it works.

In fact the only downside to the day was when he said my risk of suicide was severe. I am bright and therefore able to plan how to kill myself but also then carry the threat through. He suggested I boxed up my blades, savlon and swabs along with my Laughing Gas canisters and throw them in the bin. You might agree and if I was giving advice to another person I would to. However for me, throwing them in the bin is like bricking up a fire exit. You might never need the fire exit but it is a safety net to have.

So what's next?

Aside from Eurovision on Saturday night, I am being referred to a NHS Complex Needs team and hopefully some psychotherapy. Perhaps my software can be rewritten so that when it runs blackpatch.exe it doesn't go straight for the blade and the sterile swabs?

Let me know what you think on twitter and the comments below.

Thanks for reading as always and for all your support all over social media. Below is some of my recent tweets to help up both cheer up.
I am feeling better but we are going slow.

https://instagram.com/p/267o-HAiPx/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_top">Omg @clairelouisef1989!  You have to get one of these for your cats xx punch loves his #jml #purrfectarch  #cat #cute

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

> video from @realfailarmyhttps://twitter.com/RealFailArmy">@realfailarmy> http://t.co/yD2DffVlMRhttp://t.co/yD2DffVlMR">http://t.co/yD2DffVlMR> Dazed and Confused || A Wisdom Teeth and Bad Trip Fails— Matthew E Streuli (@mattstreuli) May">https://twitter.com/mattstreuli/status/600938302926098432">May 20, 2015
https://instagram.com/p/23qDbagiOt/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_top">#eurovision

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

Fool me once...

I feel really low today. Frustrated, maybe angry, like I could snap but I know I just never will. I'm obviously worthless and the last few weeks were just here to trick me to live.

My day job is better than ever and I'm more on top and advanced than I ever have been.  We all have problems in our lives but at work I act my normal-ish self. That being said some of my work colleagues have started to read this blog and began to see through my mask. To those of you, I say hello and thank you for your support.

I'm treading carefully because I hate upsetting or offending people but I should be clear. There are some people in my life who are pro-actively being nasty to myself and others. They 'bitch' behind people's backs and at times make blatant jokes about them in their presence. I have been asked how I cope and I used to block it out (mostly) but it is hurtful and recently it has felt more and more intense; particularly towards me.

OR am I being over-sensitive?
Is this my warped mind making the world a darker place than it is? Maybe things are fine. Why rock the boat?

OR am I right to be upset?
I've always bottled things and I shouldn't have to. But then... Why upset other people? Just suffer in silence and don't be burden, right?

Earlier this week the US suffered Mother's Day (it is a different day in the UK so there isn't a sudden rush at greeting card printing companies). Somewhere there is a information agency which seems to have recorded that my mother is dead and at first you might wonder where the profit could be made in knowing this. Fret no more!

A website called Heaven Address lets you light an online candle for your departed mother.

Dear Heaven Address.

I do not wish to light a candle. But I'll happily light a fucking bonfire with a drunk doll to represent my biological mother.


Talking of ghosts - we nearly lost our shit when a little girl decided to prank us in a nearby cave.  But, in doing so, did we capture a real ghost by sheer luck?

Have a look below and let me know.

Thank you once again for reading my blog. It means the world to me - especially as my article on THE CALM ZONE has had over 750 views. Thank you xxx

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

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

Feeling Fine at Election time!

Thank you for visiting my blog and all your feedback (comment below or tweet) is really appreciated. Over the past few weeks I have tried to balance my views on the forthcoming General Election against my own mental health story and my comedy style. I feel that I have covered the election enough in my past few posts (have a browse!) so all I will say this week is that I beg that you use your democratic right to vote. It is no understatement to say that people have died so you can mark an X in that box - that is how powerful your voice is. Who to vote for is another topic and again I have skimmed over whether to vote with a national viewpoint or for a local one. Just make sure you do vote, even if it is to spoil your paper by writing CHEESE on it, then your voice will have been heard - albeit a voice saying I'd rather have cheese running the country than any political party.

This week I've been pretty stable, I had a few hyper moments over the long weekend although my attitude at work could be summed up in one phrase: We try our hardest but everyone else is conspiring against us!

But it is time to get a little bit more upbeat!

You might be wondering why this week's blog post is slightly shorter than the norm. That is because I have written an article for the CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably) website. I'm really excited to have my work published. Please do share it! I would like to thank Clare at CALM for helping me get this published and her fantastic work proof-reading my post. It is a fantastic cause I and hope you have a browse of the site and share it on your tweeting-instafacebookgrams. 

And once you have had a read, why not have a laugh by listening to our comedy podcast in which you will learn about the world of Cleveland Steamers and the new Thunderbirds TV series.

Just before we go, don't forget to join us this Thursday night as we commentate live on the biggest reality TV show since someone had sex in the Big Brother pool. We will be on YouTube. 
Unless you watch this after the election.... in which case you can still watch it while you share my blog and tweet me.

Thanks again! Woop Woop!