#AskMatt - "Is all the openness on social media a good idea?"

I've decided that on top of my blog each Thursday(ish), I would launch a Q & A. If you would like to ask a question - any question, don't worry about being offensive! - then each week I will, try and answer it here. Tweet me your question using the hashtag #ASKMATT @MattStreuli

This week's question is whether being open about my mental health on this blog and social media is a good idea? Am I making myself a target?

Ahh social media… I share your concern. It can be a double edged sword – so to speak. I find it a way of processing and expressing how I feel and how that relates to how I think – the two are not always the same. I know I should be proud of where I am and I am doing OK but how I feel is far different. I can’t get the two to meet in the middle. 

Publishing it all online here blog form means that people can read it if they want to. Some people are scared of me. Some people are scared of asking how I am in case they don’t know how to deal with the answer. That is the stigma of mental health. Putting it on my blog is a very non-confrontational way of expressing how I am doing. If ‘friends’ read it and want to engage with me, they can – and I’ve had support from friends recently I haven’t heard from in years. At the same time, people I considered close friends have drifted apart and maybe I scare them or whatever but it shows what sort of friend they actually are.

On the scale of mental health, today I am actually pretty good. I’m functioning and in a steady job so I’m nowhere near bad enough to be a major concern for the NHS. Hence the slow approach. 

If my blog can be read by people and helps them understand mental health or why I may feel or act the way I do rather than just thinking I’m some moody git – that has to be a good thing. If my blog inspired a few people to sign that petition for fair funding for mental health I featured a week or so ago… that’s brilliant. Suicide is the biggest cause of death in young men in the UK. I feel that because I am in a better place than many of those in mental health treatment, I feel responsible for fighting the fight. Which I guess marries up to the whole ‘taking care of people’ thing that is in my emergency programming.

Thank you for being supportive and giving it a read I am much better today than I was a few weeks ago. All I can do is keep trying.

Tweet me your question using the hashtag #ASKMATT @MattStreuli

A week of hurdles

Just a few weeks ago I had a rant that I was going to have to wait 18 weeks for treatment, which would equal 304 days from first referral to getting help. At the end of last week that suddenly changed. I received a letter giving me a few days notice that I would meet my clinical psychologist on Monday which on top of the seeing the Occupational Health Doctor and the IHDC Summer show on Wednesday made this week, a week of hurdles.

Over the past few weeks I've been rather candid about my mental health. I feel I have nothing to hide. I am not embarrassed or ashamed. If anything, I feel slightly empowered because I feel I am borderline coping which puts me in a good place to discuss and fight for the mental health cause. Last week I explained how I feel and think on my right to die and when I want it; by suicide.Whilst I am sure these are hard to read I ask that you do take a chance to have a browse through the past few  blogs - it helps with the back story.

On Monday I met with a very nice NHS Psychologist. I'm guilty of working myself up and expecting the worst. Perhaps this is the anxiety that I've heard my HR and Doctors comment on. I then kick myself; force myself to go ahead. Every single Doctor or Nurse I have come across in my journey thus far has been incredible. 'Inner Matt' worries that the world will judge him. He worries that when being honest with the people he meets on this journey, they will react with fear or prejudice and lock him away. Then you realise that we are all human. I don't want to get all hippy, wet and liberal but I am touched by the sincere care, interest, compassion and understanding I've felt from not only the NHS teams but also from my line managers, my colleagues and my closest friends. You might have only sent a short text or facebook message - maybe it was just a tweet - but it really does make a difference when your struggling to hold on. I paraphrase my Doctor Who quote from my last post: "The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant.  And you definitely added to my
pile of good things."

Tuesday came and went. It was noticed at work that I was not my normal cheery self. 


Part of this was work related. I am responsible for the getting a specific type of product from our facilities in France and Spain to our customers in the UK. It may not specifically say that on this year’s targets or my job description but I get it in the neck when it goes wrong. And when the French go on strike – they make it go wrong. Not only did they blockade the port, they set fire to the motorways around the tunnel. Migrants seized the opportunity and as you may have seen on your TV news, there were riot police with tear gas not sure whether to fight fires or try and stop people breaking into lorries to try and reach our fair green isle. I was already run down, emotionally, from my appointment on Monday and perhaps getting anxious about the show and seeing the company Doctor. This was an unexpected issue which took up a lot of time out of my already fairly busy days. I normally keep on top my responsibilities but my to-do list grew and in the end I just starting ignoring bits of it.

Wednesday. I turned a corner.
The Occupational Health Doctor was fantastic. He took time to explain the thinking process and how everyone is different. He actually inspired me and used a key word: tolerance. Sometimes I need to do my jobs without ‘not saying no’ or sudden issues dropping out the sky. When my tolerance is already low, it is easier to trigger my emergency programming which lead to our big issue a few weeks ago.  

Working from home for just a few days would ease this pressure but also hopefully tie in with the group therapy the NHS is offering me to start next month. Otherwise I’d have to leave work mid-morning, to drive past my flat to the group session and then go back to work. I’d be out the office for 2-3 hours including journey times.

As you may of read I was diagnosed a few weeks with a Personality Disorder. The way I explained it on my blog is that bipolar (my preferred theory!) is when the mechanics/chemicals of the brain don’t quite work and like having a dodgy hip, it is not your fault. To me a Personality Disorder is more that the software on the brain doesn’t quite work and you end up with the fabled ‘Blue Screen of Death’. The way I perceive it, is that I am reasonable for my programming. I am my programming. Therefore a Personality Disorder is a disorder or problem with who and what makes me and it is my fault. My brain thinks this is logic and you must admit, it makes sense. I have been feeling anxious and guilty over this. 

I wish I remembered his name so I could thank this Doctor. He said that it was not my fault. We all process things differently but we all find different ways to cope.  Having a Personality Disorder doesn’t mean my personality is disordered. It is far more simple than that. Mental health is a spectrum. There is no black and white or normal and abnormal. Everything slides and fades. A Personality Disorder does not mean that I am not bipolar. It just means that I am not severe enough to categorise my symptoms that way. It is that simple. He said that my symptoms were systemic of Bipolar Disorder but lower on the scale. It is no more my fault than if it as called Bipolar. Taking those extra 5 minutes made all the difference and after thanking my work mates through the medium of Greggs’ Yum-Yums, I was off to Drama.

The summer show this year was Law and Order: Fairy Tale Unit. A comedy family play which is a parody of the hit US TV show. This summer the youngsters had the leading roles whilst us old farts simply filled the gaps. Just like a Nativity Play you go in not expecting too much but you know with IHDC it will be good – even when pantomime goes terribly wrong it is still great fun for the audience! As I said to the audience at the very end – it was the best rehearsal we’ve ever had. The audience, despite the hot muggy hall, loved the infomarket and there seemed to be some great conversations between the Pinewood Studios delegates and locals and the Parish Council. You can see more about it on the Drama Club website. The audience also laughed and gasped along with the play. Our worries about the plot or jokes being mumbled or lines being forgotten disappeared as the youngsters pretty much nailed every scene. Falcon, in her directing debut, was so proud as was I.

I had been at the lower end of the happy spectrum for a week or so – in hindsight. There is no buzz quite like having a room full of people laughing and applauding you – and maybe sometimes I forget that. I had been honestly thinking of leaving drama. I put in so much work. I used to do it because I enjoy it but now I just feel obligated. But nights like Wednesday with a bit of ad-lib stand-up at the end make me want do more. 

However, I still don’t want all the work. 

My actual job and drama just don’t feel rewarding. I’m just going through the motions of life. I’m surviving. I guess that is all life is, but for me that isn’t enough. To quote Mr Williams: “I Don’t want to die, but I aint keen on living either.”

Thanks for reading, please do retweet and share. Why not tweet your thoughts and questions? I’m on Instagram and Tumblr too.

Have a great week and enjoy the chaos below! Xx

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

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

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

I'll die when I want to

An extra post this week. Don't forget to read my last post which should act as a background to this one.
In it, I vent that it appears to take 304 days from seeing a GP to starting treatment for a mental health condition hence the severe strain on the NHS and the Police who step in during the preventable crisis.

Fifty-four years ago, Suicide was decriminalised in the UK.

Why was it illegal in the first place? Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights  states that "Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law" and given that Dying is an inevitable consequence of life, we therefore have a right to die. As long as you are not hurting someone else - where is the crime? Many laws find their basis in religion and the rationale was that suicide was a sin. God, or whichever creator you prefer, gave you life and to end it early is an insult against that supreme being. It was only when the Church of England's view lightened that the Suicide Act of 1961 finally decriminalised the act of taking your own life. 

I have no interest in living forever. In fact, the idea of having to live another 25 years scares me. No ones life is all joy, but when you have had a shitty 25 years you find yourself tiredly weeping; enough is enough. Otherwise, when is it all going to end? I am pretty certain that I will die and it will be because I will have taken my own life. I do not plan to die anytime soon. I am holding on. Holding on to you and that pile of good things. I'm trying but I honestly feel no attachment to staying alive either. Generally speaking, the human race has a great determination to fight no matter what. I write this post simply to explain that it it my life, it is my choice and I will die when I want to.

Prayopavesa is the allowance of suicide in Hinduism but only for those with terminal illness or for those who have no ambition or responsibilities to perform; although the person kills themselves through starvation. Even so, this shows a tolerance for your right to do with your life as you wish - including to end it. Why do I need to have a terminal cancer to have the right to die? Professor Jacob Appel testified in a US court that all competent people have a right to die and that allowing it is the ultimate test of freedom for a modern society and culture. My right to die is as simple a request as your right to love who you love or your right to have a favourite food. As long as your actions do not impact on the happiness of others - you should do as you please.

 and support those with mental health conditions
For me this is where the trouble lies.

Whilst I would not be here to face the consequences, I am all too aware of how my 'black dog' effects those around me. I feel an immeasurable sense of guilt. Perhaps this is why I seal myself away or repeatedly dream of being on a isolated long-haul space flight. This way, I am not dead and therefore unable to inflict pain on those around me whether through my actions in life or actions in taking my life. 
I just don't want to live anymore. I just want to sleep and one day, when I simply can't fight anymore I will not wake up. Please remember that you made my life better even if I couldn't always say it.

I feel horrible just having these thoughts yet - it is my life and I should feel guilt free at doing what I want with it. If I say I don't want to do something, that should be fine! Right?

One other thing does scare me. That after the pain subsides and you all realise that the world will keep spinning regardless - that I will be dead and I will be forgotten. No tombstone or blue plaque. No one will even remember to type my name in online. I will have died, nothing will have changed, nothing will be remember and I will be but dust. I leave no legacy. Perhaps this is why I want an MBE, so that it means I have done something worth remembering and I cannot be forgotten. 

Will I even be a footnote or will my story just gently fade away? I'm so insignificant.

I am holding on. Holding on to you and that pile of good things. I'm trying. I'm really trying.

Vincent Van Gogh had demons and he took his own life. He left a legacy of amazing paintings which were unappreciated in his life. However, he did leave his mark. In an episode of Doctor Who, Amy is heartbroken that despite her love and the joy they shared, Van Gogh still committed suicide just as he had done before she and the Doctor had their adventure with him. "We didn't make a difference at all" Amy wept.

Below is the Doctor's reply and I hope it brings you some comfort and understanding whether it is my suicide or someone elses you are trying to comprehend. We know the idea of wanting to die is alien to you - as alien as enjoying life is to us - but take these words from a geeky British TV show written by Richard Curtis and maybe you can have some comfort and understanding of our minds.

 We didn't make a difference at all. 


 I wouldn't say that.  The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things.
The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant. 

        And we definitely added to his pile of good things. 

Thank you for reading and being in my pile of good things.
Please do tweet and share my blog and why not browse some other articles? 
Goodbye xx

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

#Variety: Wobble

Lots of thoughts bumping around at the moment so prepare to engage with this mess. Last week we had a look at how Google is tracking your location and remembering it. I also glanced over the fact I had received a letter from the NHS letting me know that I am on a new waiting list.

It frustrates me.

If I had an ingrowing toenail or even something as severe as cancer, I would not be waiting 18 weeks. From taking that first step to speak to my GP, to getting a diagnosis, through to just starting treatment is forecasted to take over 10 months. 304 days from asking to help to actually getting it. As I've covered before suicide is the BIGGEST cause of death of men in the UK aged 20 to 45. Surely by investing more into treatments and preventative care then we could not only ward off some of the deaths but also release the pressure that has been dropped on our Police and frontline NHS.  According to Theresa May in May (hehe) 2015:
Last year, over 4,000 people detained under section 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act were held in a police cell rather than in a health-based place of safety...
At a speech given to Police Chiefs the Home Secretary went on to say:
 The right place for a person suffering a mental health crisis is a bed, not a police cell. And the right people to look after them are medically trained professionals, not police officers.
 20% of the 22,000 people who were 'detained' or sectioned were kept in a police cell. The Guardian newspaper estimated earlier this year that 20% to 40% of the Police's time is dealing with people with mental health issues.
So where does this leave me? At the moment I am only a Moderate risk so just leave me alone to either kill myself and save the Government some cash or until I have a major crisis and become a burden at the local police station; taking up a cell and the time of officer's that should be focused on catching the thugs we see on Crimewatch each week. Theresa May pledged £15million in extra funding for this problem - but where is it? It doesn't appear to be shortening my 18 week wait just my shortening my life expectancy. Physical health is like the Mercedes-Benz F1 team versus mental health budget of the slowest F1 team, Manor F1.

If you have 30 seconds, then I ask you have a look at this campaign by the mental health charity RETHINK. They are trying email MPs to close the gap between physical health and mental health and demand fair funding - please click and join in - It's easy! : http://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=32&ea.campaign.id=38960&ea.tracking.id=email

My wobble was not due to this wait - at least I don't think so. It was more something at work where I had put time and effort in only to be undermined and then have the situation overcomplicated.
I isolated myself and gave myself time to heal. I did selfharm but I'm please to say that after 24 hours I was almost back to my normal self - although lacking my normal tolerance.

Carrying on my F1 story from a couple of weeks ago, I am pleased to report that Max had a clean race in Canada that was mildly successful despite the harsh grid place penalty that was passed to him. Yet Grosjean, whilst lapping a much slower competitor from aforementioned Manor F1, decided to cut his car across the front bow and tear the nose-cone off the lapped car. It was careless and unnecessary.
He had already made his pass so why do it?

His punishment? 5 seconds added to his race time at the end so he still finished in 10th.Unfair?

Given his race record, you would of though that Romain Grosjean was 'experienced' enough now not to do things like this.

In other news, the Summer show at IHDC is going really well and Falcon has done an amazing job. I can't wait to see all the work by the youngsters and the crew pay off and I think we will really wow our community infomarket guests. You can read more about it on the NEWS page of www.ihdc.co.uk

Finally, I'd like to promote a new programme on BBC News Channel. Outside Source is a fantastic concept. Fronted by Ros Atkins which combines social media and the latest news from external sources with the reports from BBC reporters on the ground. It gives a bitesize yet rounded view on an array of stories - some of which we normally would miss in the UK as the programme is simulcast on BBC World News.  I am now an avid viewer (except for when it clashes with Drama - sorry Ros!) so much so, I had a mention earlier this week.
Have a look below - LIKE AND SHARE!
Thanks again for your support. I'm gonna try and cheer the fuck up and stop being so GRRR and cynical.

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

Where was I?

Who knows where you are?

I'm mean sometimes your location is public and that is a good thing. When you are on holiday and you share that snap on instagram (see mine below!) or check in using FourSquare or whatever its name now is, your location is public. If you turn location on in your Facebook Messenger, then your contacts can see where you were when you sent that message. "I'm on my way" but they could see that you are still at work.
Go to My Account section on Google

This week Google reminded its users through emails and its main search page to have a look at their account. You might say - but I don't have a Google account? Do you have an android smartphone? Or tablet? Or a log in for YouTube, Gmail or blogger? Then you do have a Google account. Generally, I am a fan of their 1 account for many uses/devices/services system and I praise them for it but from time to time we all notice that perhaps our privacy or rights are slowly being infinged on.

In 2012 Instagram, a photo and video sharing site that I've recently become addicted to, changed their terms so they could use posted content without consent. On one hand, what's the problem? You shared an awesome photo and they want to share it with the world on the side of a bus and get more users. But what if that awesome photo is of your son's 10 year old birthday? And as you took the image do you not deserve some payment for it? Instagram, like other sites that have tried similar strategies, quickly changed tack stating that the user always owned the content. But what if the content is not a photo or some satire but your location?

You can view a whole month at once. I get around...
Like many of you, I do not read those long terms and conditions as much as I should. In those terms, Google tracks my location. On one hand, I want this - when meeting with friends we know which end of the shopping centre to go or sharing a photo of your event people can see which cool bar or attraction it is. But do I want people knowing that on Saturday 7th March I visited several car hire locations via a range of food locations and people's houses?

Don't panic. Yet.
I can't see that this information is public but Google does remember. So will it alter the adverts I see for restaurants I drive near?

At the moment the information is only used by Google to improve your web searches and you will have noticed this when you type in CURRY TAKEAWAY and your local Indian restaurant comes up. Think about it, Bob's Curry House of Bolton can't be the most visited Indian takeaway website...

This week's post is not meant to scare you but I want you to think twice about how your data, your infomation, your pictures and video and your assests are used and how easily those Terms could be tweaked and suddenly... that important picture or precious video is being used and you belong to the cloud.

In other news, back to my mental health adventure, I have been referred to my Community Mental Health Team but I have been told there is a 18 week waiting list.

I haven't received the letter from the psychologist I met two weeks ago but I was promised it is in hand. What baffles me is that two weeks ago I was told I was bright and caring person which made a moderate risk from suicide. Is it any wonder suicide is such high percentage of deaths in the UK when I won't get help until October? As we've discussed previously (search using the MENTAL HEALTH tag) wouldn't it be cheaper to treat people now than wait for the crisis which strains our Police and NHS?

Perhaps you could fund the NHS for better preventative care so conditions like cancer and depression are treated equally. Perhaps then it won’t take 6 months for the right diagnoses to be passed or for a crisis to happen. Perhaps then the Police and NHS wouldn’t be so overstretched with emergencies in the mental health sector. Perhaps if we target these things in our communities we can prevent some of those 6,233 deaths?

I guess if we get really deep, we could ask if we are already owned by the cloud. Forget dependant, the internet rules us. #toodeep

Thanks for reading and retweeting. Your feedback, even the negative ones, is welcome and I've made some good friends through our social media world. Comment and tweet, retweet and share.

Thanks again xxx

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

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

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