Why do they have to lump all us crazy people together????

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Hiya, so I moved out when I was 16, and lived in hostels until I was 18, when I was lucky enough to be given my own flat. It is a gorgeous flat, with a balcony, I had lovely neighbours that I got on with, I have a local shop, Indian, Chinese, Hairdressers and 2 pubs all about 50 feet down the road, and a Co-Op, another two pube within 300 feet and the highstreet and train stations about 15-20 minute walk away. I genuinely couldn't be better positioned.

And yet, in 5 years it has gone from my dream place to hell on Earth. Gradually the neighbours I knew and loved have moved out.. some for health reasons, some to get their own places and some to be closer to family. Since this whole block is owned by a Housing Association you never really know who you will get next. Anyway, I was the first person to move in with mental health problems. Since then, everyone in the block has moved so there are new people in every block, and every single one of them has mental health issues.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am fine with people who have mental health issues, I have lots of them myself. But this block is getting extreme, and there are three people in particular who rub each other up the wrong way and are constantly causing arguments. I have had to dial 999 over 60 times this year already, and I must have called the non emergency police number hundreds of times over the past three years.

Opposite me we have: Wannabe Sheep Killer. This fine young gentleman believes he is possessed by the devil. As such, once morning I hear him coming upstairs with a LIVE SHEEP. His plan was to sacrifice it. Fortunately I got the police and the RSPCA there in time to save the sheep... but since he doesn't drive and we live in a City I would love to know where he got it from!!!!!

Below him we have: Cut Throat Dave. Dave has a tragic past, admitedly, but he shows up on your doorstep and slits his throat. And since he has HIV from sharing needles you have to get the special cleaners out to deal with the mess. I was literally holding his throat together a few weeks ago. The problem is, he doesn't want to die, he wants attention, but he doesn't really want proper help. He also falls asleep drunk and stoned when cooking things and regularly sets his place on fire.

Direcetly below me, we have: Crazy Coffee Lady. She is harmless and quite funny really. When she first moved in and I introduced myself, I said 'Hi, I am Hayley, I live at number (such and such)' and she said "I put my coffee away this morning" and walked away. Seriously. And then, since I live right at the top of the block, when we had a thunderstorm she knocked on my door at 2am with a metal mug asking for access to the room (which I don't have) so she could collect electricity to put in her electric meter. !!!!!!.

Is it bad for me to want just peace and quiet??? It is constant drama in this block... it is so bad that the police and fire brigade will no longer enter without the police for back up. I wish they would stop putting all the mental people in one place just so 'normal society' doesn't have to deal with us!! The stress of it all makes my mental health issues worse, Dave and Clive get into fist fights, the police get chainsaws out at 3am to get into various flats.. tell me how anyone is supposed to remain at least a little bit sane in this mad house sad

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20 Replies

  • Posted

    Oh my goodness me I mean another two pubs not pubes!!!!!
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    • Posted

      I'm very relieved to hear about the pubs. Though from what I saw of some of my mum's neighbours, the alternative would have been equally true!wink
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  • Posted

    Oh dear, Angel, I did have to laugh at your descriptions of your neighbours! As a former nurse and now long-term volunteer in a mental health centre, I kind of recognise some of them. You're a very talented writer.

    But I fully realise it's not a barrel of laughs, and that the change in circumstances must be very upsetting. This is an on-going problem in the UK. My mum, who died nearly 10 years ago now, lived on a very green and pleasant 1950s council estate, to which we'd moved 65 years ago, when I was a child. There was a long, low-rise block of one-bedroomed flats over the local parade of shops, which had originally been used to house singletons, most of them elderly, including a sweet old lady my parents had befriended. After Maggie Thatcher shut down the (many) local psychiatric hospitals, some allegedly sane person on the local council decided this block would be an ideal place to house the mentally ill. So not only did they terrorise each other, they made life hell for the elderly people living there too. It wasn't much better for residents on the rest of the estate either, as most of them were dependent on the parade of shops. I still remember my mum, when she was turned 80, being devastated when some guy peed on her from his balcony as she was going into the Post Office.

    I honestly don't know what the solution is to this problem. I'm old enough to remember visiting several of the old institutions for the mentally ill and the mentally subnormal (as they were called in those days) while training as a nurse. Surprisingly, they weren't intimidating places but refuges which their inmates saw as home. Of course, many of the people interned in these places shouldn't have been there. People were often sectioned for minor psychiatric conditions and found it difficult to get out again. And right up to the end of the era of the institutions, in the 80s, many of them housed elderly women who'd been "put away" as young girls because they'd got pregnant, were lesbians or had simply been sexually over-active in the view of pre-war society. That was scandalous. But looking at all the lost souls wandering the streets of my mum's estate - most of them with a beer-can in hand - I couldn't help thinking some of them would have been better off and happier (and certainly safer) in institutional life.

    But it all comes down to money, doesn't it? Successive governments (not just the Tories) cut the mental health budget to the bone and have been justifying their actions ever since by adoptin the politically-correct argument that they were helping the mentally ill by encouraging them to live independent lives - aka giving them and income and a roof over their heads, then abdicating all further responsibility for them.

    Now you're clearly an intelligent, articulate young woman. Do you think there's some way you could start mobilising forces in your area? Or maybe involving the press? This is a widespread problem that causes a lot of distress for mentally ill people as well as the communities that are forced to host them.

    I wonder whether your condition would allow you to move out of the system and rent somewhere else, though I realise rents are appallingly high in the UK. Alternatively, do you still have a mental health team who could help you move? It's very unfair that you, and others like you with milder psychiatric disorders, should have to live in conditions like this.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for such a well thought out response. I must admit though, because this site doesn't have spell checker and the one in my browser isn't working on this site for some reason my writing is much worse than normal! I meant coffee lady asked for access to the roof, not my room. Ah well, since we can't edit our posts we just have to deal with it I suppose.

      I can't imagine what you have seen. I have taken a keen interest in mental health issues and have heard some horror stories from my Grandma... her Aunt was forced to have electro-shock therapy for getting pregnant at 15. It is horrifying. They did it so she would forget her baby after it was adopted! It really affected me because I gave birth just a week after my 16th birthday and can't imagine having to go through that. Particularly as, like my Grandmothers Aunt, I fell pregnant as the result of an assault. I am so glad things have moved on, though we still have a way to go!

      I have done the best I can, I have written to MP's, the housing association, even to Downing Street... but it is easy to ignore a 24 year old women with mental health issues. I am doing my bit by writing my blog, however, and that has turned into a huge success, I am actually writing a book now.

      I do understand why they bunch us together. I get the complaints that happen when 'normal' people are forced to be near us, but what they don't understand is that it can make us worse. Clive (Wannabe Sheep Killer) was in a psychiatric hospital for 10 months and was only released last week. He should be in supported housing where they can ensure he is taking his medication, but there isn't anwhere for him to go. So they have been paying the rent on his flat and the cost of his care... it just doesn't seam sensible. And Dave needs to be in rehab to kick his heroin and alchohol addictions, but again they wont put that support in place.

      For a lot of people with mental health problems, they are only a danger to themselves (if anything) and don't actually cause any problems. But I know it is making me worse... after clive slit his throat (and got an artery) a few weeks ago and I was holding his throat close literally, I self harmed after I had done it. And although the risk is miniscule there is a chance I caught HIV when I was saving his life. Only for him to do it again last week. It is a never ending battle that really drains me emotionally.

      I am trying to get moved due to my physical disability but since the stupid bedroom tax everyone has moved into smaller accomodation and there aren't many places left! Despite there not really being a shortage of the large houses!

      It doesn't help that the benefit cuts are pushing people to the edge. I wish I could shake the people in charge and knock some sense in to them! They need to be collecting money from the tax dodger not victimising disabled people!

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  • Posted

    Wow that must be crazy living there! Probably makes you feel more sane lol. Not that it's funny but the way you told your story made me laugh. Which is a good characteristic to have! Making something not so funny pretty comical. What is life without a little bit of humor? Seriously you might want to consider moving if it stresses you out that much. You can't help it that they keep moving all these people in!
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    • Posted

      You have to laugh at it hun or you would cry lol. I have been trying to move for years but it is near on impossible these days, ever since the bedroom tax there has been an extreme shortage of smaller properties. Which sucks really!
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    • Posted

      Hi Angel, been reading your story and you are fantastic literally and I admire your strength I really do, you are amazing. Maybe a silly question but just a thought although you have probably already thought of this but - would your local council have a list of private landlords that might be looking for tenants for one bed properties ? I don't know your area and the housing benefit rates, also the shortfall may be too much for you as everything is so expensive. I know some councils will pay deposits to landlords depending on circumstances- but if it's that bad where you are is it worth a thought ? Difficult situation for you x
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    • Posted

      Unfortunately not many Landlords accept tennants on HB these days, at least not in my area which is a real pain. The ones that do often bump the prices up unfairly. But thank you so much for your comment and your response! xxxxx
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    • Posted

      There should be laws against landlords being able to do that, but there doesn't seem to be very many laws to protect people in your position, it must be terrible for you - I admire your sense of humour despite all you are going through, you are an inspiration to others and you should be very proud of yourself, you are and will be a fantastic author by the way - as well as a lovely person x
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    • Posted

      What a lovely message thank you so much!!! To be honest I am so grateful for what I have, if it wasn't for our welfare system I would be walking, and probably working, the streets. I feel very blessed with what I have and I know I am extremely fortunate compared to many. I do sometimes wonder though if the govenment feels like we should be grateful for what we get (we are) and like it or lump it for anything else lol.

      My housing association is actually very good, but there isn't much they can do with vulnerable people. I am very lucky because I developed a love of writing, so I have an very good way to express myself, but many don't have that, which can be very difficult. The issue is they are cutting all of our support options... and the result of that is going to be an increase in crime, which will be poorly managed because they are also cutting public services. All while they live on extortionate salaries and don't know the price of a pint of milk!

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    • Posted

      How right you are on all levels - yes you have a fantastic way of expressing yourself and helping others - you are an achiever who is full of hope and optimism , carry on with your book lovely girl and continue being the wonderful caring person that you are, I wish you well xx
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  • Posted

    Hi Angel

    I just wanted to say how much I admire you, and to add to that, you are a brilliant writer with style and wit.  I can't imagine how hard it must be for you to be in your situation and give thanks that I've survived my mental illness in one piece without the trauma you have suffered.

    I am bipolar, first episode 1984, not diagnosed until 1998 then hopsipitalised for five weeks in 1999.  I can relate to what you say about institutions and for me it was a life saver, I went from feeling totally screwed and vulnerable to heading in the right direction again.  Luckily, I had (still have) a good friend who visited me every day and bought us a detached house where I could be free of the noise from neighbours which had been my particular problem.  I thank God every day for her presence.

    Anyway, this isn't about me, its your thread, I just wanted to offer you my support and love and prayers.

    Lizzie xxx

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    • Posted

      I am so glad you found the right support, it changes everything for the better <3. And I can totally relate to the noise issues, I want nothing more than peace and quiet but there is no hope of getting it in this block! And even when it is quiet inside, all the neighbourhood kids play in our front garden as it is the largest in the row of flats (because I am on the corner) so we have kids screaming all day every day in the summer holidays. And the things they talk about these days is shocking! I am only 24 and can't stand what they say!

      I am glad you had someone to visit you, all the times I have had short stays on the wards none of my friends or family were brave enough to come sad

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    • Posted

      Hi Angel

      I'm so sorry that no one visted you, guess I was just blessed, and it did make a big difference.  Before my friend bought her detached house and offered to sharew it with me I lived in a block of flats where the neighbours were constantly playing loud music, arguing, throwing things at the wall, leaving drug parapenalia on the street, and if I tried to ask them to be  bit quieter I was told to F off.  And one of them was a police woman.

      You sound incredibly mature for your age, I read your biog, and think you will survive.  You are a fighter and we need to fight these debilitating illnesses.  Everyone is different, read my biog and you'll get an idea of my battles, I'm 57 now and am very lucky that despite the wrecakeg menatl health issues have wrought in my live I've had brilliant support from my freidn, my mu and my psychiatrist, who sadly I lost in the cuts.  Medically I'm just l;eft with my GP now who doesn't have much of a clue but I was deemed well enough to do wiotout a psychiatrist.  Only benefit of that was that I was taken off the DVLA medical register and have my ten year driving licence again. 

      I sympthise with you over the kids in front of your homw, you are right too, the language they use is apalling and genarl behaviour despicable. I was out last night and got called oafter by a gang of lads playing football.  Insults should run off me by now but it still hurts.

      Keep in touch

      Love 

      Lizzie

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    • Posted

      Unfortunately some parents don't think it is important to teach their children respect any more. But I feel sorry for them really, because when they are old and need help, they wont be getting any from their children because they have no respect for their parents. I didn't always like being brought up properly, it felt restrictive and I did rebel... but I am so glad those morals stuck. I just feel sad that my daughter has to grow up around some awful children. Thankfully a lot of parents still bring their kids up rather than drag them up but it is always the dragged up kids that shout the loudest and get in your way lol.
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    • Posted

      Its interesting that you talk about respect for your parents as I'm in the process of moving in with my mum (aged 91).  She has all her faculties and is fundamenatlly very well, I just want to spend her last years with her.  I love her so much as I've put her through a lot over the years and its my tureen to give soemthing back.  I'm an only child and my dad died in 87, I have two children who won't have anyhting to do with me so what the heck, my friend is veryt supportive so I'm moving in with her.  Fortunately she has a dcetached house in a quiet viallage so I'll be in clover.

      Love

      Lizzie xxx

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    • Posted

      Aww that sounds lovely!!! I am fortunate in that I live very close to my Grandmother, who I adore, so I get to see a lot of her. This time with your mum will be really special, I am so pleaase for you. smile
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    • Posted

      Hi Angel

      Just checking in and wondered how you were feeling today? I've been thinking of you. 

      Lizzie xxx

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    • Posted

      Hello darling, sorry for such a late reply! Things have been rather manic. Thank you for thinking of me. Mentally I am rubbish to be honest but I will get there! I am going away for three days with my dad and my daughter next week which will cheer me right up smile At least it is something to really look forward to.

      How are you doing? xx

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