Tag Archives: anxiety

The Students

You will all be very aware of my anxieties. I’ve blogged about them many times before.  My fears, my OCD’s, my panic attacks and my palpitations.

I’m very aware of them and I know the triggers, so I do what I can to prevent them or when in full swing, chat to myself to calm myself down.

So you can imagine my delight when I found out that next door was being rented out to STUDENTS!!

I’ve had untold issues with the people on the other side of me. They are very noisy anyway, playing Pink Floyd loudly and having lots of late night visitors chatting away in their garden just 2 metres from my bedroom window.  Their teenage daughters (Students themselves) have been having parties until 4am when their parent’s are away, often without giving us notice, like we’ve asked politely on sooooo many occasions.  This year was the quietest year since we’ve been here. Only one impromptu party that we weren’t told about, which resulted in us cancelling Easter Sunday at my dad’s house because we were both too tired to hit the M25 safely.

I’ve been counting down the years until their annoying daughters finally hit the road and fend for themselves, but knew I had at least 2 years left.  As they are students they are now away at university, so with the new university year, this is the time I heave a sigh of relief and get on with things without fear of being disturbed day or night.

Not anymore.

I popped over yesterday to introduce myself to the 3 new girls that had moved in next door (attached to our house).  We had been told by our landlord they were student nurses, but they aren’t. Two are studying teaching and one is studying Psychology.  I’m not happy to say the least.  The girls were VERY polite, they looked like really good girls, brought up well, but they definitely had the sparkle in their eyes that indicated that this was the FIRST time they had ever “played house” and just answering their front door had been pretty exciting.  I gave them some eggs from our chickens, asked them how they were settling in and asked that if they are going to have parties, which I don’t mind (that bit was a lie, I do mind, but I can’t tell people that they can’t have parties), then could they give us notice of it.  I told them we have 2 young children that will get up early everyday and that we work.  Both girls nodded and said they were talking about whether they thought they’d ever have a party. They didn’t think they would.  Yeah right!

Anyway, they gave a parting shot about the possibility of babysitting (a silver lining) and I waved to them as I left.

Immediately after meeting them, I felt ok.  I liked them. They’d be good.  However as soon as I got to bed and could hear one of them in the bedroom next door rummaging through her wardrobe which sits against our wall (she is moving in, I do understand why), all sorts of fears starting creeping in.  When it comes to sleeping and my insomnia and my busy mind, night-time really is a rubbish time for me to consolidate my thoughts.

Within an hour, my palpitations were back and I was really quite worried about how this is all going to turn out.  On my walk to school this morning I was turning everything over again.  Worrying about all the possible scenarios.  I do realise that it is not helpful to do that.  No idea how to stop.

So, some of my coping mechanisms are:

  • Start working on that CV, get a job and move – what better incentive
  • If they are really really bad, we can complain to the landlord and the agency. Both of whom we know.
  • We think they are 2nd year students (don’t they have to go into halls of residence 1st year?) so that’s just 2 years until they shove off.
  • Maybe they won’t be terrible and be really hard-working students. (grasping at straws)

Anyone got any good tactics to make me feel better about this?  I’m working myself up into a frenzy.



I need silence.  I’ve always craved it and now I need it more than ever.

Whilst I blog I need quiet.  Interestingly I’m ok at work, the mumbling of voices around me don’t seem to bother me, but my own children playing or the sound of a radio…….eurghhh. Turn it off please.ear defenders

I’ve no idea where my need for quiet comes from.  I hear of students who study with the radio on and I think that’s weird.  I find sound muddles the air.  It create confusion.  When I need to think, I need a clean, clear ambience around me.  Like a lake without a ripple or a crisp winters morning.

At night, my sound tolerance is even worse.  My neighbours (the bane of my life) are very noisy.  The man can’t speak normally, he booms when he talks like a foghorn of annoyance.  The parties are one thing and my anxiety takes a battering over those, but even when they sit on their back patio at 11pm chatting with a glass of wine it takes all my strength not to run downstairs and scream “shut up” at them over the fence.  Although I did do that once, a few years back, but it was a group of teenagers out there, loudly chatting at midnight on a Wednesday.  Little shits.

I’ve taken to checking on them from The Monster’s bedroom.  In the dark I can gauge the level of chat. If they are there when I go to bed, I use wax earplugs. Not ideal with 2 children to listen out for, but so far I’ve heard the children when they’ve called out.  The earplugs aren’t perfect, but they drown that low-level murmuring, dull the occasional high pitch laugh and therefore allow me to drift to sleep.  Often the sound of my blood rushing around my head is amplified, but that’s a bit of white noise I don’t seem to mind that much.

Heaven forbid my husband comes in late or worse, that he has someone staying at ours.  Our room is at the top of the stairs, so every click, every scrape can be heard from my bed.  If I’m not yet in a deep sleep I will be woken up. If they then potter about downstairs I’m left upstairs waiting for them to go to bed because I know, once they are up the creak of the floor in the spare room and the click of the light in the bathroom will jolt me from that place between awake and asleep.  I will be annoyed.  That point of annoyance where you can’t blame anyone else but yourself.

It’s gutting really. I’m a cantankerous old woman about sound and it’s really starting to have an impact on my life.  It’s me, it is completely me but it’s hard for others not to feel that it’s them and I’m blaming them.

Hubby is probably the most silent, late night creeper there is, but he is still capable of waking me.  He feels terrible, but it’s not his fault.

I have a spare mattress under Pickle’s bed with a sheet on it and a rolled up ready-made duvet in her cupboard for late night speedy moves should a party start up next door.  I have my wax earplugs at the ready.  I suggested that my brother-in-law slept on the sofa downstairs (a bed he prefers anyway) the last time he visited and went out with my hubby.  They didn’t wake me.  They both used the downstairs bathroom. They didn’t wake me.

I can only do so much.  Oh for a life of peace and quiet. This is what I crave.

Anxiety and Age

A conversation was started on my Open University degree Facebook page yesterday about Anxiety. Someone was asking for advice on how to “fight it”. It struck a chord with me because although it’s taken a long time, one of the advantages of being in my 40’s is that I’ve had a lot of time to think about what makes me tick, and I know for a fact I suffer with anxiety and it’s impossible to “fight”.

I have no idea when I started being anxious. I know I was anxious around my mother especially if she was cleaning (which she hated doing it and would have a go at us for) and to this day, if my sister or I hear a vacuum cleaner we immediately tense up. Thankfully hubby is in charge of vacuuming.

I get anxious about being on time, which means I’ve never been fashionably late. Any attempt to BE late, still results in me arriving either on time or earlier than everyone else.

I need to play every conceivable scenario of a new situation in my head (often days in advance) so I can mitigate any concerns or risks I foresee. If the plan is to go one place and the plans change on the same day, I get a little panicked. I have to think everything through in great detail. I’m not a “fly by the seat of your pants” kinda girl.

I worry about my impact on other people. Not so much saying the wrong thing because like everybody, that happens a lot and I then get anxious thinking about what I had said for days later. I worry that my children will wake someone up, annoy a neighbour with noise. I don’t have parties at my house because I don’t want my guests to keep anyone awake (although my neighbours don’t seem to have the same concerns!) I even worry if we have anyone staying who smokes who might go out the back door after 11pm to have a ciggy and talk on their mobile phone.

I worry I can’t sleep, which then becomes an issue for getting to sleep.

I worry for my children’s safety, whilst being very aware I have to give them scope to make some mistakes themselves.

My biggest worry of all — that I will look back on my life and wish I’d done something differently. That I should have moved to Australia or followed a different route with my career. Or that I shouldn’t be living where I am in London and should move out and live in a village. Of course, the minute I do that then the anxiety arrives again and I worry that could be the wrong decision too. How do people up sticks and move and know it’s the right decision??

I used to have panic attacks. They happened in my 20’s completely unexpectedly in situations that shouldn’t have been anxious. It took quite a long time to realise that’s what I was having, but once I did, I took back control and talked myself down from them. I had a few last year, not long after my son was born. Just saying out loud “Oh dear, I’m having a panic attack” makes the symptoms start to recede. I don’t give myself a hard time. I take time to let it pass and then have a think about what might have triggered it so I can address it. Easier said than done, but I can only do my best.

I sound like a nightmare, but to be honest, as I mentioned when I replied to the lady on the Facebook page, half the battle is recognising that you are anxious. I can’t change 40 years of conditioning easily (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help a bit apparently) and I am the product of my genes, my upbringing and my environment. What I can do is acknowledge my short comings, do my best to understand myself and put in place things that can help me be prepared for situations. For example: I have very social neighbours with 2 teenage daughter and all 4 of them like to have friends over for bbq’s and parties. My bedroom is at the back of the house, so even 2 people in their garden talking and I have a big problem falling asleep, so a full on party is a nightmare. I’ve talked to them (several times) about giving us notice. They have told us about 1 party and I’ve been able to stay with family elsewhere or make arrangements. They don’t always tell us, because presumably they don’t always know that a gathering will roll on pass 11pm. So as a result, I dread Summer. Whilst everyone else is wishing for sunny days and clear nights, I’m praying for rain so I don’t have to deal with a party next door. That’s pretty sad right? This year I took the bull by the horns. I ordered a single mattress that will fit under my daughter’s bed (she sleeps at the front of the house), new pillows, a single duvet (thick enough that I will be happy using it) and new sheets and covers. I’ve made it all up, duvet is covered and rolled in her wardrobe. I think I can get it all out and be lying on it in about 2 minutes. This has meant I am less worried. I have a safety net and that has gone a long way to making me less anxious.

Whether we get more anxious with age I think is more complicated. I get more anxious flying and worrying about my children as I get older which I do think is related to age. However, other things that used to cause me a great deal of anxiety like driving has lessened as I have gained experience and confidence.

Am I alone with my anxiety? I have no idea. The thread on my Facebook page suggests I’m not but I’d love to hear from you if you suffer from anxiety and what you do to keep yourself in check. It’d be nice to know I’m not completely bonkers. :)