Archive for the ‘neighbour from hell’ Category

The policeman is your friend (unless you’re diagnosed mentally ill of course)

March 9, 2009

I’ve not had much contact with the police over the years. That’s more through luck than judgement if I’m honest, along with an ability to run fast when I was younger. As a child, the local bobby was a fatherly type man, who came to school and told us not to get into the car with the stranger. On the betamax video he showed us, the car was easily visible as it was flashing red. For years I thought that all the bad men had flashing red cars and I’d be safe as long as I avoided those. I’ve since grown up and learnt that bad men are usually to be found in nightclubs on over 25’s night, or perhaps that’s just sad men?

As a teen I did once trip over a police dog whilst protesting against the Poll Tax. Rather than being arrested I ended up sleeping with the dog’s trainer on his next shift off. Oh the joys of bpd inspired one night stands. Waking up next to someone who looks and smells a lot less appealing than they did after ten pints. Or in this case, halfs, as Mr Copper didn’t think women should be seen with pint glasses. It’s not feminine apparantly. I didn’t see him again.

Anyway, back to the point in hand. The policeman is your friend. I always thought that to be true. I grew up on a fairly middle class estate, where a visit from the police was tantamount to social suicide, and the Turkish family who moved onto the street were suspected to be terrorists because they had natural yoghurt delivered with their milk. I always thought that if someone committed a crime against me, one phone call would have them promptly arrested, charged and sent to prison, whilst I would be commended by a tearful Judge for my outstanding bravery in giving evidence in court!

Then 10 years ago I moved into my first council flat. Oh the joy to be given those keys. The knowledge that in one quick move I had disappointed my father (who still had a lingering hope I would get my head together and become the next Poet Laureate or Nobel Prize winner), annoyed the hell out of my Tory brother by paying a subsidised rent whilst he worked 24/7 to pay his mortgage , and finally got out of the horrors of shared accommodation (myself and 4 aussie men, all of whom I’d slept with at one point over the years). I’d only been on the waiting list for 5 months. There must be a catch surely? Oh yeah.

Meet bad neighbour number one. A scrawny, ponytailed, jobless lout who spent his days playing Emimem on his stereo and having his friends round to get stoned. Obviously his days weren’t fun filled enough because within weeks of my moving in he realised the lone female in the flat below him was easy prey. Cue two years of harrassment in the form of death threats, vandalism, loud music and eggs. Yes, eggs. Remarkably difficult to scrape off the front door. I gave up in the end and just revarnished it. It took two years for the police to arrest him. At first I put it down to the intricacies of the law and the lack of evidence. It was my word against his as none of the neighbours were brave enough to give statements. Eventually he was arrested, and the discovery of a drugs factory in his flat helped add to the charges. Harrassment, Threats to kill and producing cannabis. I fully expected him to be sent down or at least evicted.

But then the police found out that I had a history of depression. Overnight my credibility was shot. The threats to kill charge was dropped with the excuse that I was ”too mentally unstable to give evidence in court”. The neighbour ended up with a fine and a years restraining order. I had to move home. That in itself was a battle, and only the threat of going to the press would make the council agree to a transfer. Ten years on and I still feel bitter. No one asked if I felt able to give evidence. No one suggested that I make use of the services of Victim Support, who would have helped me through the trial process. When I went to make a further statement at the station, there was a noticeable difference in the way I was treated. Sympathy and a promise to help became raised eyebrows and condescension. Officers became unreachable on the telephone to me. No one even saw fit to keep me up to date with the court appearances. I only found out the outcome when I opened my door to find the neighbour coming up the path with his belongings. He’d been forced to live with his father until the case was over. Once he pleaded guilty he was allowed to live above me again.

I try not to think about bad neighbour number one anymore. Shit happens after all, and he did cite depression as the reason for his anti social behaviour. I’ll take that with a very large pinch of salt if I’m honest. Anyway it’s in the past. I didn’t even realise it was ten years ago until I started to write this post. Another reminder of how I’ve drifted in recent years. However, I’m currently embroiled in the ongoing saga of Bad Neighbour Number 2. I’ve posted about him previously and did hope to have something more positive to report by now, (perhaps his sudden death from chronic nastiness) but nothing has changed as yet.

My local bobby is fantastic when it comes to giving out assurances. Unfortunately, actually visiting either myself or the neighbour seems to be beyond her capabilities. The estate I live on is fairly rough I suppose, but not quite a no go area yet. The local teens do like to play chase the community support officer on occasion, and my culdesac has become the in place to abandon the stolen car on a Saturday night, but other than that we’re a pretty friendly lot. Think ‘Shameless’ with a Yorkshire accent and no pub (shut down for frequent brawls on the street outside).

It seems that my local plod can only communicate via email at the moment. In other words, I send them frequent updates (as requested) on the notes my neighbour is still placing in his window. In return I get the occasional reply saying how shocking it is and how we must come down hard on him, but unfortunately we’re off shift for the next few days.

Perhaps I’m a little paranoid here, but I have a suspicion that my name has been run through the computer and the Mental alarm has gone off. Either that or my council estate manager has warned the police of my past problems. I nearly got evicted prior to hospitalisation after forgetting about things like paying rent or letting workmen in. As before, nothing I say seems to carry any weight anymore. It seems that this is regarded as a problem between two nutters and the police are happy to step back and take bets on who cracks first. I wonder if they would react in the same way if I lived on a middle class street or didn’t have a number for the crisis line stuck on my fridge. Yes ok, I should have taken that down before she came to take my statement.

So we’re in limbo at the moment. He puts up the notes. I write down a copy. His wife gives me dirty looks and I check that neither of them are out in the street before I leave the house. Dad thinks I should just ignore him and I know he might be right, but be fair, could you walk past that window and not read what rubbish he’d put there? My whole reason for going to the police was that he hassles my other neighbours who are elderly and good friends of mine. And as the weather gets warmer and we go back to sitting in the garden again, I know from experience that the situation will escalate again. He can’t stand to see us out there. But I still feel sorry for the guy. There’s something very wrong going on in that flat and, whilst I don’t fear him (I will not become like the general public and assume mental illness equates to violent sociopath), I do fear for the well being of his young daughter, who hasn’t been seen by anyone for weeks. But the more I complain the more I feel myself getting sucked into an obsession. He is starting to be the focus for all my low moods and angry feelings. The person I can blame for why I have trouble getting out of bed or doing the washing up. And that’s not right. Perhaps I need to step back from the situation, but I hate losing! But really that’s what I should do. I have enough to worry about at the moment.

An update on Dad. He was hospitalised for a few days last week, after his blood tests showed a low platelet count and he also had a temperature. He’s back home now but it did mean he couldn’t have his chemo, and will have to have a milder dose of it from now on. So it’s a knock back. His hair also started to fall out this week, which has really brought it home to me that he is frail. I’m trying to play the role of attentive daughter, and it does feel like an act, because cancer doesn’t delete all the crap from the past. Something which Jade Goody should also realise. But I think I’m doing a fairly good job of hiding how I feel from him. I limit the visits to a couple of hours which helps me to rein the feelings in. It’s bloody tiring though.

So that’s what’s going on with me right now. I’m coping ok, if drifting through the days without any real sense of purpose. I take my meds. I behave myself. The fact that I don’t feel like a real person most of the time is incidental. Tomorrow I will be interviewed by some doctors, after agreeing to take part in research into BPD and psychosis. A chance for me to feel listened to for once. I know I crave attention, but honestly, most days I only have the cat to talk to and he doesn’t like me very much. 

And lastly, a shout out to Fairy’s mum, who I understand likes to read this blog. Your daughter hassled me into posting again. Hope you enjoyed it lol xx

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Switchboards, Officialdom, Hangover and flatpack furniture

January 29, 2009

I drank far too much last night. I woke up this morning to find a trail of clothes in the hallway, a house stinking of sweet and sour sauce from my takeaway, and a grumpy cat wanting his dinner. It was a great night though and lovely to catch up with an old friend. We were celebrating my being discharged from the pdoc whom I saw for the final time yesterday. She’s happy for me to continue taking the meds and said I can ring for an appointment if I need to see her in the future.

Today I’d really like to go back to bed. Unfortunately Argos are delivering the results of my recent manic shopping spree, so I need to stay up until at least 6pm. I’ll bet they turn up at 5.59.pm. I’ve also lost my rag with the strange neighbour after he put yet another strange note in his window this morning. I’m ashamed to say that I called him a nutter, amongst other things. I’m going to blame that on the hangover though. Now I’m trying to get through to either the police or the council to update them on the situation. I keep being transferred through to a fax machine. I haven’t heard from them since I made the statement, despite being promised that they would keep me updated. Anyway, I thought I’d post  pics of some of the notes here to see what you think. Is he mad? Or just bad?

jopic1

jo3

Todays is apparantly an idea for a new type of board game. No photo for it as yet but this is what it says.

Game Show Time

Players: A victim
Conspirator
A policeman
Official

Components of Game
1) one council bin
2) three washing lines
3) A beware of the dog sign
4) the victim

Rules of Game

Place component on top of bin
Start
Form a circle around the bin and face inwards. Circle must contain equal numbers. Policeman and Official must face each other.

Are we ready?

Relatives must not face each other or the game is void. Now look down on the bin. Now look up at the person opposite only. Only the policeman and official can look at each other’s faces. Now look hard. What do you see.

Prize. An end to gossip and treachery against the victim.

 

Now I do understand the reference to the wheelie bin. We take turns to put everyones out for collection but don’t bother with his anymore so he has to put it out himself. However I wasn’t aware of a problem with washing lines, and no one has a beware of the dog sign.  I presume he has been visited recently by the police and estate officer, which is why they both get a mention. The relatives must mean his family. Perhaps he is also angry at them now?

I know the notes aren’t threatening but they do disturb me. After 8 years I know he’s not going to give up and I worry that things will escalate.

Ooh my flatpack shelves have arrived!

Feeling like I’ve let the side down.

January 20, 2009

As mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been having some problems with a neighbour. It’s my opinion that he suffers from some sort of psychiatric problem, perhaps paranoia or maybe the early onset of dementia as he’s in his seventies. After years of unsociable behaviour towards myself and other people on the street, he has taken to posting notes up in his window about us. The lastest talks about his struggle to deal with the conspirators.

So the upshot is that I have spoken to the police this weekend and they will be visiting him shortly with a view to getting him assessed under the mental health act. However, they doubt the CMHT will agree to assess him because a) he hasn’t been charged with anything yet, and b) he isn’t violent. So that leaves them with the options of either arresting him for harrassment and then sectioning him once he’s outside his house (it can’t be done on his property) or contacting social services because he has a young daughter living with him.

I feel like I’m betraying one of my own kind. However unpleasant he is, if he is mentally ill he is like me. And I would hate it if someone tried to have me assessed against my will. There’s a kind of them and us attitude between the mentally ill  community and officialdom, and I don’t like going over to the other side. Also, I have friends who have suffered at the hands of overly zealous social workers. Friends who have lost access to their children because in the past they have had a breakdown. If my neighbour has managed to get through life without being picked up by the CMHT so far, am I really doing him a favour now? Let’s face it, an assessment doesn’t automatically mean he will get help. It might just make him even angrier to us all.

The police were meant to keep me updated and should have rung me yesterday, but so far I’ve heard nothing. I’m wondering if they’ve looked me up on their system and realised that I’m also flagged up as mental. In which case, anything I’ve told them will be taken with a pinch of salt. They may not mean to be prejudice but you tend to see that look in their eyes as soon as you disclose it. In my last neighbour dispute I had to agree to drop some of the charges because I was deemed unfit to give evidence in court. So a man who threatened me on almost a daily basis for two years, received a years probation for harrassment rather than a prison sentence for threats to kill.  This latest dispute is nowhere near as bad, yet I wonder if my past experience is impacting on it. I’m coming out fighting this time, rather than being a victim. Perhaps as a result I am being too hard on him. Damn I wish I’d never had group therapy. Decisions were so much easier before that lol.

Dad gets his scan results today, so I’m rather on edge. Another reason why I’ve spoken to the police perhaps. I needed to transfer my anger onto someone else.

Today is a good day though. A new president in the USA. A black president no less. A president who doesn’t make me cringe and turn over every time he speaks. Hopefully the mood of optimism and change will reach over to the UK too. We certainly need it.

neighbour from hell

January 15, 2009

I’ve had a lousy day today. Something happened which brought out all my paranoid feelings. I absolutely hate being the centre of attention, but as of this morning my name is on show to everyone on the street.

I have a problem neighbour. When I moved into the flat 8 years ago I became aware of an ongoing dispute between him and the nice couple who live above me. Joe seems to suffer from some sort of paranoia himself. I like to think the best of people so I try not to just put it down to him being a nasty piece of work. He beleives some money was stolen from his flat and this has grown into a major hate campaign against my other neighbours, who are absolutely not to blame. Every few weeks he starts hassling them again. Making nasty comments as they walk past. Threatening to take them to court. For the first five years I kept out of it, despite him constantly telling me they were evil. Then I came across him hurling abuse at a widowed pensioner and I stepped in to help her. Since then I have been added to the list of conspirators.

Joe plagues the police with lengthy, increasingly paranoid letters. He writes to our neighbours warning them about us. He shouts to me that I am a fat cow. For the most part I can laugh it off, because it has never turned violent. The police and local authority are also fully aware that his accusations are groundless.

But now he has taken to putting handmade posters in his window. Last week it proclaimed that any trouble would be returned tenfold. Today it was addressed to me and said:

To ***

When you arrived here you were brainwashed by people so desperate to hide the truth from you at all costs. Ask them about their strange behaviour many years before you came. Or better still, ask me. You will not find the truth such a big joke for you.

Now this has totally freaked me out. I hate to think of all the passers by who have read it. What will they think of me? I dread to think what will appear next time. I’ve had to ring the police and add it to the lengthy list of his harrassment. That means the police are going to come and see me tomorrow, which is a huge problem in itself. I can’t answer the door to my flat. I am phobic about letting people inside, and have to prepare for it in advance. The flat is also a bit of a tip. So now I have to stay up most of the night to make sure it is clean and tidy.

Also, what’s the point of complaining? I’ve been in a similiar situation at a previous address. That did go to court, and the druggie who had terrorised me for two years, posting porn through my door, slashing my clothes on the washing line, shouting that he was going to stab me, got away with a years probation because I was deemed to be too mentally ill to testify. Now I’m scared that the police will look me up and dismiss me as a serial complainer. Or if they do proceed with charges, he might escalate his campaign. I live alone on the ground floor and feel very wary. I’m sat here now listening out for every noise. I know that he isn’t anywhere near as bad as the last one but it’s bringing it all back.  And I’m frustrated at the way he makes me feel. This is the absolute last thing I needed to deal with this week!

And yet, I still have sympathy for the man. He must be deeply troubled and I wish he would get help. I’m hoping that the police can make him get a psychiatric assessment. I don’t know if that is within their powers though.

I just want him to take the poster down. Right now I want to throw a brick through that bloody window.