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