I started this blog a couple of weeks ago, then abandoned it as rambling and over-dramatic. I am in a better mood now, though I know that won’t last.
In early 2020 the house next to ours was bought by a young couple. It had been very neglected for years, and they got it at a bargain price. We knew there would be noise and disruption, but looked forward to being rid of the eyesore, not to mention the possible increase in value it could bring to our own Victorian terrace.
They are a lovely couple, both hospital doctors who slogged away on the wards throughout the worst of the pandemic. The planned building work was obviously put on hold, and they effectively camped out in there for months.
Early this year work began in earnest. The place has been gutted, taken back to brick, floors removed with what sound like pneumatic drills, everything ripped out and replaced. Some work continues well into the evening if they are on late shifts. The pair had to move out for a month or so, and I so wished I could do the same, as my house vibrated from the machinery pounding on the other side of the wall.
Two weeks ago we had the heatwave, I don’t cope well with heat and humidity. My dogs are affected too. I got up after a sleepless night, giddiness heralding a migraine. Spock took the dogs for a quick walk, and I tidied up, had a cool shower and took Ibuprofen. The plan was to lie down and try to grab some sleep. Then it started. Shouting and singing outside. I looked out and my heart sank as a team of scaffolders arrived. After a few days without workmen we hoped for a break.
I tried the rear bedroom, but the window fitters were ripping out the ground floor windows, music blasting. They were lovely jokey men, like all the workmen they have employed. Everyone apologises for the racket, boxes of chocolates get left for us. No one is to blame, the work has to be done.
Later in the morning a tradesman arrived on the other side of us, installing decking and talking loudly on his mobile. I set off for a walk in the burning midday sun, struggling to stay upright as the migraine took hold. The rest of the week was a repeat of that day.
I had not been depressed or excessively anxious before this, but as the days wore on my mood sank. I felt so angry, desperate and tearful, but I knew it was no one’s fault. Therefore the fault must lie within me-right?
I once did a test, aimed at so-called extra sensitive people. I was not surprised that I scored very highly. I also felt a bit embarrassed. It sounds so narcissistic doesn’t it? It’s like saying the majority of the population are lumpen turnips, and we are a rather special elite. The fact is we all have to make some noise, and the resultant misery it causes me is just unfortunate. Likewise for every person I met who was suffering in the heatwave, there were many more who felt on top form.
As I said, I feel better now, but it won’t last. Among the list of jobs to be completed in the weeks ahead is the demolition of an ugly extension, building a conservatory, garden landscaping and tree felling. I am filled with dread. I also feel so sorry for the people on the other side of them. She is a fellow migraineur, last year she developed epileptic seizures. Like us, they like the young couple and admire them for taking on such a challenge, but tolerance wears thin after a time.
I tell myself I am blessed to live in a quiet part of a peaceful town. There are many for whom loud daily noise is unavoidable, and I wonder if there are higher rates of mental illness and stress in such areas.
How about you, can your mood be thrown out of kilter by external factors like the temperature and noise? I once knew a woman whose mood could plummet due to certain smells or tastes, but was otherwise stable and happy. Today is peaceful and coolish, so I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.
A Moodscope member.