How, I sometimes wonder, did I ever end up here? I grew up on a
council estate in a house with extra thick walls, surrounded by
drug addicts, criminals and alcoholics. Other people’s loud noises
played a big part in my life, as did their ability to hear, see and
know everything I did. I developed the most amazing ability to go
to the toilet silently, as the ceramic bowl echoed and the
neighbours on both sides would hammer on the wall.
I was picked on viciously at school because I was the quiet one
who wore unfashionable clothes and I wasn’t expected to succeed
because I was poor. However, I graduated… to psychiatric
hospital. At 18 I was labelled as a depressive.
As a “newbie”, I was shoved on to a stinky adult ward with seven
other much older, obviously more experienced, bodies. My tummy was
filled with nauseating, scary drugs. I was expected to cope and to
act normal just to get out of there.
After I came out I ended up in a council flat all of my own.
After another “useful” hospital admission, and on my return to the
property, I’d shout – to myself: “Hello all you lovely intelligent
people, I’m back! I can’t wait to have my windows smashed, my tyres
let down, be sworn at by my fellow council tenants. I also can’t
wait to be reminded of what a wonderfully significant person I am
by all you highly unfortunate people who live in large, posh
I love people from council estates; of course, my view is
possibly warped and tainted. I sit in my flat with the curtains
closed, unable to tolerate the noise outside, where little darlings
jump on cars as their parents stand by and watch. Dozens of dogs
bark silently and doors and iron gates close ever so gently.
Living here is so enjoyable that, naturally, my health has
thrived. The doctors are so understanding about it – they believe
every word I tell them about the wonderful estate I live in.
They say it must be so much fun not being able to open my
curtains; not being able to hear the TV because of the music being
played full blast next door; having my neighbours greet me with a
friendly “what you f****** looking at b****?” They think it’s all a
psychotic delusion but they should try living here. It is far from
For me noise equals pain and earplugs keep me sane. I am tempted
to buy shares in an earplug company, or ask my baseball-capped
neighbour to make a contribution.
Would you believe such an inexpensively, simple idea as a pair
of earplugs have helped me regain my sanity? I do everything from
have a shower to cook the tea with my plugs in. Who needs a house
in the country, when you can have the same effect for the price of
a pair of earplugs.