Saved by my Earplugs

    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
    private houses.”

    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.
    Not.

    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
    delightful bliss.

    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.

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