Tuesday, 7 October 2014

My Week From Hell!

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What a week I had last week!! 

Where to start? Let's start on a positive note. The terrible week that I have had will make for a good blog.  If that's not bright side thinking I don't know what is! 

Sunday (last) wasn't a terrible day. Usual Sunday activities included staying in my pjs all day and doing not very much of anything I did manage to get my Time to Change blog finished though! 

I was watching a movie from my childhood when I noticed the time, it was past midnight. I wasn't surprised by this. It's a rare event that I'm asleep before midnight anyway. 






I continued to watch films and by 4am I was starting to feel irritable I was tired but not the type of tired that leads to sleep. 


My thoughts had started to turn dark which meant any possibility of sleep had long since vanished!  I tried my usual things; lying in the room with the lights off, playing soft music, having some camomile and lavender tea, reading... Nothing was working. I don't like to take any variety of medication, much less anything that may induce a sleep-like state (because, let's face it, no one REALLY gets a good nights sleep after taking a pill...) so herbal remedies are welcomed with open arms. 


When I first purchased the lavender and camomile tea, I did so for 2 reasons. Firstly, the box was purple! I know, who does that?! Secondly, in wonderfully decadent quilled paper writing, the box proclaimed "SLEEP". 




I'm a rather big fan of tea. Most varieties. My cupboard is hugely stocked with tea of many varieties. I have simple chamomile tea which is rumoured to encourage calmness and help enable sleep but my insomnia just laughs in the face of the delicious chamomile flower! 


Lavender is not only a wonderful colour but also a glorious scent. I figured if it looked good and smelled good, surely it would taste good too? It did!  


For the first few nights I would have a nice steaming cup of this herbal blend, lie back and hope. Seemingly, it worked. I was overjoyed! For almost a week I slept soundly! Now, being of a scientific mind, I couldn't help but wonder; did the tea actually work or was it because I believed it worked? 


Psychology has a lot to answer for when it comes to this sort of thing. I didn't spend too long thinking about the reasons behind my sleep, I just wanted to enjoy it. However, it was not meant to be! That night, per my new found routine, I switched off my computer, made myself a nice hot mug of tea, laid back in my bed and closed my eyes. Any minute sleep would come and snatch me away... Any minute... It wasn't to be! 




Had I cursed myself?  Had I activated some subconscious part of my brain that knew the tea was a ploy? Suddenly I found myself thinking about the placebo effect. I started to recall all the types of medicine that had little to no effect on me. Then I started to consider my newly diagnosed hyper mobility syndrome and my apparent immunity to anaesthesia. Then I noticed my back hurt and I cursed my HMS! Before I knew it, it was 4am and I was still wide awake! Anyway, I digress! 



It was coming up to 4am and I decided to finish my ALS Ice Bucket Challenge blog. Whilst writing, I could hear strange noises outside. I got up to take a look what was going on and there was a small group of individuals seemingly singing/chanting... AT 4AM! 



I figured it wasn't worth doing/saying anything to them as I didn't know if they were dangerous! You can never be too safe right?! Instead I went online to find out if there was anyone I could report them to. I found a number, called them and yep, you guessed it, they couldn't do anything! Typical! 


Instead I continued with my blog which I finished at 6:45am, that felt good. The sleepiness had all but vanished now and I decided I ought to be productive. I plugged my blog and got a lot of positive feedback which is always good! 


By 7:45 I'd given up on the idea of sleep and decided to get some stuff done. I was happy a package arrived in the afternoon which is part of my nieces' and nephews' Christmas presents (Yes I'm ashamed at buying Christmas things so early!!). 


I continued to do some admin and run errands as well as adding a new page to my blog. I also had to accompany my cousin to the vet and then we went for a quick beer down at the local before heading back home. By the evening I was feeling suitably sleepy. I finished the last of my admin work and settled down to watch some TV. It was 8:30pm. I knew it was too early to go to sleep as I would just wake up monstrously early the following day. I tried to keep an eye on the time though as I had to go to do some course thing on the Tuesday at 10am! The clock rolled round to 1:30am and I decided to turn off the show I was watching and settle off to sleep. I'd had some of my tea so I was feeling hopeful. Before I realised, it was 4am and I could hear the familiar sounds of people "praising Jesus". I felt angry. Beyond angry, I was practically incandescent with rage!  I looked out of the window and there were around 10/15 of them. All stood in a circle, singing and chanting.






After another sleepless night, I decided there was no way I could attend the course I was supposed to do. I then contacted the local council noise complaint department. They told me  that as it was not within a dwelling, it was a police matter and I was to simply dial 999. Can you imagine that?! I call 999 and just say "Help, there's a bunch of people on the corner of my street singing..." That's a sure fire way to get a one way ticket to the loony bin! 

I was about to call the "less urgent" 101 number when my mobile rang. It was the lady I'd just spoken to at the Council. She asked if I'd read the Croydon Advertiser. I make it a habit not to do so. However, she told me I ought to take a look as there was a report of a group of people performing exorcisms... ON CHILDREN! I shit you not! Take a look at the article! You can't make that shit up!! This actually jolted a memory from earlier in the week when I'd noticed an advert outside a shop mentioning Croydon Exorcists and children that piqued my interest then I immediately forgot about!

So of course, now I was absolutely going to contact the police as not only was this unacceptable, it was a bit scary! 


Admittedly when I first called, I was rather angry. It wasn't the operator I was angry at but she didn't help matters by asking "well, why haven't you called us before?". Who would think that such a thing was a police matter? I'd have said council for sure! 

Anyway, the operator took my details and later that day an officer called me to take further information. I tried as calmly as possible to explain how my psychological issues have been exacerbated by 2 days of no sleep and I didn't know what I might do if they were there again. I was worried for my own safety and the safety of the individuals in question. I was very shaky and as well as not sleeping I'd not really eaten much. The officer who called me actually seemed to care. He asked me if I'd been to the doctors and if I needed any further assistance. I explained to him how difficult it was to actually get an appointment at my GP and assured him that if things got worse for me I would seek assistance.

Later that afternoon two police officers came round to my house to speak with me. They informed me that it was noting to be alarmed about. Alarmed? Who said I was alarmed. As I said to the officer, I couldn't care what they were doing, they can be performing ritualistic sacrifices for all I care, I just don't want it happening outside my house at 4am! The officers informed me that they would be sending someone out between 4 and 5am to move them on if they were there again. They then informed me that this had been going on all around the borough and the group said they would be done in a month. A MONTH! Once again, they told me it was nothing to be alarmed about and with that they left. I can tell you now, I've never had a decent dealing with the law. I've never personally been in trouble with the law however when I've required assistance I've found them to be utterly useless. Not just in London.


From what I understand, these individuals were NOT breaking the law! I find that difficult to believe. I'm pretty certain it's a breach of the peace! Had there been teenagers on the corner of my street at the same hour, you can be assured that they would have been immediately arrested and slapped with an ASBO. I imagine because these individuals were of a religious persuasion, the police decided to do nothing as they didn't want to cause an issue. I'm just guessing here of course. Who knows what logic was applied! 

I have no issue with people practising their religious beliefs. If that makes them happy, that's wonderful. What I do have an issue with is the effect that this has on my sleep! Being an insomniac, I get around 4/5 hours of sleep a night. This is not good quality sleep but it is sleep all the same. 4 hours is the ABSOLUTE minimum I can cope with so you can imagine how I was feeling after 48 hours on 4 hours sleep!

Tuesday night I must have just passed out from sheer exhaustion. I don't remember consciously going to sleep.

On Wednesday, I had a friend coming round in the morning then I was going out to meet another friend in the afternoon. It was nice to be able to be social for a change. I thought I was starting to get cabin fever! 


The morning visit went rather well aside from being greeted by an obnoxious looking For Sale sign outside my house which really annoyed me! It was time to head into London to meet my friend, D at St Pancras station. I was so happy to be seeing her. We don't see each other much. When I found her, we headed straight over to the pub for a drink and a catch up. It was so nice! She then asked if I would come to Gatwick Airport with her as she was meeting someone there and she was nervous, both about travelling across London and about seeing someone she hadn't seen in a long time. 

Ordinarily, there is a direct train from St Pancras to Gatwick Airport. However, owing to "overhanging cables" we were unable to go very far. The train was delayed initially coming into St Pancras but there was a very amusing station announcer called James who made everyone laugh with his comments about wishing he could help us all get home sooner and how terrible he felt that we were all being delayed. We had to try and find another route to Gatwick and someone told us we could go via London Bridge. We tried to go that way but were thwarted once again by delays and cancellations! 

"Welcome to London" I told D! I decided we'd be best off going to Victoria and getting a direct train from there. Seems I was wrong! The Gatwick Express was running just fine but all the other Gatwick trains were delayed for upwards of an hour! It had already taken us over two hours. I spoke to the station staff and they told me I could take the Express train. However, the Gatwick Express staff had other ideas! They were refusing to allow us to board. We weren't the only people irritated by this. Had we been going to catch a flight, we would have missed it! (Although I think I'd have more sense than to use public transport to travel to the airport unless I gave myself an extra two hours on top of the extra time required to check in! I'd also probably check in online!) 

After much to-ing and fro-ing I'd had enough, if someone wasn't going to let me through the gate I would simply take matters into my own hands! One of the staff members had informed me the supervisor had been contacted and was on his way. After another 30 minutes of waiting I asked him if he could contact the supervisor again. He responded in a very rude tone that he was "on his way so just wait"! That was it, I wasn't going to stand around and be spoken to like a piece of shit! 

I simply walked around to the wide gates. If someone was going to stop me, they'd have had a hard job. D was hot on my heels and from what I could tell, so were the other 10 or so annoyed passengers who were also fed up of being treated like second class citizens! I showed my ticket to the gent at the barrier and gave him my best "Don't even DARE try and fucking stop me" stare. It worked! We boarded the Gatwick Express and were on our way! 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of these self-important arseholes who feels she is deserving of things but after being delayed for over 3 hours in total and shoved from pillar to post whilst the Express train was leaving with more than enough space for excess passengers, I felt I was well within my rights! 

D and I arrived at the airport and checked into the hotel that she would be staying in that night. It was "trendy" I guess, if you like that sort of thing.  Once she'd readied herself, we headed off to Crawley where we were to meet her friend. (This was annoying as we could quite easily have got a train closer rather than spending an extra £17 in a taxi but he was rather sketchy with the details and I don't know the area so well!)

We arrived at the pub and football was playing. I am a Liverpool fan, I have been ever since I can remember. However, I hadn't watched a game in such a long time as it was something I used to do with my ex. However, having the Liverpool game in the background was preferable to having West Ham, or whatever the other team was, in the background. The area we originally sat in was occupied by some gents who were heavily engrossed in the West Ham V Whoever game. They struck up conversation with us but I didn't feel like talking to them. Especially since they were being rather aggressive when I mentioned I was a Liverpool supporter! I asked D if we could move to the other side where the Liverpool game was being shown and she obliged. The move was met with jeers and taunts from the other guys but I just ignored them. I was still tired and very cranky from 3 days of little to no sleep! 


Besides, when we relocated, I found some plug sockets to charge my phone! We had a drink and waited for D's friend to arrive. She spent quite some time telling me how much of a nice guy he was. I took her at her word. 


What follows is a super condensed version of events!! 

When he arrived, he seemed polite and well dressed. He introduced himself and conversations began. I tried to blend into a corner for a bit to allow D and him to catch up. Before I even realised what was happening, I was being drawn into a conversation about race and racism. "We're all born to be racists..." he informed me. I was absolutely aghast! I was certain he was joking so I replied with "Oh you're not one of these UKIP or Britain First supporters are you?" I was expecting him to laugh and say "Of course not, I'm pulling your leg!" However he replied with "Well, yes, since I can no longer support the BNP I support UKIP." He was very matter of fact about this. 

I figured it would be ok, I could just make a few neutral comments and not get drawn into anything. If there are three things I don't like to discuss (especially with complete strangers) it's football, religion and politics. These three topics ALWAYS descend into arguments. 


He was making sweeping generalisations that sounded like they were read from the now defunct News of the World. Ridiculous statements with no backup whatsoever. I said in the politest way "We've reached an impasse now, let's leave it at that." To which he retorted "Yeah you know I'm fuckin' right that's why you won't say anything." 

I allowed him to hold that opinion. I realised I was backed into a corner and he was a mob with a pitchfork! Instead I decided to go out and call a friend of mine, J, who is my voice of reason and has been for some months. I must have been on the phone to him for a good hour. I was yelling a lot and pacing the car park like a caged animal. Thankfully he calmed me down enough to walk back into the bear pit. Unfortunately, that was not the end of it. D's friend continued to prod at me with his idiotic ideas of "right and wrong" telling me how important racism is blah blah blah... It got to a point where I simply switched off! Then some friends of his came to join us. I thought there was some salvation. How wrong I was! 

I've met a lot of terrible people in my 29 years but I have never met anyone so bigoted or single minded as this guy and his friends. I'd had enough and it seems D sensed this. I told her I was going to head home rather than accompany her and her friend to the hotel. (Who want's to play the third wheel anyway?!) 

We got a cab to the nearest station and the other friend and I went to get our trains but not before D's friend hurled some sort of insult at me, calling me a scrounger or something.

I thought I could hold a conversation with the other friend until the train arrived. Oh how wrong I was! He started telling me all these things that were wrong with me and finished by telling me I was completely psychotic! I was stunned. Too stunned to even say no when he asked if I would wait for him until his train arrived...! 

Once he boarded his train, I went to the other platform to catch my own train. I was trying to analyse the evening. Was I psychotic? Was I completely wrong? Did I think I was better than these people...? I think yes was the answer to the last question but I'd never directly say such a thing. 

Tiredness, emotions and disbelief washed over me in huge thick waves. I boarded my train and when I sat down I started to cry. Not just ordinary crying, huge great body shaking sobs, there may have even been some wails. I think I may have been alone in my carriage but I didn't care! 

I couldn't control myself. I cried all the way to my station and then cried some more on the train home. I must have got home around 1am. Completely emotionally and physically drained. I'd stopped crying by this point. I was simply numb. I messaged my cousin to let him know I'd arrived home and I just slumped to the floor outside my house. I wasn't crying any more. I was just staring. My cousin came out of the house and sat outside with me. 

My cousin is another voice of reason. However, he leans too far in the opposite direction to J. He has a very clean, logical way of dealing with things. He doesn't "do" emotions. I'd reached the edge. I couldn't go on. I talked about giving it all up. Going back home with my tail between my legs. Facing defeat. My cousin told me I was just being silly and that I'd feel better by the morning. He was probably right but it wasn't enough! Then some drunken idiot came and sat with us on the floor.  Ordinarily, I would simply ignore him or walk away but I'd already completely lost my shit. He then touched me. He put his hand on my leg. I yelled at him to get his hand off me and after trying to force a friendship he got up and left. 

After he left, I noticed again the gaudy green For Sale sign outside my house. I felt as though it was taunting me! I walked over to it and kicked it free from the cable ties that were so delicately holding it to the gate post and launched it across the street. That's right, I took my anger out on an inanimate object. Ordinarily I would be punching walls, punching people, smashing things up or cutting myself so I took this as a good sign! (Excuse the pun!)

I got inside and my cousin said he was going to order food. It was at this point I realised I'd eaten absolutely nothing all day! I added my food to the order and went upstairs where I promptly passed out. Whether it was from sheer exhaustion, hunger, alcohol consumption or a combination of all three I can't be sure but I slept reasonably well, given the circumstances at least.


I woke up on Thursday with a pounding headache and the knowledge that I had to attend the job centre at 3pm! This is quite possibly one of my least favourite things to do for reasons I will discuss in another blog very soon. I realised I hadn't actually added any job searches to my Universal Jobmatch profile but I had applied for jobs so I figured I would be fine. 


My advisor was usually quite relaxed and pleasant so I just scribbled down the jobs I'd looked at and the interviews I'd arranged and figured I'd be fine. Unfortunately, the "gods of happiness" still weren't working in my favour. My advisor was off sick and I had been lumbered with someone else. I explained to her how I'd had a week from hell resulting in a near-breakdown and I simply didn't get round to updating the site.  Her response was this; "Do you think it's ok that you haven't bothered to complete one little task? Do you think an employer would care if you hadn't slept much in a week? Would that be a valid excuse to not do your job..." I couldn't believe what I was hearing! Was she really saying this?! Then I heard the words that no unemployed individual wants to hear "... I'm going to have to place a sanction on your benefits...!" This meant no money. I got little enough as it was. I could feel myself getting angry. I held on to my cup of tea quite tightly, feeling the hot liquid scalding my hand as it escaped from the lid. It would be foolish to argue I told myself as she tapped away at the computer. 

Suddenly, she looked a little deflated then she looked straight at me and said "You're lucky your signing day was last week..." LUCKY? Was she fucking kidding right now?! She then nodded that it was ok for me to leave. I got up from my seat and walked out of the Job Centre in some sort of fugue state. I don't actually remember leaving the building but the next thing I realised I was sat on a wall outside angrily smoking and muttering to myself "Fucking lucky? She doesn't know the meaning of the damn fucking word!" 


I don't actually remember the rest of what happened after leaving the job centre. I know I went to a few shops and bought some stuff, I also picked up food for my housemates but beyond that, nothing! 

I do recall sitting on the bus, however, listening to my music as is often the case and Gerry & the Pacemakers - You'll Never Walk Alone came on.  This is one of those songs that I have on my iPhone but I never actually listen to. As a kid, this song used to upset my mum so by default it upsets me too. This time though, I listened to the whole song. Not a single tear escaped. I had a sudden moment of clarity like nothing I've ever experienced.  That song was finally speaking to me. I have some pretty spectacular friends and I have been walking through a storm lately but I've not had to do it alone. 


Interestingly, I am now playing this song and I have the same chills I always get and the tears are free falling! 

I slept seemingly well on Thursday. I don't actually remember if I'm honest! However, I did wake Friday with a spring in my step as I was going to visit some wonderful friends! Also, I'd posted a poem of mine to Tumblr and got more than 150 notes over night. That made me very happy too. 

Friday was a wonderfully busy day, I spent most of it chasing around twin two year olds with lots of giggling and laughing. Friday night was even better! It was the opening night of a friend's new cabaret show. There were lots of people there who I knew and lots of networking for me to do. I also made a new friend!  Unfortunately, I didn't get to sleep until 5 the following morning and had to be up at 8 for an interview but I was happier than a pig in poop.  

The interview went very well. I'm relieved given that I'd reached the point of mania and developed uncontrollable giggles 20 minutes beforehand. After the interview, my weekend was pretty much about kicking back and wiping the dirt from the week prior off myself!

It's funny isn't it that I can write so well about all the bad stuff that happened and I seem to simply gloss over the good things. That's not my intention, it's just I've been at this for hours now and my brain is frazzled plus my hands are killing from so much typing! Also, I have to prepare for round two of this interview! 

It's difficult for me to write about positive things if I'm honest without it coming off as sappy and downright disgusting. One thing I will say though, I have some amazing friends and they will have their own blog shortly! 

The take home message from this blog is that no matter how shitty life may seem, there is always a silver lining if you look hard enough. 



Keep Smiling :): 










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