I used to have a recurring nightmare that went something like this: I returned home from work to find a raucous party going on in my house that I hadn’t been told about or given permission for. Sometimes the party-givers were housemates, more often they were friends/neighbours/random strangers who had let themselves in while I was out.
The party was never in my honour, it was just a party and everyone but me was having a great time. The attendees were utterly unresponsive to my increasingly furious demands that they fuck off out of my house and leave me in peace. Eventually I’d wake up with my heart pounding and rage coursing through my veins.
I talked it over with my therapist a few times – powerlessness, control issues, feeling marginalised blah blah – but every so often, like the other bad dreams in my repertoire, it would resurface. In the end I stopped trying to analyse it – I’d just shrug and think “Oh that one again”. If it seemed to relate to anything obvious I’d do what I could to change what had triggered it, otherwise I let it go.
I realised recently that since my new neighbours moved in I haven’t had the dream. It’s fucking reality now. Other people are controlling the environment I live in. I can’t EVER choose to sit quietly in my home reading a book, eating a meal, writing (baby is crying as I type) or anything unless my neighbours are out. If they are in I can hear them, and they aren’t out very much.
I have tried really hard over the last two years to adjust to their presence, but lately I’m finding it harder and harder to bear the almost constant background noise that I have no control over. (Someone had just started banging on something in addition to baby still crying). I’m an introvert with a chronic illness – I NEED quiet time.
(Pause to think where I’m going with this…)
(Toddler is now also howling – loudly and furiously).
I can feel my heart starting to pound. I think I’d better take a break, move to another room and set the fan going…