All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…

SOC: The problem with poverty


As I’ve been having trouble writing lately, mainly because my stress levels have been so high, I’m experimenting with stream of consciousness writing as a way to overcome my current malaise. As such, this post was written as a Stream of Consciousness on Sunday 13 September 2015 between 10:15 – 10:33am. Apologies for any grammatical or spelling errors that occur throughout, they are part and parcel of stream of consciousness writing.

Ever since I returned from my (much-needed) holiday my neighbour has been exceedingly loud. If he’s not playing duff-duff music at extremely high volumes, he’s shaking the foundations of my unit with his bass heavy television sound system. It’s got so bad, and has such a dramatic effect on my mental health, that I can no longer be in my house. Every day for the last two weeks I have left my unit by 11am and haven’t returned until at least 7pm. Throughout that eight-hour block of time I do nothing. I just sit in a park, or camp out on a bench, and wait aimlessly for time to pass. It’s frustrating. It’s infuriating. It’s a permanent reminder of my homelessness. For during that long five-year period all I did was sit around, waiting for time to tick on.

The whole situation has been a massive blow to my wellbeing. My stress levels, from being forced out of my house, have been exponentially high. My boredom, from being forced to sit on a bench and do nothing, has been off the charts. My anxiety, from being forced to be around other people when all I want to do is hide away, has elevated to a whole new level. To say I am unhappy would be an understatement. For the last three weeks I have been miserable, positively saturnine. All I want to do is be able to relax within my own house, but my neighbour, and his ‘to hell with the rest of the world’ mentality, is making that impossible.

And it’s making life unbearable. Last week, I ruminated on my hatred of Wodonga and how I believe my mental health will never get better as long as I live in this suffocating, gloomy little town. And my neighbour isn’t helping. Is it too much to expect a modicum of serenity within my own walls? Is it really necessary to deafen your neighbours day-in day-out? Sure, every now and then would be okay, but a constant stream of noise with bass so loud it (literally) shakes the walls of my unit? How is this acceptable? How is this decent?

Perhaps I’m being too sensitive. Perhaps I’m being a little finicky. But when my stress levels are so high that I feel a heart attack will shortly befall me; something has to be done. I want – nay, need – to move away. To leave this rotten town behind me and start afresh somewhere more inspiring, somewhere that speaks to my soul and doesn’t drive me into a suicidal stupor every two minutes. I need things around to entertain me; to inspire me; to speak to my soul and enable my brain to flourish. But no matter what angle I look at the problem from, no matter how I approach the dilemma in search of an answer, I can see no respite. Accommodation in Melbourne is simply too expensive. Even the outer suburbs are not cost-effective for my poverty-stricken life. Even alternative accommodation in Wodonga, which would at least get me away from Mr. I Play Deafening Music At All Hours Of The Day And Night, won’t fit into my extremely limited budget.

I am trapped here. Emotionally. Mentally. Physically. There is nothing I can do. And that just adds to my already disintegrating mental health. I can’t keep sitting on a bench for eight hours a day, too scared to return to my unit because of the incessant noise that blasts from next door. I can’t keep living with this elevated stress. I can’t keep living in a town that suffocates me; that drives me to madness; that has imprisoned me within it’s soulless walls for the rest of eternity. But I just can’t see the answer.

And that’s the problem with poverty. You have no choice. You eat what you can afford, not what you want to eat. You live where you can afford, not where you want to live. You wear what you can afford, not what you want to wear. You spend your meager life making do with what you have instead of becoming the person you could so easily become. Your life, when you live in poverty, is nothing. It is just something you have to put up with until the sweet release of death comes along to end your suffering.

I am miserable at the moment. I am stressed. I am unhappy. I am sad. I am despondent. I have toyed with suicidal thought and have found myself harboring self-harm urges for the first time in months. All because of my neighbour. All because of my home town. All because I have no choice over what to do with my life.


7 thoughts on “SOC: The problem with poverty

  1. I can’t tell you how much I hate noisy neighbors!! Sound is my bete noir for sure. Have you tried earplugs (I can send you some from my Giant Barrel o’ Earplugs!)?

    Also, can you hang at the library at least? Or are they not open long enough? Damn it–I wish I could invite you over to sit in my silent (mostly, except for guinea pigs and occasional late night drunks in the road, and generally quiet-ish TV noise) house.

    (Note that I’m NOT suggesting you talk to your neighbor! Perish the thought–I suck at that so I wouldn’t want to give you advice I won’t follow)


    • I use earplugs but they don’t make all that much difference against the volume he plays his music. I chill at the library as much I can, but they close quite early, even on a weekday. As for talking to my neighbour, I did try, even though I’m not good at confrontations, but it didn’t make the blindest bit of difference! My support worker suggested I speak to the landlord, so I’m contemplating doing that…until then, I guess I’ll keep utilising the various parks and benches of Wodonga!


  2. Oh I understand what it’s like to have a problem neighbour, I usually opt for earplugs and peaceful pleas for some peace. Not an easy situation, hope there are improvements soon


    • Having a problem neighbour is a seriously frustrating issue, especially as there’s little I can do about it. Talking to him didn’t make any difference, and going over his head to the landlord could lead to even worse problems. I use earplugs when I can but they don’t make much difference against the volume of his music. It’s really unsettling to know I can’t relax in my own home, so hopefully things will improve shortly. Fingers crossed! :)


      • That sounds dreadful. I understand your concerns about speaking to the landlord but it sounds as if the bad tenant will leave you with little choice. Some people are just too selfish. My fingers are crossed for you


  3. What a frustrating situation. I’ve had bad neighbors before and it affected my health (mental and physical) so I can truly relate to what you’re experiencing. I’m sorry you’re going through this.


    • It’s a seriously annoying situation that is playing havoc with my stress levels. I’ve spoken to my landlord but little has changed so far. Fingers crossed he will quieten down soon.


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