There’s No Place Like Home…

Schizophrenia and paranoia go together.

Even if you are not technically a ‘paranoid schizophrenic’ there is always a sort of dread, a feeling that ‘they’ really are out to get you. And to try to live at all, you have to learn to ignore that feeling.

But, every once in a while, there really is someone who is out to make your life Hellish. But, if your general assumption is based on ignoring anything that feels like an attack, then if you ever are actually attacked, you don’t notice. Or, at least, you don’t notice until it gets bad…

Yesterday, I guess it got bad.

My house has the misfortune to be situated in a small town. When we bought the house, the small town seemed like the best option for my partner’s anxiety. Life in the city did him no favors, and rural living was something I had done, but he had not…my personal definition of Hell is living in a small town.

I guess I’m not really a friendly person. I like my friends. I fear and loathe strangers. And, I know this does not highlight any of my better qualities, but, to me, neighbors are loathsome fear-inducing strangers who are reallyreally close to me.

Over the past year, one of our neighbors has taken up the ‘hobby’ of reporting our yard to the borough for being overgrown. The problem with that is that our yard is not overgrown. But the Einsteins of our borough never seem to look at our yard, they just receive the complaint and come stick a giant embarrassing bright red sticker on the front of our house with notations of the current complaint. The stickers leave a residue. I hate them. I especially hate the fact that we have not committed the ‘crimes’ we are accused of.

So. Yesterday a sticker was stuck on my door. The notes not only claimed that our back yard was overgrown, but additionally, that there were rodents. It ominously commands us to call. the. borough. (Our yard is not overgrown. Partner had a lawn care orgy on Sunday. He seems to like caring for the yard.)

So. I’m hurt. I’m mad. And one of us is going to have to Call. The. Borough. (It probably won’t be me, because I have a bad tendency for strong language if I’m poked)

Since we moved in here, one set of neighbors has consistently thrown their empties over the fence into our yard. Not once in a while, all the time. My beautiful moss-covered statue of Our Lady of Lourdes is often surrounded by a circle of beer cans. We don’t even like beer. My partner planted herbs around our Lady, they were killed by the same neighbors dumping piles of cigarette butts over the fence.

They brutalized our pretty Japanese ornamental lime tree. Their yard is a super highway for feral cats. (They feed them) We get to listen to the feral cats fight or bump uglies almost every night. So, again, I call bullshit on the rodent accusation.

These neighbors have screaming, verbally abusive fights, usually at night, and they last for hours.

But because I will almost always assume that my perceptions of mistreatment are ungrounded, we have never said even one word.

Our backyard is beautiful. Really. Almost anyone would envy this yard. It is tiny, but the previous owners filled it with pretty ornamental trees, and amazing groupings of plants. We never go out in it. I sometimes think I’d like to-until I contemplate the idea of sitting there and getting hit in the face with an empty beer can.

So, sometimes, I sit in the sunroom and look at the yard.

And that is a micro view of schizophrenia. These are grown-up bullies. It is junior high school all over again. My life feels very constricted. I fear and loathe whoever keeps falsely reporting us. I fear and loathe the idea of Calling. The. Borough.

I contemplate cultivating a poison ivy hedge.

And, again, it is my fault. I can’t figure out if I’m being too sensitive. I can’t figure out a way to break the pattern. And, honestly, it is already too difficult here. The added pressure is not what is needed right now. But I think this is how mentally ill people really get driven to, and past, the breaking point. The endless cycles of fear, shame, and poverty.

The gas is still off. Cold showers are awful.

But, we are still among the lucky, as far as being mentally ill goes. There is still a roof. There is food for the cat. There is food for the dog. The lights are still on. And, luckiest of all, in our house, there are no harsh words. There are no fights. I don’t know how my man manages it, but it seems like the more it sucks, the more times a day he tells me that he loves me. So. Yeah. That. Even now, even like this, even with no end in sight, I still wouldn’t trade my Hell for someone else’s.

Author: belladonnareed

Pamela Alexander is a 48 year old mother of two and mild menace to society. She resides in a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA with her sorely oppressed partner, and flatulent dog and a cat. She smokes like a chimney, swears like a sailor, and has been known to drink. When she grows up she hopes to move to the West coast of Mexico.

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