Home Sweet Home?

After 4.5 months of living in the spare bedroom(s) at my parents I have finally returned home.  It was wonderful to be at my parents, a good chance to hang out with them, but it’s nice to be back in my own space.

That being said, there’s a problem.

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Over the summer, only a couple of months before I moved, I got a new upstairs neighbour.  A noisy new upstairs neighbour.

She’s an elephant.  Honestly.  It’s the only explanation.  I can literally feel the couch shake when she walks directly overhead.  She has parties on her deck until late at night.  She gets up for work at 4:30 am and slams dresser drawers, clomping around, until I am wide awake and stressing about my own early morning.  She does this repeated tapping (tap, tap, tap, tap, tap) again and again.  It might be elves making wooden toys for Santa’s shop?

It was making me crazy before I left and now that I’m back it’s making me crazy again.

This sounds like an exaggeration but: it’s ruining the peace of my home.

It makes me feel trapped and panicked.  You have to understand that I don’t process noise the same way most people do.  There is no “ignoring it” for me.  It gets under my skin and causes anxiety.  It makes me feel like I am going to cry, or yell: more likely both.  My heart starts to race as soon as I hear the first footstep when she arrives home and my whole body tenses, waiting for the next noise (and the one after that and the one after that).  Last night it took about 30 minutes for my heart to stop racing after I crawled into bed.  It’s galloping away again now that she’s home.

I feel trapped because I love my home and it’s the best I can do.  I can’t afford more and most likely never will.  I will always live in an apartment.  Or a townhouse.  Somewhere with shared walls and ambient noise.

I always pictured a house with kids running round a backyard. That isn’t a reasonable expectation here.  Fine.  I’ve adjusted the picture in my mind of what it’s supposed to look like.

But I don’t know how to handle the noise.  I don’t know what the solution is.

I don’t know how to get rid of this feeling of being trapped.

Speaking to her directly might be the best first step.  But, frankly, it could go badly and make the situation worse.  (From what I’ve heard I’d expect it to go badly.)

I’m going to look at insulating the ceiling better.  I currently have the sound on my stereo turned to 25… I never used to put it above 15.  I have white noise playing directly next to my head as I sleep.  I turn it up each time I hear anything.

There aren’t choices available to me beyond finding ways to cope.  I can (and probably will) write letters to strata.  They’ll write letters to her.  I doubt that changes will be made.

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(Sample letter I found online…)

I don’t think that the Strata Act has much ability to police unreasonable ambient noise.  I think it’s going to be more and more of an issue as more and more people live in high density housing.  Though maybe I’m just one of the few crazy enough to really be made crazy by it?

I’m spoiled, I know.  I know.  But I can’t handle this.

So, friends, do any of you have an idea?  Anything that has worked if you’ve been faced with this situation?

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