My depression started an Saturday. Know the exact day is unusual. Depression has a way of creeping up on you. This time it did not creep. It kicked me in the gut.
Insomnia is a beast. But, I've been slowly getting a rien on it. So, on Saturday, I returned home around 9 pm all set to get some sleep. Since, I haven't had a bedtime schedual in what feels like ages, last week was almost a turning point. That is, I had gone to bed and managed to fall asleep before midnight, four out of seven days. Saturday would have made my fith.
And because of the sleep, there were just a lot good things. The first was waking up and NOT feeling like shit warmed over.n And because I didn't feel like shit, I went for walks before work. I ate healthy, too. The world had changed from rote, gray "God help me get through this day," to positively bursting with possibility. And most importantly, I was also starting to get tired at ten PM. When my insomnia hits, I don't get tired, I get wired. So, feeling tired at an appropriate time was like winning the lottery. It meant, that maybe it might take me an hour to fall asleep, but that I would fall. Around all this was the upstairs neighbors whom I was doing my damdest to ignore.
I've had a bit of bad luck when it comes to upstairs neighbors here in Korea. I refer to this apartment with no affection as the APARTMENT FROM HELL. It was actually a nice appartment, much bigger than where I live now. But the couple above me made noise all day long. I asked the landlord to talk to them, which he did, and the tenants got louder. I asked again and the upstairs neighbors grew vindictive.
This kick started my insomnia. The year I spent in that appartment was a sleepless one. I couldn't sleep after work (4pm) because of the neighbors. Forget 9pm. Forget 3am. They fought non-stop. The kind of fighting where people get thrown into the wall. And even when they were quiet, I was so wired... well, it was just a terrible year.
This started the insomnia and it did not abate when I changed appartments. I averaged two hours a night plus, sometimes I didn't sleep for days. Nothing makes you miserable by ending three days of no sleep with a measly two hour nap. Rinse. Repeat. It was like I just got so used to being awake, that I couldn't reset.
And that brings me back to Saturday. I live in an efficiancy appartment called an officetel. It's one room, but comfy. The people above me moved out and I thought a family with children had moved in. I didn't want to make trouble for them-- an entire family in one room is no joke. I've experienced it firsthand with my mother. I suppose this is the primary reason, I refrained from saying something about the "kids" for six weeks. Then Saturday came and went. Around 4:30 in the morning the "kids" had not stopped playing and I coudnl't take it anymore. I went up and knocked. It wasn't a family. It was a twenty-something girl and two boys.
In Korean culture, kids don't leave home until they get married. That is, the twenty-something single man or woman, making their own way, is as rare as the Dodo bird. And girls never live with boys. So beign without an adult, to surprivise them, they were litterally behaving like children. That included running in and out of their appartment, slamming doors, and wrestling.
They said they were sorry but did not stop. So, I went upstairs and this time, when they said, "We're sorry," I said, "If you're sorry, you'll stop."
They did stop around the time the sun came up. Of course, first thing Monday, I complained-- the manager was not at all surprised. I think he had fielded many complaints about them. The problem is, the ground I had fought so hard to make with my insomnia went poof.
If you have ever tried to change a habit, you know how hard it can be.
M.R. Jordan is a writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. Lives in South Korea with her two cats, Bear and Geumbi.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Gold in English)... then (above) and now (below).