Having a random bloke in your home for 1.5 days is already a nightmare for someone with anxiety. I’d been putting off putting laminate flooring down because we are terrible at it and I hate hiring tradesmen and we have so. many. shelves. that would need to come down. But the carpets got so gross we started getting bugs, so, yeah, it was time.
So to Facebook I went to try to find a joiner in my area. One quote was significantly cheaper than the others and he was available right away (red flag? Probably) so I hired him. I paid his deposit on Friday night (I’ve never given a tradesman a deposit (another red flag? Probably)).
He would come on Monday to install laminate flooring in our living room, bedroom and hallway. It “might” run into Tuesday morning. That’s fine, I’m in on Tuesday too.
Sunday night we pile the contents of the living room, bedroom and hallway into our dining room and kitchen, leaving us with the baby’s room, the bathroom and half a kitchen to live out of. But it’s only for 1, maybe 2 days.
Monday morning, in he struts, tears up half the living room carpet, declares we need to plywood the whole room because there’s an uneven bit due to there being concrete, not floorboards, around where the fireplace used to be. Ok, can you do that? Yes. Can you supply the plywood or do you need us to get it? Sure I can get it for you. Great.
He does the bedroom, then fucks off. It’s only 1pm. He said he’d be here until 5pm. He hasn’t done the hallway. Well he’s coming back tomorrow anyway. It’s only one more day, and I had already accepted that it could run into Tuesday.
Tuesday he doesn’t turn up. I check my Facebook messages. He’s asked for the dimensions of the room so he knows how much plywood to get (why didn’t you check that yesterday?). I give him them. He immediately asks if I can delay until Wednesday. I cannot. Thursday or Friday? Thursday morning or Friday afternoon. Nah, I want a day where I can do the whole lot at once. Has to be today then. Okay, I’ll get back to you with the cost of the plywood.
Gives cost of plywood. Asks for the money upfront (third red flag? Probably). I send it over. Then he informs me he’s having trouble hiring a van (Wtf kind of tradesman doesn’t have a van? And why the hell did you offer to supply the materials if you physically could not?! I’d have just paid Wickes to deliver it if I knew it would be such a hassle!).
Still no van, still no van, still no van, it’s not going to be today.
The earliest I can get a van is Friday. Okay I’ll cancel my Friday thing.
Wake up on Friday morning to a message saying he can’t make it because his mother-in-law just passed away. I apologise for his loss and ask for the money for the plywood back so we can get someone else in while he takes his time off.
There has been a lot of discussion over the next few days about getting this money back but he is flat out refusing. Excuses:
- “it’s not my fault” (I never said it was, just want to get my house back to normal)
- “the plywood is already purchased so not much I can do” (return it?)
- “I was told the carpets and underlay would already be lifted, so not my fault this wasn’t done” (well, actually, I asked how much extra you’d charge to lift the carpets, so that’s a lie)
- “when there is a loss in the family like this some people do have a bit of consideration” (I’m not asking you to come do the job. Take the time off. I just need to get my house back to normal. It’s nothing personal).
The following Tuesday I try to inform him that we’ve got someone else in to do the job to be given the Facebook error “message not sent. This person is unavailable at the moment”, which, according to Google, means he’s either blocked me or deleted the conversation.
So thanks to this Twazzock I have spent 2 weeks stuck in 1.5 rooms with a toddler. We both have cabin fever. I’ve tried to get outside as much as possible but a combination of anxiety, high winds, torrential rain and slushy snow have made it difficult.
So here’s what this experience taught me about my anxiety.
1. I Definitely Have Money Anxiety
I cannot buy something if I know it is cheaper elsewhere.
So I hired the suspiciously cheap guy with unlimited availability who demanded a deposit upfront instead of the guy who I know is reliable and does a good job because he did our kitchen floor. To save £100. And I’ve ended up hiring him anyway.
So it’s ended up taking a million times as long and cost me more than if I had just gone with the more expensive guy in the first place.
This is a common theme in my life. Example – we have had 3 beds in the 4 years we’ve lived here because they keep breaking. Had I bought a more expensive, sturdier bed in the first place I would have overall spent less money.
But the other beds were cheaper.
2. Messiness Drives Me Crazy!
Things where they shouldn’t be.
No things where there should be things.
Tripping over furniture, banging shins in the dark, elbowing the wall trying to open a drawer.
I cannot live like this.
It is one of my biggest anxiety triggers. I literally cannot think straight if my environment is messy. My thoughts become as jumbled as the room in front of me. They don’t connect. They don’t follow logically. They don’t make sense.
Which is pretty much exactly what happens to my thoughts when I have an anxiety attack.
And let me tell you, a 2-week long anxiety attack is freaking exhausting. Especially when dealing with a cabin fevered toddler.
3. Things Not Going to Plan Is A Huge Trigger
Okay, so I already knew this one but the extent of it became apparent when I was sobbing into my phone for the millionth time after the millionth plan-changing message.
4. I Don’t Do Confrontation. At All
I tried to be assertive about getting my money back but after the “some people have consideration for those who have had a loss in the family” comment I lost it.
Hammering heart, shaking, ugly crying, the lot. All the while my toddler is literally shoving books into my face because he is a book monster and has no idea what’s wrong with his Mummy and I really just need him to leave me alone. I cannot be touched while having an anxiety attack, it only makes it worse. But he doesn’t know that. He just wants his Mummy to read him a book. I feel awful. It gets worse. And worse.
I can’t breathe.
I’m furiously messaging my group chat, hoping my friends can talk me down. They tell me to hand the reigns over to my husband, let him deal with it, distance myself from it. I find the Twazzock’s phone number on his business page, e-mail it to my husband at work and try to forget about it.
My baby eventually gives up on me and goes to play with his toys.
I realise that I’m not going to get past this without just letting the anxiety attack happen. I can’t push it down any longer. I hide under my duvet and just let it happen.
My baby comes to find me. With a book. I’m calm enough to read it to him. It soothes me a little. Enough to get my head focussed on what I need to do today – look after my gorgeous little boy.
5. Anxiety Doesn’t Stay with Its Cause
It effects my whole life.
I have zero anxiety about this blog or it’s accompanying Facebook page. In fact, it’s therapeutic for me. But I was silent on my Facebook page for a week and missed last week’s blog post because I was too stressed to think straight, too anxious to sleep, too tired to concentrate.
It made me too anxious to say much during my doctor’s appointment (I almost didn’t go).
It put me back to square one with the progress I had made on being able to leave the house without having an anxiety attack and rushing home.
My whole life stopped for 2 weeks because one thing did not go to plan.
6. Never Pay for Anything Upfront
I thought it was strange. It felt off. I’ve never had a tradesman charge me upfront. But I paid it anyway. Because I was too anxious to “be a bother” or risk a confrontation. And now I’ve lost £140.
At least get a receipt, if not the actual product, before giving anyone money for anything.
I try my best to turn every horrible experience into a learning experience. It gives it more meaning and helps me to move on from it.
This is what I learnt, time to move on.