It has been six months now since my neighbor went off her meds and started acting out against the voices in her head. Since then it has been an unmitigated reign of terror in the condo complex that I live in, and I want to move. But I can’t move because my condo is 120K under water and if I short sale this bad boy my credit rating will be ruined for seven years. I have talked to the police, the crisis and commitment people here in the county, the condo board has fined her thousands of dollars in damage and cigarette smoke smell in the hallway (trust me when you smoke and you gag on the smell of smoke it is horrible). I have seen real estate agents walk into the lobby and walk right back out again because of the smell. It is getting so you can’t sell the units in the condo because she lives off the lobby, and when you hear screaming and yelling or smell cigarette smoke people will and do walk away from the unit forever. I have seen people who cannot rent their condo units because of the smoke smell, the burns in the carpet from her dropping her cigarettes everywhere, the horrible sounds coming out of her apartment, the yelling, the screaming, and the 1 or 2 AM screaming and music and revving her engine in the parking circle. The screaming that she is “blind” can you help me as she gets into her car and drives off over the grass embankment.
My beautiful house has become a trap, a hell hole, a stinky filthy screaming hot mess of trash strewn about the hall way and near the garbage dumpsters. The stench of urine and cigarette smoke reminds me of some of the more horrible living situations that I have had occasion to visit. My beautiful home that I spent a lot of money on has become a tenement, the dark blot on the neighborhood, the place where no one goes because of the crazy lady who lives there.
I feel like I have to escort my family members in and out of the building because I am worried what will happen if they run into her unprotected and unguided.
I don’t have friends over anymore.
I have called the police, they can’t do anything until she actually breaks a law, being a nuisance, noise ordinances, she can destroy her own stuff, and she can throw trash in the hallway or around the garbage dumpsters. None of that is breaking the law, even if it is annoying that someone else has to clean up after the disasters she creates. The Police have been putting up with this for 20 years according to the local court records, and can’t do anything about it until she breaks a local law. It is getting dull calling the police to come ask her to be quiet, because they really do have other things to do than deal with a 50 year old mentally ill woman.
I have called crisis and commitment here in the county, and they can’t do anything until she is a true danger to herself and others. Even if she hits herself so hard she is giving herself bruises, even though I have seen her hit herself so hard she nearly knocks the glasses off her face she is still not a danger to herself and others. Even though we have heard the horrible screaming and banging and clanging out of her apartment all the way down the hallway on a weekly basis. Even though we have seen the broken pottery, the broken glass from her fire place and something else where the glass is ¼ inch think. Even though we have documented burn marks in the hallway carpet from her careless cigarette smoking (it was her own door mat, she is allowed to destroy her own property). Even though we have seen her throw messages on her door that she is blind, deaf, horrible, and using racial epithets. Even though we have seen her and called the police over her asking children as young as 11 if they want to “do her up the ass”. Even though we have seen her grabbing her tits screaming about anal sex in the parking circle, she is not a danger to herself or others.
I have talked to our Home Owners Association board, and they have fined her thousands of dollars for the damage to the condo common property, they can’t do anything either. All they can do is fine her for her behavior.
I have tried talking to her, but like most mentally ill people, it is in one ear and out the other. She simply does not get the disruption she is causing to the condo unit. She is responding to internal voices in her head, those horrible self-destructive voices that surround her daily, and not telling her to do anything other than damage herself.
Almost every day there is some new thing, mostly trash in the hallway, but on those every two weeks or every week when she is out in the parking circle making noise at 1 or 2 AM she is very quick about it. She at some level knows that this is a game, she is quick and stealthy. She excels at coming out of nowhere with radio blaring for 10 minutes, and then zooming off again. It is a disruptive game, and there is no one left on this side of building near the parking circle other than us, two Asian families, and one other family. Out of the 12 units on this side of the building, only four are occupied full time. That is eight empty units, that can’t be rented, can’t be used, can’t be lived in, can’t be sold, and are basically a drag on the neighborhood because they are empty. We lose what could be good neighbors, we lose the sense of community, we lose the sense of a beautiful home because of the disruption that one person has caused to the condo unit I live in.
There is no recourse
There is nothing I can do
The police can’t do anything because she is not breaking a law other than noise ordinances. And I agree, they do have better things to do with their time.
Crisis and Commitment can’t do anything until she is a demonstrable consistent danger to herself or others. That means she had to hurt herself so badly she has to go to the hospital, or hurt someone else so badly that they have to go to the hospital.
The HOA Board can’t do anything other than fine for trashing the common area on a regular basis.
People are getting tired of talking to me because I really just want this to stop, just stop, I want to sleep through the night, and I want my nice quiet clean beautiful house back. The Police are getting tired of me calling on the non-emergency number to report the noise complaint because she comes and goes so fast that they can never catch her in the act. Crisis and Commitment is tired of me calling because she is not really a danger to herself or others on a regular basis. She has not hurt herself or anyone else other than the punching herself in the face or asking people about anal sex. The HOA is tired of me sending pictures nearly every day about the trash and the smell and the living conditions because all they can do is fine her. As long as she can keep on cutting 1000 or 2000 dollar checks to the HOA in fines every month, they are just fine with what she is doing. At this point I am making a right royal nuisance of myself, and starting to look like I have a vendetta or I am the crazy one. So I need to stop, stop calling, stop cleaning up after her in the common area, stop complaining about the smell of urine and smoke, stop annoying the police and crisis and commitment. But I really believe that at some point she is going to hurt herself or others, or burns this place to the ground.
I really just want this to stop, and I can’t move, and I can’t sleep, and I can’t stop her, and I can’t get her help, and I can’t get anyone involved, and it will stay this way until she hurts herself so bad she goes to the hospital, hurts someone else so bad that they end up in the hospital, or burns the condo unit to the ground because of careless cigarette smoking and disposal.
Realistically I am still stuck, stuck in a hell not of my own creation with a mentally ill neighbor who has gone off their medications. There are no resources I can use, people are tired of me calling and complaining, and I am starting to look like I am harassing her because I want to sleep through the night, not have to deal with the stench of cigarettes and trash and filth spread through the hallway. I live in an upscale expensive neighborhood that is slowly turning into a tenement.
If anyone has any experience dealing with the mentally ill, please feel free to comment on this article. I am at a loss, there are no resources, there is no recourse, she is functioning enough to evade the courts and the police and crisis and commitment. She knows the game too well, and I am a new player on the board with limited resources and limited ability to understand the rules.