Just watch the fireworks …

As New Year’s Eve is coming closer, let me just say – anxiety is MILES. HIGH. As per usual, I am already in overdrive, or better, my mind is. Because I am fucking STRESSED when the last month of the year is on.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually like December, especially when it’s cold, snowy and all that. The houses are beautifully illuminated with all kinds of fairy lights, candles, hot cocoa, tea, soft, warm blankets, all that jazz. However, NYE is an entirely different story.

When I was younger, fireworks were something I enjoyed. The colorful stars in the night sky, whole displays even at times, if done professionally. I didn’t even mind the bangs when those rockets went off.

But then NYE 2014/2015 happened and everything changed.

I had been sick for the largest part of December and thus was grounded at home, no chance to visit my family for Christmas or NYE. Unfortunately, that turned into a nightmare. The area I was living in back then was, at first, rather okay, not far from the railway station in Spandau, a park nearby, all that. I enjoyed living there, even IF there were some darlings who thought it was a great idea to chat LOUDLY outside at night once spring rolled around. Sometimes including blaring shitty music from cellphone speakers.

Little did I know what was going to happen, how much those brats were foreshadowing the disaster.

At some point that very NYE everything went to Hell. Some asshats had bought extremely loud bangers and would happily set them off for HOURS on end, and not just on NYE, but also the days before and after. At first only some, but on NYE, I at some point felt like I was in some kind of warzone. No joke. They had found a place with amazing acoustics, which of course intensified the noise. It sounded like bomb detonations. The problem was that there was basically NO WAY to drown out the noise. I was listening to music, had a bath, but nothing helped. I not only heard the bangers, I FELT THEM. In every single fibre of my body.

And as I’ve said, that shit went on for DAYS. Which is, actually, forbidden, just like those extremely loud bangers are, but rules and regulations are there to be ignored, right?

By the time they were done with their terrorizing others, I was completely shaken up. I was scared. I just wanted to crawl into a hole and hide. Somehow, I made it through, albeit being close to a full blown panic attack.

Since then, I have immense problems once NYE comes closer. Because obviously, the story repeated itself on NYE 2015/2016 … bombs exploding, warzone feel, terrorized, scared. Close to panic. I filed a complaint with the housing company, as this shit of course also went on for days, but nothing came out of it. NOTHING.

On the contrary …

Summer of 2016, and a European Championships in football / soccer. For some years, it’s become some kind of tradition to set off fireworks every time Germany scores a goal. Which is stupid as fuck, if you ask me, but what do I know? So yeah, Germany faced Italy one evening, and sure enough, that fucking game went into OT and penalty shoot out. The latter went on for-freaking-ever, and some asshat there thought it was hilarious to set off two bangers every time Germany scored in that shoot out. Needless to say, Yours Truly lost it. I was so DONE with everything. Mind, celebrate those goals and all for all I care, but there’s NO NEED to set off bangers or fireworks!

I was stressed. Anxiety shot through the roof … and Germany was through to the semi finals, facing France next. I was sitting on my couch, shaking like a leaf hours before the match even kicked off. That was the moment when I knew I had to do something. Packed a bag with some necessities, my furry friends included, and made my way to the hospital, asking for a safe space. Turned out there was no need to worry as Germany lost, but I was sure that I wouldn’t make it through another evening of fireworks, bangers, idiocy because of some bloody SPORT – even if I was still a footie fan back then. I was on overdrive. I felt I couldn’t manage another evening on my own when the pyromaniacs were on the loose again. Mind, the bangers and fireworks that were used during that tournamet weren’t as bad and loud as the bombs on NYE, but still …

It took me YEARS to at least be able to somewhat deal with normal fireworks. Bangers are still a major issue. I make do with Ohropax (some wax based plug to drown out noises) to keep the worst at bay, but it only helps so much. Unfortunately.

The problem is that folks here in Berlin don’t seem to care about what’s allowed and what is not. What solidarity means. Earlier this week, there was an extremely loud banger again, my neighbors and I felt our windows vibrating because of that detonation. I almost JOLTED out of bed. This is not FUN anymore. This is plain terror. And reading through the comments on Facebook these days because of Berlin putting an end to selling fireworks and other pyrotechnics before NYE as well as declaring areas “no fireworks and bangers zones” sure made my blood boil. To some, their fun is more important than the well-being of others. And this is sad to see. Even more so because of the current pandemic.

So yeah. I am trying my best to NOT tailspin into a panic attack on NYE, I even try to face my fears and go out for a couple of minutes to watch the fireworks. But as soon as there’s a banger, I am scared again. Fortunately, folks in my old place are much more relaxed when it comes to NYE. There’s no such thing about who has the bestest, biggest, loudest fireworks and bangers competition. It’s like 90mins maximum and everything’s done and dusted. And on NYE only, not days before and after. So that is where I usually am on NYE now.

I don’t think I will ever be cured from the anxiety when it comes to fireworks and NYE. But I am learning bit by bit to cope with the anxiety and find means and ways to endure those.

Happy New Year.

Hopefully, 2021 will be much better and nicer than 2020 has been to and for us.

See y’all next year.

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