Remember my beautiful flat in Glasgow that I had to pay cash for?
Well, before I moved into that amazing flat, I lived in the Nightmare Flat.
Don’t get me wrong. It was still in a pretty nice neighbourhood (aside from a very creepy convenience store manager across the street – another story for another day) and the rent was good. And it was in pretty good shape, too.
OR SO I THOUGHT.
It wasn’t even the neighbours that made it a nightmare. It was the little friend living in the depths of the flat itself. Furry and ranging in colour from white to green to black. Smelly. Damp. Destructive.
My dictionary defines it as, “a furry growth of minute fungal hyphae.” I define it as one of the worst things that has ever happened to me.
Everything seemed normal in my flat at first. It was cold as hell, no matter how high I pumped the electric radiators, but I assumed that was just my body adjusting to a cool, damp climate and no central heating.
Then one day, I noticed that one of the walls in my living room looked like this:
It honestly didn’t even occur to me at first that it was mould. I thought it was dirt. I cleaned it off. But less than 24 hours later, it was starting to appear again, and within 48 hours, it had grown back and then some.
Now, the full story of my mouldy flat is a long, intense, and probably boring one involving a lot of bleach, tea tree oil, and frantic phone calls home. What you need to know is this:
- The mould quickly started to take over my flat, including my clothing and shoes (I had to throw away a lot of stuff.)
- My landlord claimed it was because I kept the flat “too cold.” (He wanted me to have all my radiators on maximum heat 24 hours a day, plus a gas operated space heater on 24 hours a day. Who the fuck does that?!)
- The contractors who came to repair some of the problems in the flat told me it was horribly damp and no one should be living in it until there were a bunch of renos done.
Oh wait. One more minor detail:
THE MOULD DROVE ME CRAZY.
When I was home, I would get an insta-headache and an insta-cough. I would often feel tired, lethargic, short of breath, and I would always feel confused, overwhelmed, and unable to focus. Getting through reading for my courses was almost impossible, but so was staying on topic for more than 30 seconds while I was on Skype with my mom. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. I started popping a ton of vitamin D, thinking I was having a hard time adjusting to gloomy skies. It didn’t help. I felt like I was losing my mind.
Once I became aware of the mould problem and I Googled the symptoms of mould exposure, I nearly had a nervous breakdown.
Everything I was experiencing made sense. All of a sudden I realized that yeah, my headache and cough went away when I left the flat. By the time I got to school, I usually felt fine: I was my normal, deep breathing, perky self. It was only when I got home that I would crash, cough, and fall mysteriously ill.
SIDENOTE: I also had one of the most horrendous, painful periods I have ever had in my life during the worst of the mould crisis. I’ve never been one for more than a few hours of cramps and some mild nausea during my period; this one had me horizontal on the couch crying and holding my stomach for two days straight. Mould? Who the hell knows.
The ordeal it was for me to move out of the Nightmare Flat was almost as epic as the mould itself (again, another story for another day). For now, let me just say that it involved abandoning a lease, losing a TON of money, and a lot of rage crying.
A lot of rage crying.
But boy, was it worth it.
That was the not-even-two-month period in which I learned that mould is no joke.