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Feeling nervous

(59 Posts)
sunseeker Tue 10-Jan-17 15:04:23

I have lived alone for over 5 years now and have always been OK but since having work done in the house during the summer I have started to become increasingly nervous at night. I have a burglar alarm, locks on the windows and bolts and chains on the front and back doors. However if I hear a noise outside during the evening I have to investigate. I live in an old house which has always had a lot of creaks at night but now when I hear them I have to get up and make sure there is no-one downstairs (although what I would do if there was someone there I have no idea!). I also now hide my jewellery at night! Does this affect anyone else - is it just part of the process of getting older or am I going nuts? I live in a rural area but do have neighbours.

Teetime Tue 10-Jan-17 15:19:45

I'm sure someone who knows about theses things will reassure you that statistically its unlikely that you would have an intruder. I was concerned that you said if you heard a noise outside you went to investigate which I don't think is very wise. It sounds as though you have taken lots of preventative measures. Can I ask does your burglar alarm have a panic button by your bed? Ours does wjhich I find reassuring but then again alarms go off all over the place and no-one takes any notice but you can at some cost have them connected to the police station. Have you thought of getting a dog not juts to protect you but for company? I don't think this is about getting older as such but something is clearly worrying you. I shouldn't think you want to move but is it a consideration at some point?

rosesarered Tue 10-Jan-17 15:24:44

sunseeker I think that now you have a burglar alarm you are just waiting anxiously in case it goes off? Because you are so well protected it's unlikely that any intruder could get in at all, so set your mind at rest.A dog is the best alarm of all,and a companion, but not everybody feels they can cope with a dog.
It's because you had all this work done that you are thinking about it so much, just rest assured you have done all you can and get a good nights

Ana Tue 10-Jan-17 15:29:32

Did the presence of the workmen in your home while the work was going on make you feel unsettled in some way, sunseeker?

I live alone too, and I really don't like having to have strangers in the house for any length of time. Not helpful, I know, but I sympathise!

sunseeker Tue 10-Jan-17 15:52:07

Thanks for the reassurances. I think it started when one of the workmen asked me if I lived alone and without thinking I said I did! The burglar alarm has been installed for several years so isn't new. It did go off one night a year or so ago and I was halfway down the stairs, baseball bat over my shoulder when I stopped and asked myself what the hell I was doing! (Turned out a spider had crawled across one of the sensors). I don't go outside to investigate noises, I switch on all the outside lights and peer out the window! I'm afraid getting a dog is not an option, I am not a dog person and I also like to go away quite a lot so it wouldn't be fair on the animal. I know I am being silly but sometimes talking to others about it helps so thank you all!

Jalima Tue 10-Jan-17 16:54:35

I think all the precautions you have taken would put off any potential burglars - I hope so anyway.

They do say that a burglar will look for the easiest house to break into and yours sounds an unlikely choice.

Our house isn't old but it does creak and groan as it settles down at night after the heating goes off.

Someone told me to keep a very large pair of men's shoes by the front door in case I opened the door to someone unknown and wasn't sure about them. You could buy a pair from a charity shop (and use Febreze on them if need be).
Our neighbour has a little notice saying 'No cold callers please'.

f77ms Tue 10-Jan-17 17:03:20

Could you get a personal alarm , they make a heck of a noise . I understand how the workman asking you if you live alone would play on your mind , it would bother me too . He was possibly asking because you were having alarms installed or just making conversation and not for any other reason . The suggestion of having an alarm connected to the police station is worth investigating , it would certainly give you peace of mind . Could you speak to the neighbours about how nervous you have become ? if they are nice people they may say they would keep an ear open for you ! flowers

Jalima Tue 10-Jan-17 17:07:14

At one time the police would come and check everywhere over for you and make suggestions about where you could improve security. I'm not sure if they still do that.

Ana Tue 10-Jan-17 17:11:11

But sunseeker already had the alarm installed, f77ms.

I expect the workman was just making conversation, but it was a bit intrusive!

Jayanna9040 Tue 10-Jan-17 17:16:13

Is it theft you're worried about or personal injury?

Ginny42 Wed 11-Jan-17 01:41:44

I can empathise with your fears. I too have a burglar alarm and believe me no one could get in here without making a big noise, so I presume yours is the same. I had the installer check all potential safety points and he fitted a yale lock on the hall door leading into the hallway as well as the 5 lever arch locks on the front and back doors. I put the chain on at night too. The back door has bolts top and bottom as that's the vulnerable point in my home, backing onto woodland. I have a sign on the gable end warning that there is a cctv camera. There isn't, but my neighbour adjacent to my property has one which covers my area.

I'm lucky in that I live in a small enclosed square with good neighbours. Keep neighbour's numbers on your phone. Is there someone you really trust who would answer a call from you? I've been investigating an alarm which you can wear round your neck or on your wrist and if you are in any kind of difficulty someone will answer when you press and send help. There is a charge for the service, but I'm beginning to accept that at 75 I might need help in an emergency sometime and think it wise to be prepared.

Thinking of you.

Ginny42 Wed 11-Jan-17 01:48:10

Just remembered that a friend, whose husband was a police inspector, keeps his uniform on the hall stand. He died a few years ago, but she still keeps it where an intruder might think he's in the house. Nothing sinister about it btw, we just laugh about how he would laugh at the idea too

absent Wed 11-Jan-17 04:08:19

Most burglaries are opportunist – spotting an open window, climbing easily over a back gate where the burglar won't be overlooked, breaking a pane of glass in a back door when the householder has left the key in the lock after locking the door, even simply opening an unlocked front door. Unless you are owner of fabulous jewels, rare paintings and sculptures or a hugely successful drug dealer, a "professional" burglar is unlikely to bother you.

However, I would avoid investigating noises while clutching a baseball bat. That indicates intent to harm and does not constitute reasonable force.

BlueBelle Wed 11-Jan-17 05:38:33

I can emphasise, I have lived alone 15 years and have had two burglaries one happened after I d had a workman (new to me) in the house so I had it my head it was down to him but that may not be so. No one was ever found for the theft and they both happened whilst I was out thankfully
I also live in a creeky Victorian house that when the children next down run up or downstairs it sounds just like its in my own house I have locks on my windows and doors but no alarms
For weeks after, I was very jumpy at night lying listening to every sound and imagining people in my house I completely cured myself by having my radio on low all night that way I don't hear the creaks and sounds nearly so much I sleep soundly with it on and if I do wake I lie and listen to it instead of imagining all the nasty ideas in my head and usually fall back to sleep
Hope this might help

M0nica Wed 11-Jan-17 13:42:11

Could you seek counselling to help you rationalise your fears, sunseeker? With the amount of security you have you would have to have something of very great value in your house (Old Master, Crown jewels) for anyone to make any serious attempt to break in.

Ginny42 Wed 11-Jan-17 22:01:46

The most valuable thing in sunseekers home is her. Her safety is the priority here.

Grannyben Wed 11-Jan-17 22:29:28

I have been on my own for almost 6 years and I have been nervous at night all that time. I do have a little dog but, in my case that doesn't help. Firstly, I worry that if someone got in they would hurt him and, secondly, he grumbles at any noise within a one mile radius. That's really not helpful! I am fully aware that my home is quite secure and it's unlikely anyone would break in. Again, common sense doesn't help me sleep well. Four years ago I took to blocking the bedroom door with the wardrobe. Every night I move it over and wedge it into place. It has helped me feel more secure as I know, if anyone did get in, it would buy me time. I just pray I don't die in the night or my poor family will have to come in through the window! Oh sunseeker, please never go to investigate, just stay where you are.

absent Wed 11-Jan-17 22:39:54

It is sensible to use available security measures, such as a burglar alarm, and to avoid doing anything silly such as leaving downstairs windows open while you are out or asleep. However, it is also vital to ensure that you have an easy escape route in case of fire. Once a building has caught fire you have very little time to get out and smoke is both blinding and choking. Rummaging around for three or four different keys to unlock doors or moving a wardrobe to get out of the bedroom door are the equivalent of writing your own death warrant.

My father was a fire engineer and I had drummed into me from an early age that getting out as fast as possible is the only way to save your life.

Grannyben Wed 11-Jan-17 22:53:10

I'm in a bungalow so my escape route would be straight out of the window

durhamjen Wed 11-Jan-17 23:42:41

Even the wind is making me jump tonight. It's supposed to have died down.
Woke up to a power cut this morning, and couldn't believe how dark it was at 5.30.
I'm in a bungalow, too, Grannyben. At least we will not have far to go to get out.
How on earth do you move a wardrobe? I agree with absent; what happens if anyone needs to get in?
I once had to crawl to the front door to open it for ambulance men before they got here. It would be impossible with a wardrobe in front of the door.
I think if you are on your own, the problem of people who need to help you getting in is more relevant than people getting in when you don't want them in your house.
Says she who locked the door before she watched Silent Witness, just in case! A dilemma, isn't it?

Bellanonna Wed 11-Jan-17 23:48:52

Something people often do is leave the landing light on if they're out in the evening. I think that advertises an empty house. Nobody sits on the landing all evening. I would leave a front room light on, curtains drawn, or use a time switch. That wasn't particularly for Sunseeker, who I think has been given some good advice. From what you say Sunseeker I think you'll be fine anyway.

mrsmopp Thu 12-Jan-17 01:52:32

One answer is get a dog. Good company, fun to keep and you will feel much more secure and ,less vulnerable. Have a think!
I would do that if I was in your position.

sue01 Thu 12-Jan-17 10:38:45

You say you live in a rural area, but have neighbours. We too. Do you by any chance have Neighbourhood Watch ?? It works very well in our tiny community. We all keep a watch out for suspicious vehicles and have numbers to ring in case of problems. My husband and I are the local co-ordinators and keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable people. We also tend to let each other know when our houses are empty... so we can watch out for each other. The local police keep us up to date by e-mail with whats going on locally... and the whole thing works pretty well. Just a thought !

radicalnan Thu 12-Jan-17 11:02:39

I leave thee radio on all night, helps with my tinnitus but left on in say the 4 extra it does sound like a conversation going on, that and a small lamp would give the impression of someone in the house............

I have a dog, he is small and I would worry in case he got hurt by intruders......but he is company.

Lincsblue Thu 12-Jan-17 11:11:16

You say you switch on the outside lights if you hear a noise.
Why not leave them on all night? We live in a rural village with an unlit public footpath running along our back fence.
We leave our outside light on all night as do our neighbours. As has already been said, burglars look for the easiest option. A burglar alarm and good lighting is the best deterrent.