Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Psychological and Health problems caused by bed bugs (besides bites)

BB Support Group in NYC?

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  1. BugShrink

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Aug 24 2010 21:20:29
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    I have been living with bedbugs for a year now, thanks to a neighbor, and have them pretty well managed at this point--thanks in large part to help from this site. As I look back on my own crisis, and at what's happening all over New York City, it seems there is a need for a professionally run bed-bug support group.

    I am a licensed psychotherapist in private practice and have facilitated many groups. I am thinking about beginning a bed bug support group, but I don't know if there would be interest. It would run weekly in Manhattan for probably $50 per session.

    I'm just trying to gauge the necessity of this right now. Are there people who would be interested in such a thing? Would you want to sit in a room with other people living with bed bugs? Do you think it would be helpful?

    Thanks!
    GH

  2. diebbsdie

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Aug 24 2010 21:27:31
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    funny, my mother told me i needed to find a bed bug support group recently, but i told her no one would want to go sit in a room with bed bug sufferers! too risky!

    i would be interested, but i don't know how it could help me....bed bugs are out there. i feel like i'll only feel better when they get rid of all of them somehow. or at least, make the problem drastically better. what would you say to make me feel better?

  3. bushbugg

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Aug 24 2010 21:33:21
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    Uh, can we make it a call in show?

  4. BugShrink

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Aug 24 2010 21:34:05
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    You're right Diebbsdie--the biggest problem would be getting people to sit in a room together!

    What support groups do to help whatever problem you have is they enable you to feel less alone, and that's important. With BBs, we deal with social stigma. Friends didn't invite me to parties because they were afraid they'd be infested. And feeling like I was going crazy without anyone who understood. I had people say to me, "Oh, it's just the same as cockroaches," and you know it's very different. Also, talking to people who haven't been through it is tough, because it freaks them out--they don't want to hear about it. Or people get tired of hearing it, when we are obsessed with it.

    In a support group, you're all in the same boat. So that's what helps.

  5. diebbsdie

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Aug 24 2010 21:43:19
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    yeah, i think i would be interested in that.
    i've been super lucky to have excellent, understanding friends who have always welcomed me in to their homes, knowing that i'd rather die than spread them, so i do everything humanly possible to take every precaution. but i can tell some of their patience is starting to wear thin with me, and no matter how sympathetic, they'll never truly understand and they have recommended i start seeing a therapist.

    maybe if we all sat on metal chairs and sprayed them down with alcohol first?

  6. BugShrink

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Aug 24 2010 21:56:52
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    Ha! I'll bring my can of Bedlam.

    Actually, I was thinking of having thick trash bags on hand, and everyone could put their bags and coats in, just to make it "safer." I can tell you, I talk about it with my own therapist, and because she's not a BB survivor, I end up having to reassure her fears: "Don't worry, all my clothes came out of ziploc bags this morning, etc." It's annoying. But other than that, it's been great to talk about it.

    Glad you're interested. I'll keep info posted here as this group comes together, if it comes together.

    Bushbugg, I have thought about phone or Skype, but I think it would be too difficult to manage a group that's not in person.

  7. diebbsdie

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Aug 24 2010 22:22:43
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    or what if we all sat in a sauna of 120 degrees?

    sorry....not enough sleep. it was funny in my head!

  8. Eve

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Aug 24 2010 22:26:33
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    Funny in my head. Practice session for going to the movies as per other thread. Pictures folks slipping towels into PackTite on way out door.

    Eve

  9. uggnobugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 1:39:20
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    i think a show would have more success. after all the money people spend on getting rid of bb's...seems to me that spending an extra 50.00 to talk about it would be overboard. but then again, i am frugal...so that's just one biased opinion.

  10. DeedleBeetle

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 4:20:59
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    if it ain't an on-line therapy session, count me out.

    it's clear that some of us (maybe most of us?) here have shared on this forum that before we had bb and the resulting "bb psychosis" we have suffered from other traumatic experiences or have a predisposition for anxiety, depression, etc. so i think that for me, at least, a therapist is going to have to go back to the time i was almost kidnapped at gun point by a guy on the number 7 train, separation from mommy at age 3, separation from grandma at age 7, twin towers falling down around my head (figuratively), leading to agoraphobia, yadda yadda yadda, before getting to the bb episode leading to hypervigilence, more anxiety, and mroe agoraphobia.

    Don't know if it's something that can be done in group or for 50$ a session. But i know that for me..there is no way that i'm going to go out of my now bb free home to go sit with others who have had (and may still have) bed bugs...for an hour or so each week. Fugghedaboudit

  11. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 7:53:11
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    BugShrink,

    Many of the people that are severely affected are going to have a problem with meeting in a room.

    Avoidance is a defense mechanism that has practical value for someone that is fearful of hitchhiking bugs, for obvious reasons.

    If you think about the intensity of the fear that has been respondently conditioned to the transfer of these parasites after someone's life gets turned completely upside down by an infestation... You will appreciate that face to face meetings are not practical.

    You could take every possible precaution including having a K9 team at the door, but the clients will not feel comfortable

    Deetle is right.... It needs to be online.... I appreciate this scenario precludes group hugs, but it also eliminates geographical boundaries.

    Anyone with a broadband connection can participate from any part of the world.

    It will require small groups, but it can work... With an appropriate conference software it would function like the group of talking heads that you see on CNN every day. Using Skype, Google Voice, or corporate conference software a facilitator could conduct a carefully structured support group meeting.

    Applying a modified Critical Incident Stress Management model that is followed with an appropriate educational component would provide the necessary structure.

    CISM is utilized with emergency workers that have experienced an extremely traumatic event with solid research that documents the efficacy of the procedure.

    I haven't located an appropriate software... but I believe that online support groups can be accomplished with hardware that is designed to handle six to eight A/ V feeds... Skype calls.

  12. bug-tired

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 8:31:45
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    We could start our own 12-step support group, complete with online meetings. No professionals, no dues or fees, we would be self-supporting, just bedbuggers sharing their experience, strength & hope with each other. A chat room would work, maybe Yahoo if nobugs can't add a chat function here.

    1. We admitted we were powerless over bedbugs - that our lives had become unmanageable.
    2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
    3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of our PCO, as we understood him..
    4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of all our belongings, washed and/or dried or packtited them all and put them in sealed ziplock bags.
    5. Admitted to our PCO, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our infestation.
    6. Were entirely ready to have our PCO remove all of our bedbugs.
    7. Humbly asked him to remove our bedbugs.
    8. Made a list of all persons we may have harmed (due to bedbug-obsession-induced-paranoid-insomnia), and became willing to make amends to them all.
    9. Made amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would infest them or others.
    10. Continued to take personal inventory of all our belongings with a flashlight and magnifying glass.
    11. Sought through onine research to improve our knowledge of bedbugs, searching only for knowledge of how to get rid of them and the power to carry that out.
    12. Having finally been rid of bed bugs a a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other bedbuggers and to practice packtite safety in all our affairs.

  13. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 8:55:07
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    Bug-Tired
    I think you just became the Bill W. of Bed Bugs Anonymous

    DieBBsDie
    The sauna idea is funny... much better than my nudism proposal

    It will dictate short meetings, but 20 minutes is about right for an effective thermal treatment

  14. BugShrink

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 9:49:18
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    Doug, thanks for the technical advice. I will look into the Skype conferencing. And I agree, meeting in a room together could be an emotional obstacle. But when it comes to therapy, meeting face to face is far more powerful than meeting over the phone or video. It can also work to counteract the stigma we live with. So that's important.

    As I think more about this, I wonder if a group might best meet the needs of long-term survivors like myself, instead of new victims. Research in trauma therapy shows that therapeutic interventions are most helpful when they come some time after the initial traumatization, and not when people are still in the immediate crisis. They found this with 9/11 survivors.

    After a year of living with the bugs, and knowing it's a long haul due to my entire building being infested, I've come to a place of accepting their presence, and accepting the inevitability that all of us in NYC will eventually be managing BBs, just as we have always managed cockroaches. BBs are not going away. Also long-term BB managers are likely less contagious than newbies--we keep our clothing in bags, take measures to keep infestations under control, etc. I am also no longer so afraid of being "infected" by others, because I've already got them.

    Anyway, lots to think about with this. I appreciate everyone's helpful feedback.

  15. Richard56

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 11:03:59
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    After a year of living with the bugs, and knowing it's a long haul due to my entire building being infested, I've come to a place of accepting their presence, and accepting the inevitability that all of us in NYC will eventually be managing BBs
    ----------
    I don't know what the future has to bring, but personally at this point in time I would not be "accepting of their presence" for such a long period of time. Assuming you've been as aggressive as possible -- different methods, PCO's, etc -- and that the problem is with the building -- have you or the other tenants gone to court to force the landlord to treat the entire building? Sorry to go off topic here but your statement jumped out at me.

    Richard

  16. soscared

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 11:17:34
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    diebbsdie - 12 hours ago  » 
    or what if we all sat in a sauna of 120 degrees?
    sorry....not enough sleep. it was funny in my head!

    Naked. It has to be naked in a sauna of at least 120 degrees to be truly safe.
    That reminds me of other "support groups" available for your pleasure in certain places in NYC.

  17. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 11:19:38
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    BugShrink
    I follow your thesis and fully agree that face to face therapy is more effective.

    The CISM model I suggested might be better suited for an initial intervention type of support group.... It would need to be modified... I am not trying to suggest that we are dealing with a 911 type of event...

    I was just using the CISM model to illustrate the idea that the intervention should be performed by a trained facilitator in a structured manner.... CISM is a band-aid approach when we are looking at serious trauma...

    The basic idea that I am advocating is support groups that provide each individual an opportunity to share their experience and then offer educational information in a safe cost effective intervention... that will include wellness suggestions for people that are ready to take the next step.

    Please don't interpret anything I am saying in a negative fashion about professional therapy... I am making a cynical observation about the emotionally driven behavior that is experienced by people with a significant fear of bed bugs.

    I think therapy is the best way for people to recover fully and quickly.... Attending a group meeting is a huge step towards normalcy.... People that are most affected just can't handle the stress.... My A/V idea is an attempt to adapt to the near universal fear that accompanies the experience of dealing with a bed bug infestation... It is a back up plan that eliminates the stress of worrying about cross infestation or needing to get into a cab to get to the meeting, for example....

    I enthusiastically support your idea for establishing a group.... Think of my comments as constructive feedback.... If you can figure out better way to handle the issue of cross infestation... you have my full attention.

    Currently, I believe that Skype or phone conversations are the most cost effective way to provide one on one interventions and eliminate the issue of cross infestation.

    Long term survivors, victims of multiple traumas and populations with predisposing conditions may need more intensive interventions... one on one intensive strategies... in person... that are beyond the scope of a support group.

    I wouldn't feel comfortable performing a visual imagery based therapy on line... I believe it is important to perform that type of procedure in person.

    I was envisioning a low cost model to provide support group services to a geographically dispersed population. I feel that Skype is an improvement over telephone based services because of the body language based feedback allows fuller communication

  18. BugShrink

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 15:08:52
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    Doug, I take your input as very constructive--thank you for taking the time to explain. The mental health impact of BBs is a new one, relatively, and it's something that will need to be addressed in some way. The more people are thinking about it and talking about it, the better.

    I have had patients not tell me about their infestations, because they were afraid I would become anxious or rejecting or judgmental. And when I told my own therapist, I then had to take care of her anxiety about it. She wanted to put a sheet on the chair for me to sit down in! Of course, I had to explain why that would not be helpful for anyone.

    Richard, thanks for your concern. My acceptance of the situation does not mean I stop fighting. It just means that I'm coming to a place where I accept that it's largely outside my control, that I can only manage some piece of it. The process of working with Adult Protective Services, landlords, lawyers, is very long. The city gives little assistance and has no plan. When neighbors and landlords are not cooperative, it's even longer.

    I think we're going to see more and more of this situation--where people are infested by mentally ill or negligent neighbors--and entire buildings become overrun. More than the hitchhiker from the movie theater option that so many people are scared of. Give me a hitchhiker over a building-wide migration any day!

  19. DeedleBeetle

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 15:26:12
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    hmmm.....it doesn't sound like this will be the group for me because i REFUSE to admit that bbs must be a continuing presence in my like like cockroaches. I don't see living with bbs as inevitable. I would much prefer living each day in a way that keeps bbs away from my home. If that means that i limit my contact with others, then so be it.

    i don't think i'd like to have a therapist whose philosophy is: "I've come to a place of accepting their presence, and accepting the inevitability that all of us in NYC will eventually be managing BBs"

    YIPES!
    i can not live with bbs! i simply can not. i will not. i refuse.

  20. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 15:49:21
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    Recent polls have suggested from 1 in 10 ranging to 1 in 15 people being affected in NYC alone... That is a huge population when we look at the problem on a national level.

    Mental health services are way behind the curve in developing an efficacious solution....Existing programs still are struggling with protecting their workers from cross infestation during home visits.

    I started out thinking about face to face groups... then came to the conclusion that a web based program is the best way to provide an outreach services model that can be scaled up to assist large numbers of people.

    Mental health effects of dealing with an infestation are starting to get some attention by government agencies, but no one is actually providing any funding to meet the growing need.

    This site is a huge resource for support, but I foresee a growing demand for programs to provide web based group support services that can be scaled up quickly to keep pace with the exponential growth curve of bed bug infestations in the US and elsewhere.

  21. Richard56

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 16:03:55
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    Recent polls have suggested from 1 in 10 ranging to 1 in 15 people being affected in NYC alone... That is a huge population when we look at problem on a national level...
    --------------
    For me, the social stigma part is the hardest. Not really wanting to tell anyone, not having anyone over, etc, etc. Feeling a bit like a leper.

    And while everyone looks/reacts to this problem differently, from what I've read here there are many who feel the same way.

    So, I just wonder if those numbers posted start to increase and Bed Bugs become the cockroach of yesterday.

    On one hand the problem will be getting worse, but on the other hand I would imagine the social stigma would start to disappear as more and more people got it. At least that is what I would think.

    Wondering what people think on this. If god forbids things get really worse, do you think the stigma would start to disappear and we could be more open about this terrible problem?

    Richard

  22. Eve

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 16:15:56
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    One of the problems I have with following this community and with attempting to contribute to it is the stigma I often feel as a person who sees these bugs as just an irritation to be solved (or at least not made worse).

    It would be lovely to go back to a period where I didn't even have to think about these things. But failing that, I have a life to get on with. I am already something of a social hermit. I don't even have a partner with whom to share problems (when I did I found myself having to shoulder two people's problems). I have a tendency to social paranoia which makes my life not a comfortable one to begin with. I cannot have a meltdown over a problem like this. It would be its own problem which is worse that the problem with six legs each.

    Even in my normal intellectual existence I have no need for certainty. I recognize risks everywhere and categorize them. The serious ones I pay attention to (the need to avoid physical injury at my age and physical condition), the less serious ones I try to solve with ordinary problem solving (like the bugs).

    But I have seen posts here and on another bulletin board I follow that almost demand that I should totally have repeated meltdowns, that I be unable to sleep and that unless I turn into a psychology wreck over this taking precautions that I know are beside the point that I am a horrible person that should be exiled from all human society.

    I refuse to do that. I cannot make society safe from bedbugs even if I entered a chemical shower every time I left or entered my apartment. I refuse to feel guilty for wanting to spend some time outside my apartment, or carry on a job (most of the people there routinely travel, I don't, they're a bigger risk than I am), or sit in a library, or keep my own personal library (yes, I do have a netbook where I read ebooks but my books are precious to me).

    I welcome the possibility of therapy that teaches people to maintain an even keel even in the face of this.

    Eve
    <who reserves paranoid meltdowns for cockroaches>

  23. BugShrink

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 20:22:19
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    Doug, please keep us posted on your web-based program, it sounds intriguing.

    Richard, I do think the stigma will be reduced once more people get BBs--and they will. I believe this summer we have reached a tipping point and the problem is exploding from here.

    Like Eve, I don't want to be in constant meltdown mode anymore. It's important to strike a balance between freaking out and being totally blase about the bugs. I keep up my fight--after a number of PCO visits, my clothing stays in ziploc Space Bags, I keep silicone sealant on hand for when I see a new crack in the walls, and I spray monthly. But I am not obsessive like I was in the beginning, when I thought I was going to go crazy if my clean clothing touched the floor for even a second, etc.

    Even with a massive infestation in my neighbor's apartment, I've managed to be BB-free for two months now, even while the BBs are spreading to other apartments in my building. When there has been a sign of a BB, I feel totally defeated for the night. Then I double my efforts and press on.

    What else can we do?

  24. The Reluctant Entomologist

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 20:56:34
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    You guys have said so many great things here that I can't quote or remember them all.

    I just wanted to acknowledge that I am among those who wouldn't even tell my shrink for months. The strange thing is, I always had mixed reactions when people were so "okay" with it once I told them. I was glad to not be treated like a leper, but I immediately always tried to explain to them things that they clearly didn't know that seemed like good reasons that they SHOULD be scared (for instance, I don't react to bites & have NO IDEA how long this went on before I knew; I suspect a long time -- and that was when I was most likely to have spread them. Not even I wanted to come in and sit on that couch I'd been sitting on in my shrink's office, once I knew!)

    At the same time, an entomologist on public radio the other evening said, "You should be scared" (meaning they're here, and things will only get worse). Counter-intuitively, perhaps, I can't help but agree that that sounds to me like the best reason I've ever heard to finally just CHILL OUT a little (succumb to the higher power that is the bug?).

    Well, that and my Zoloft:)

    It really sounds to me like until there's better research, it will soon be such that the best we can do is control the bugs, not eradicate them. (Personally, as far as control is concerned, until there's a better way, I feel that it makes exactly ZERO sense to just have my clothes hanging in the closet, outside of Space bags -- or to keep them in drawers instead of sealed in plastic. Before bbs, I used to be so proud of myself for always washing my clothes in cold and line-drying, but those days are over. A lot has just become habit to me now, so I don't freak out about it; I just do it.)

    Again, probably the drugs.

    The only good side effect -- of it getting so that some amount of bbs just becomes ubiquitous -- is that people will perhaps feel more compelled (even w/o the drugs!) to not let this take over their lives (the way I absolutely had) -- and also feel more compassionate for those who are dealing with the issue (once most of us either have dealt with it or currently are).

    As nice as this forum is, having bbs is lonely, and I don't think computer interaction replaces interacting with people. (Some report recently on public radio, I believe, about how not having enough in-person interaction with other living things -- not bbs -- is as bad for you as smoking a pack a day?!) I guess if I hadn't already gone over the 30 visits a year my insurance covers or wiped out my medical flexible spending account with caulking, sprayfoaming, wall void dusting, etc., or spent every last dime in the bank on treatment, I'd honestly like the idea of the support group.

    I LOVE the sauna suggestion! Saunas are not only perhaps hot enough, but they're in and of themselves therapeutic and relaxing.

    Then again,I'm the one who said we should go to the movies nude (and wearing only leopard print panties in my Gravatar), so I guess I'm just an exhibitionist at heart...

  25. diebbsdie

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 21:30:30
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    reluctant entomologist--thanks for the props on my sauna comment!

    did anyone watch dave letterman last night? he made a few opening jokes about the bed bug problem and DAMN did it feel good to actually laugh out loud about them for once. so much better than last summer when i was terrified to tell anyone. now i'm much more "out" about my problem and no one i've run into seems to fear me or look down upon me at all!

    every weekend this summer, there was some new bump or suspicious bug on my floor that caused me to FREAK the hell out and frantically call or email Killerqueen. i've gotta stop this mad fear!

    but at least i got to laugh about it last night. sigh. just prayin' my building doesn't get overrun with the demonic insects.

  26. Ratorja

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    Wed Aug 25 2010 22:02:14
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    Nude sauna support group, count me in! Maybe it should be one of those dry saunas, like they have at Bally's, kind of as an homage to using a "dry" steamer over wet.

    All joking aside:

    1) This website is already a support group for me. Nobody here judges me for having bedbugs, and I have plenty of other people to commiserate with. I can speak with people all over the world, not just localized to NYCers.

    2) I just got done reading in the thread about how much we've all spent so far on our war with BBs. Do you really think it's fair to charge $50 a session to people already spending SO much money on this? One of the reasons we'd need a support group is just because of how much money we've pumped into this problem!

    3) Since you've been living with BBs for a year, I personally find it a little offensive that you're trying to turn a buck on what you have also been dealing with an realize how much of a nightmare it is for people. Completely just my opinion, but if I were in your shoes and had the chance to professionally help people with something I was personally going through, I'd want to do it out of the kindness of my BB-ridden heart. If you even had 10 people show up, that's $500 for you to be able to talk about something you probably need the support group for yourself as well.

    I'm probably going to regret most of this post, but I'm not going to chicken out like I normally would, because this just really struck a nerve in me. I do appreciate the sentiment behind the idea, but money should NOT have been a factor here, or maybe something that could have been discussed AFTER gauging people's interest.

  27. BugShrink

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 22:25:22
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    Ratorja, in my own defense, I am a psychotherapist. That's my job. And running support groups is part of how I make a living. Would you expect a PCO who has lived with BBs to treat people's apartments and not charge money for it? I can provide a service, in an empathic and understanding way, and still make a fair wage.

    I mentioned the fee because I wanted to gauge people's responsiveness to it, and I do take your response into account. Many people don't want to pay for therapy, in a group or individually, and I understand that for some this forum is enough. It has certainly helped me, too, over the past year.

  28. Richard56

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 22:55:47
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    Since you've been living with BBs for a year, I personally find it a little offensive that you're trying to turn a buck on what you have also been dealing with
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    The best products and services come from solving existing problems. In this case the problem is that some of us may not be getting enough face-to-face support during the oftentimes traumatic bed bug experience.

    Why should we hold it against "BugShrink" that he had/has a bed bug problem? Would your reaction be the same if he was a shrink who never had a bed bug problem?

    I would think his personal experiences with bed bugs would make make him a better person to run this sort of group than someone who never had that experience.

    I don't think the question is whether it's fair for BugShrink to make "x" amount of dollars from these groups, but what is the value of this group to you, the consumer.

    I just spent a nice piece of change for machine "y" to help get rid of bed bugs. I don't fault the manufacturer at all if he makes a lot of money with it. I'm just thankful he `came up with this machine to help solve my problem.

    Richard

  29. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Aug 25 2010 23:08:59
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    Hi BugShrink,

    I think that meeting in person is a big barrier for people. It comes up again and again.

    And please don't take offense at this, but is it usual for therapists to lead groups about problems they're still dealing with themselves?

    For example, I know someone might lead a group for substance abusers after having been a long time in recovery themselves, but when they're still acutely suffering from the problem, or suffering in the post-traumatic stress (or whatever you'd call it) of the problem, well I have never heard of that before -- not unless it was a self-help group. And from what you say, it sounds like you still haven't recovered.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  30. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Thu Aug 26 2010 1:59:41
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    In a best case scenario it would be a free public funded service.

    If it is going to be a self sustaining business venture...there would need to be a user fee to pay the bills.

    I don't know the going rate for therapy in NYC, but I imagine that a talented therapist could easily be worth $500. an hour to provide quality group therapy services...

    Are group support services... moderated by a licensed therapist... with malpractice insurance.... that steam cleans & sweeps a K9 through the room between every session... worth fifty dollars to the consumer is the more relevant question.

    This is more of a discussion of price point... What is a consumer willing to pay for a given service... Market forces would ultimately set the price. .. A therapist in an office has a limit on how many people they can see in a day... There are lots of other expenses such as telephones... people to answer those phones, computers, utilities ect ect

    If the groups were based on trained volunteers moderating a virtual support group... The cost of delivery for the service could be very low...

    You may also find that bed bug causes don't draw a lot of volunteers... unlike other causes... if we were all cute puppies... it would be a different matter

  31. BugShrink

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    Thu Aug 26 2010 6:58:55
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    Nobugs, you bring up a good point. I first thought of this group when I first got the BBs, and wished it existed for myself. But I knew then I was in no way ready to do it. A year into it, I'm in a very different "head space" about it all. And I've been working now with a number of patients who are in the first throes of crisis with their BBs. A year ago, when a patient talked about BBs, I got very anxious--scratching through the session, checking the chair after they left. But now it's different.

    I have found that my calm attitude about it--not that I am so Zen!--and my own process of getting there, has been useful for others.

    Doug, a publicly funded service would be great, especially for low-income people living in isolation. This is something that could be done at community centers across the city. But you're right about volunteers--it'd be tough to get a social worker or counselor who hasn't lived through BBs to do it. The "infectious disease" stigma is too great. (Too bad we don't get infested with puppies!) Maybe it could be a peer-led model, with untrained nonprofessionals who are BB survivors. They would need some supervision from a social worker at the site, on how to run a group and manage all the dynamics that come up, but it could work.

    Back to the fee issue, you're right Richard it's all about the value. Running a group is hard work. Not many therapists will do it because you have to manage 8 or 10 different personalities and there is always conflict, the dynamics shift from moment to moment, and it's your job to keep everyone safe, stay on track, while trying to build cohesion and meet the group's goals. And usually for an hour and a half.

    I think that a BB group would ultimately become a group about coping with loss of control. And the trauma of invasion. These are issues that go very deep into early life. The work could become quite intensive. That's where it becomes a psychotherapy group.

    So probably what the city needs are multiple "low threshold" community-based supportive groups, like at community centers. And then having therapists running higher threshold psychodynamic groups for people who want/need to do deeper work. Either way, the city needs some kind of plan to deal with the mental health issues of BBs.

  32. BugsInTO

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Thu Aug 26 2010 11:38:51
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    I have had a lot of help in the past on other issues from "self-help" groups. While these types of groups are theraputic, they aren't therapy. This forum is an excellent "self-help" type situation.

    The self-help group moderator is sometimes a paid professional, who helps to support the structure and functioning of the group, but the help comes from people sharing their knowledge and experiences.

    I prefer self-help because I think that in some situations the only way to get the real scoop on something is to hear from someone who has really been there. (i.e. advice from a Public Health rep. who hasn't ever lived with bedbugs and is hampered by the City guidelines on what they can say or not say, for instance, is only of limited value.)

    Maybe, BugShrink, you could find someplace to apply for funding to moderator a interactive internet self-help group? It could be something where you do a one-on-one telephone interview in advance to orient and screen the participant, and then the rest is done via Skype.

    A real theraputic support group could be for bedbug survivors with persistent on-going issues.
    I think meet-in-person protocols could be worked out. (A tiled room, metal chairs spaced apart, everyone bringing a XXL zip lock for their belongings. ) You can pick up bedbugs anywhere, and a properly prepared meeting with individuals who know all the precautions to take might be safer than the subway trip to get to the meeting.

  33. BugShrink

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Thu Aug 26 2010 17:19:53
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    BugsinTO, I think you're right--it would be safer than the subway! Funny how those of us who know the score, and how to take precautions, are the ones who get the stigma even though we're probably "safer" than the person you're next to at the movie theater, etc.

    I'm also going to look into the Skype group conferencing that many have suggested. It's something I am unfamiliar with it, so it's hard to imagine, but worth a try.

    Thanks.

  34. Ilovepink1908

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Thu Aug 26 2010 21:07:07
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    Hi all,
    So here's my two cents: I pretty much understand what everyone on here is saying. I understand what NoBugs is saying that GH should get over the problem first, but, I think that's kinda relative, too. I have a friend who's had really bad anxiety/emotional issues. And when I'm down, she's the person I prefer to talk to. For some reason, she gets it.

    GH, since you're a practitioner, don't you also accept insurance from some providers? In terms of behavioral health and the insurance company covering or charging a small copay. That may help end the money argument.

    I would completely support this group. I think in person would be better, but I could Skype because of my insane fear of picking bugs up again two years after God fixed the problem. I just wish I could go to someone for help for my PTSD. I don't know why it's flairing up these past two months, but I suspect that it's because of other stresses as well as the increase in bed bug related news stories (I'm a publicist--all I do is read and respond to news). I think it's a manifestation of sorts.

    Additionally, one of the above posters was right about us finding the root of the anxiety, it's not just the bugs even though it's a hard battle and depressing. I acknowledge that because I hear about normal people who had them long before they were hot (about 4-6 years ago). They bag, treat with PCO, go to sleep. Eventually, they get rid of them. And they don't have nervous breakdowns or see therapists or consider suicide. They do what they need to do and get over it. Done. I've been thinking that many of us on the board who aren't looking for initial/early information on the fight, helping others in their fight or curiosity are here because they're not the kind that follow the steps and it's over (hence the poster who mentioned that many were exposed to anxiety etc. prior to the bed bug ordeal). We're a different kind of sufferer. With that being said, I think there are more out there who need the help and the therapy--I know I do.

  35. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Sep 3 2010 18:46:43
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    Skype has rolled out a beta testing version of their group conference call software.

    Here is a link to an article.... The reporter experienced some problems with dropped calls along with some audio and video feed issues.

    http://www.baynews9.com/article/news/2010/september/146614/Group-video-calls-now-available-on-Skype

    I think this software will become a valuable tool for delivering cost effective support groups and small group education that will eliminate cross infestation issues and erase geographical boundaries... after the bugs are worked out.

  36. tisIsaidthefly

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Sep 3 2010 19:12:46
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    THIS is a support group and ALL anybody needs and best of all, it's FREE. Thank you very much to nobugsonme. I mean what are people going to do when they meet in person for fifty dollars apiece? HUG?

  37. Strabat

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Sep 3 2010 21:50:49
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    It would be extremely helpful in many respects.

  38. Eve

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Sep 3 2010 23:55:24
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    At this point $50 seems like petty cash (2 passive monitors actually). I wouldn't mind a therapist who could make me feel better about the fact that I feel pretty good. Be worth $50 and is not something this group provides.

    Eve

  39. kemnyc

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Sep 5 2010 19:06:19
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    Here's my take on the idea: it could be a program with two steps. You'd try to get people who were in similar stages of dealing with the problem - the first one could be all people who have just discovered the problem. In the first stage, it would be Skype or internet-based and focused on the practical aspects - sharing tips and resources, comparing quotes from PCOs, etc. Perhaps some brave souls would agree to meet each other to help each other through the practical aspects of dealing with the problem, but that would not be required.

    Then, as people successfully treated their bugs and felt a need to get together to discuss their feelings about it, that could be in person. By the time they met, they'd all know each others' stories and would probably be more able to trust that everyone was being careful.

    I do think there's an advantage to having something that is focused on one locality. I'm surprised how little I've found on this and other sites about specific resources - PCOs, stores that sell good products - in NYC, even though there's such a huge problem here. And it's nice for a support group if it can lead to people actually making friends that they might see outside of the group eventually - I know that happens for my friends who are in AA, and it makes the concept of going more appealing.

    I agree that finding people who are willing to pay the cost might be challenging, but that's no reason not to try it and see what the market will bear. There are enough people with money in NYC getting these now, that you might be able to do a sliding scale.

  40. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Sep 5 2010 21:12:27
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    KemNYC

    Thanks for input... You make some good points

    I am hoping that Skype group call software will help overcome a number of issues... a cost effective platform that can be accessed by anyone with a broadband connection to provide educational and support group services.

    I agree with BugShrink that face to face professional therapy is preferred... Fifty dollars is a reasonable fee for a professional therapist providing group services in an office setting.

    I think web based A/V conference calling will be one of the best ways to serve the people that are interested in a real time virtual support group.

    A low cost program that allows people to share their experiences with a group of peers and receive an educational intervention that will help them deal more effectively with the myriad of issues that accompany an infestation.

    Especially, for those populations that are geographically isolated or otherwise unable to attend a group meeting in person.

    This website already serves many of these needs... I think A/V group calls may be the next logical step.

  41. StupidlyBitten

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Oct 2 2010 0:02:06
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    bug-tired
    1. We admitted we were powerless over bedbugs - that our lives had become unmanageable.
    2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
    3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of our PCO, as we understood him..
    4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of all our belongings, washed and/or dried or packtited them all and put them in sealed ziplock bags.
    5. Admitted to our PCO, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our infestation.
    6. Were entirely ready to have our PCO remove all of our bedbugs.
    7. Humbly asked him to remove our bedbugs.
    8. Made a list of all persons we may have harmed (due to bedbug-obsession-induced-paranoid-insomnia), and became willing to make amends to them all.
    9. Made amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would infest them or others.
    10. Continued to take personal inventory of all our belongings with a flashlight and magnifying glass.
    11. Sought through onine research to improve our knowledge of bedbugs, searching only for knowledge of how to get rid of them and the power to carry that out.
    12. Having finally been rid of bed bugs a a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other bedbuggers and to practice packtite safety in all our affairs.

    OK, best laugh i've had in months! Yes I don't get out much


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