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

Bed bug shell shock

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  1. bedbuggery

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Mar 20 2010 21:20:36
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    I have been BB free for about 19 months and yes, I still have a newfound strong physical reaction to flea and mosquito bites. I also still have what is apparently permanent shower urticaria. My skin is still destroyed and I have little "scars" that look like freckles and what looks like a fresh pin prick on my inner wrist that has been there since I got the bugs.

    The issue I would like to bring up, however, is the PTSD that my counselor mentioned may be a result.
    There are two types of PTSD, short and long. The first happens to people when their life is risked or a love one dies. The second mostly happens to people in war, hence the term "shell shock." It occurs due to serious or prolonged trauma. For me, getting bit was potentially very dangerous with my allergy and I seem to still suffer from the symptoms a long while later.

    Here is a fact sheet;
    https://health.google.com/health/ref/Post-traumatic+stress+disorder

    I very curious about PTSD cases expanding in the last couple of years due to BBs.

    Personally, I still worry about being bit as it could be very dangerous or fatal for me.
    On a much smaller scale, it's like coming home from a war and knowing that there are snipers on rooftops in your city..... very disconcerting.

    The mental battle may be far from over for many. Find someone to talk to. Wave a sign in your street. Whatever you have to do to get support.

  2. freakedoutandbroke

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Thu Mar 25 2010 23:36:30
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    Interestingly, when I first discovered the bugs, I remembered an analogy given by someone speaking at my husband's "reintegration" training when he came back from Iraq. He compared PTSD to suddenly seeing a real face appear in the wall. Not a hallucination, but an actual face that talks to you, you can verify it's real, and then it disappears. Suddenly, you are no longer living in a world where you can trust the walls NOT to grow faces and talk at you. Your world is completely different, your expectations shift, everything shifts.

    That truly is a bit how I felt... maybe still feel. I used to live in a world where I could shop at thrift stores and garage sales, go to movie theaters, sit in a bus or a restaurant booth, go to the laundromat, visit a friend's home, or stay in a hotel without expecting to see or be bitten by a bedbug. I lived in that world 29 years. Now I live in a different world, one where the walls can sprout faces, and bedbugs hide everywhere.

  3. wchicago

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Mar 26 2010 14:32:02
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    i agree that perception changes.
    mine has not changed anywhere near the severity of ptsd, but it has definitely changed to be more neurotically paranoid.
    a recent example. . .saw a movie with some friends last week at a charming vintage movie house (music box, for chicagoans keeping score at home). as one friend is driving me home, i realize something has bitten my legs while we were in the theater. i of course, decide it must be bedbug bites (even though -as my friend points out- it doesn't follow my normal bed bug bite pattern of delayed responding, but of course, there is no reasoning with me at this point, i have decided it was a bed bug). therefore, i take my very very good natured friend into mylaundry room/basement. insist we both strip down and throw our clothes into the dryer on hot for 30 minutes. i have clean clothes already in the dryer -he, of course, does not. he is over 6 feet tall and 235 lbs. i am 5'5 and 120 lbs. i find yoga pants of mine that miraculously will stretch enough to be wearable albeit super tight knee length pants on him - pants that after seeing them on him -will forever be known to us as "the sexxaaay pants" -and yes, they were accompanied by an appropriately sexxaaay dance amidst much hysterical laughter while we waited for the dryer to heat our real clothes enough to be debugged. have i mentioned he is a very very good natured friend?
    and yes of course, the bite on my leg faded almost to nothingness the next day - meaning it was not a bed bug bite after all.
    point being - my brief bout with bed bugs has made me actually a little insane. hopefully temporarily, but perhaps not. i was lucky in that i was with a friend of over a dozen years who is good natured enough to roll with my insanity if it will reduce my post bed bug anxiety. i cannot imagine having to deal with a "potential exposure" with someone i didn't know that well. what does that mean? i can't go to the movie with new friends, only friends i've had long enough to like me in spite of the new crazy? how will i ever date again?
    i know this is a silly post, but it has an actual question at the end - for those of you who have been post-bedbugs awhile. . .how long did it take for the crazy to fade?

  4. Beth

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Mar 27 2010 11:48:22
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    yes, ptsd, battle fatigue is what I am experiencing. "scorched earth" seemed so much more plausible before putting all this effort into saving my stuff (have lost about 3/4's though including accidentally my baby pictures and recent journal and favorite piece of art). ptsd from the asthma attacks I have woken up with and living like a sterile monk w/ nothing but a candle and shadeless lamps on my shelves and no couch/cushioned chair. I actually don't know what living normal will be like anymore.

    It never fails, wash my blankets and bite free for 2-6 days, then whammo. And I have NO laundry here. Spring is here and I want to enjoy it darnet. Instead I am inside vacuuming and steaming or at the laundromat spending exorbitant amounts on drying.

    -------------

    amy

  5. soscared

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Mar 27 2010 12:06:17
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    I know I'd rather have bed bugs than go to Iraq.

  6. Beth

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Mar 27 2010 13:34:52
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    it really depends. when we're talking possible life-threatening allergic reactions, sleep deprivation induced mental illness, losing all your belongings and in my case, a pet death possibly caused by toxic exposure to pesticides, really not far off from war. I've had my share of trauma, including homelessness, a near death experience, acute encephalopathic Lymes Disease and physical abuse. Bed bugs rank right up there.

  7. freakedoutandbroke

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Jul 12 2010 8:31:49
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    SoScared: my hubby had to go to Iraq AND deal with bed bugs there! (he told me at the time it was "sand fleas"... HA) But I guess when he had to deal with convoys, his base being mortared, etc. the bugs were not such a big deal.

  8. bedbuggery

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Oct 17 2010 22:54:22
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    I have my own theory to add to the PTSD story which is that having had repeated anaphylactic attacks for a couple of months at one point ( it was like a chain reaction where my immune system went haywire) I now think I developed some neurological dysfunction possibly from a sort of immuno-encephalitis. The thing that helped my symptoms (weakness, shakiness, weight loss) was running every morning for a couple of months.

  9. nycyn

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sun Oct 17 2010 23:34:19
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    I logged in just for this: To compare bed bug anxiety to combat PTSD is (taking BIG breath) just (exhale) plain wrong. It's just wrong. Please!

    Where's the narcotics thread? (weak smile; very weak smile)

  10. SearchandDestroy

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Oct 19 2010 20:45:06
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    In general yes..but I think the original poster really worried about having a full on attack from the bites..just like someone who is deathly allergic to peanuts or bees perhaps. THAT can be compared to a warzone I think..where your life is at risk. The rest of us, well...we're just dealing with bugs and anxiety.

  11. nycyn

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Oct 19 2010 22:32:57
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    The rest of us, well...we're just dealing with bugs and anxiety.

    Please don't generalize.

    Meanwhile:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urticaria

    Tough, very tough, but not life threatening.

    However there is a parasite--I don't know the name and I haven't thought about it in a long time. I nearly forgot about it until I reread the OP's post where "shower" was mentioned. Once upon a time I knew somebody (I don't even remember who) who could not take a shower without skin inflammation as if she was allergic to water even.

    There is some kind of difficult to find hardly known parasite that causes this kind of misery when the host bathes.

    Lou?

  12. nycyn

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Oct 19 2010 22:36:31
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    Aww man. Now everybody has PTSD? Then "Hello I must be going!" Heck, maybe incest survivors who can't remember a thing are here as well; but hey, there are therapists to help you resurrect those memories.

  13. 123bugs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Oct 20 2010 0:14:12
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    I just recently heard a very interesting radio show on a new brain-training technique that they have developed that they are having remarkable success with for PTSD sufferers. Also OCD sufferers. And they hope to be apply it to Schizophrenia cases - particularly people in the very early stages. It sounded very promising. No drugs - well the people might be on whatever medication, but the technique itself doesn't involve drugs. Tres cool......... very exciting that could help so many people


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