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Bed Bugs are destroying me, need advice and positivity..

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  1. stefix_101

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Oct 23 2014 16:00:52
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    My story began exactly a year ago. We live in an apartment and at the time it was my husband, sister-in-law, and I. I was only there for the summer, for I had to return to school in a different state. I had just left for school the last week of August, when my sister-in-law found bugs in her bed and looked online to figure out what they were and sure enough, they were bedbugs. When I was alerted about the situation, there was nothing I could since I was in a different state. My husband told me he would get it all taken care of. They alerted the landlord and within the next few days they had a PCO out here and they heat treated our entire apartment. Landlord paid for it this time, and had said no one else in the complex had reported bed bugs.

    My husband and sister-in-law hadn't seen anything until I had returned to my husband and I's apartment and my sister-in-law moved out. In August of this year I noticed bites on my husband and I assumed they were mosquito bites because we spend a lot of time outdoors during the summer. At the end of September, I had gotten out of the shower and found three live adult bed bugs huddled in a seem of our bedsheet!

    I immediately had a panic attack. I was hyperventilating and couldn't stop crying. My husband was there to comfort me, but at this point there was no comforting. I had read SO MANY horror stories online about how people fight these for YEARS and spend thousands of dollars on treatments and throwing way expensive furniture and still suffering with bedbugs. All I could think about was why me? Where did they come from? Are we going to go broke? What now?
    We inspected our mattress and box spring as soon as we saw the first three. We found 2 more live ones, and 2 dead ones. Along with a couple patches of eggs. And they were only on the mattress. AS WE COULD SEE. We didn't see any signs of them in our box spring.
    So we alerted our landlord and by the next day we had someone out here to inspect. The night before the guy came to spray, I found one crawling on my blanket while I was laying under it. I started having a panic attack and my husband was away for work so I had no one to calm me down. It was awful.

    I had saved the adult bugs I found in a bag as proof for the inspector. He didn't find anything while he was here, but I must say, he didn't look very hard. But since I had proof, they decided to do a chemical treatment this time. He was only going to the bedroom because he thought it was a light infestation but because I was paranoid and didn't want to skimp out, I made him do the living room/hallways, bedroom, bathroom and our office. Costed us $750. I had to tear my entire apartment apart. Bagged all linen and put every single thing in the dryer that I could. If I knew it wouldn't melt, into the dryer it went for at least 20 min.

    I bought mattress and pillow encasements from bed bath and beyond. Spent $160 on them (SleepSafe Brand, if anyone can give me experiences with these I'd like to hear. I want to make sure I bought good ones). I bought a bed frame to get our bed off the floor. I heard about the ClimbUp bowls that go under the feet of the frame, but I didn't want to spend over $40 since my bed frame has 9 feet! So I made my own. 4 inch tall plastic bowls with talcum powder in them. (If any of you have advice on those as well, please help.) All of our furniture is away from the walls, and nothing touches our bed. I have been reading other threads about people keeping their clothes in plastic bags for months before putting them back in their drawers and I didn't do that. So now, I am freaking out thinking that I just messed everything up!!

    Anyway, after the guy treated our apartment, he came back in 7 days to do a follow up inspection. Once again, he didn't find anything but didn't look very hard. While he was here treating, he said he didn't see ONE bug. Nothing came out of the box spring, the walls, any of our furniture. He said that when he treats he normally always sees at least 2-3 running away. Even though he didn't search very hard during inspections, he said he really looked into the box spring and didn't see anything. I try to think of this as good news, but my negativity strikes back and says that doesn't matter, they could still be anywhere.

    During that time, we also had seen anything or had gotten bit. We had to return to our home state for an emergency for a week and I made sure that everything we brought with us was ran through the dryer and treated (Including luggage). While we were home, we didn't see anything or acquired bites (I had fears that we brought them with us).

    We've been home for about 2 weeks now and I haven't seen any bed bugs, and neither my husband and I have had bites. But now that I have lived this, I now think everything I see is a sign of a bed bug. Since the treatment I put all our bed linens in the dryer once a week (including pillows) and I check the encasements as well as my home made traps for spots/skins. I haven't found anything in the traps, but since we returned home I have noticed two dark spots on the zipper of the mattress encasement. I don't know if they were from the inside or out.
    I check the bed and linens twice daily (before bed and in the morning). I sometimes find little brown/black flakes. They are super tiny, the size of a pen head. They break apart really easily. They remind me of pieces of fall leaves. I also have noticed that our washer is starting to rust and is flaking off into the drum of the washer. These flakes look/feel like what I find in the bed. I don't know if they are being transported form washer to dryer and then to our sheets but it's freaking me out.
    We also have cats, and I think maybe they laid in something and then brought it onto our bed??

    To end a long story, I am sick to my stomach DAILY. I think about bed bugs ALL DAY LONG. I can't catch peace. I don't enjoy anything anymore. I feel uncomfortable in my home. I want to burn everything we own. It's effecting my husband and I's relationship because I make him check for bites in front of me, and I'm always telling to him keep stuff off the floor and bed and to make sure our blankets don't touch the floor.....
    I am losing my mind, and cry all the time. I'm afraid to go to bed.
    I think that they're living in my pjs, I'm afraid they're living in the actual dryer. I fear they're everywhere!! But I can't live like that! I can't constantly tear my entire apartment apart every day just to look for them! I don't know what to do!
    Is it too soon to be freaking out? The treatment was exactly a month ago. Have I given it enough time? We've been fighting them for a whole year now, and still have no idea till this day where they came from...

    For all those who read this long story, thank you. Please share some positive light or some good advice!
    ---

  2. ThisTooShallTotallyPass

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Oct 23 2014 16:55:15
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    One of the best things I did was to stop obsessively reading about bed bugs. I pored over this site enough to be thoroughly informed, and there was a point in which obsessing on the subject was actually self-de

  3. ThisTooShallTotallyPass

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Oct 23 2014 16:58:55
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    Accidentally posted that prematurely.. I was saying that there was a point, at least for me, in which continuing to obsess over bb's every waking minute was causing way more harm than good. Breathe, keep moving forward, cry when you need to, release bad feelings that come up, and be aware that you are ok. The fear is the problem..

  4. Daylight

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Oct 23 2014 17:52:55
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    Hi Stefix,

    I'm sorry you are going through this ordeal, and I understand that you are upset. Try not to let yourself get overwhelmed. You can arm yourself with knowledge and learn the ways to fight these bugs.

    Read the forum FAQ's and the Useful Tools sections to gain insight on how to deal with a variety of associated concerns. There are informative videos also. There are inspiring success stories on the forum too posted by people who have gotten rid of the bugs.

    I see where you have cats that get near your bed--if they have claws, be careful that they do not tear your encasements.
    If they do, you would have to tape up the tears very securely.

    Good luck and try to take it easy. The FAQ's will give you ideas on how to handle this situation. Read them and they will help you organize a plan to address your concerns. If you need more information or clarification, begin a new thread with your specific question.

    I hope you feel better soon. Keep the faith.

  5. BurnThisPlaceDown

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Oct 23 2014 19:24:06
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    Hey There!

    I read your post on my phone during a work break, and felt compelled to log in from home and respond. I know exactly what you are going through. You sound a lot like me. Although I am admittedly a newbie to dealing with bedbugs, I did have train wreck of a time with fleas several years ago that left me in sheer panic and tears every night. The jerks were literally EVERYWHERE, multiplying like bunnies, and neither I nor my father could afford proper treatment for an entire month.

    But enough about me. Let's talk about you.

    My husband told me he would get it all taken care of.

    My husband was there to comfort me

    It sounds like your husband is wonderful and supportive. That is truly something to be glad for. I hate to pitch the cliche 'count your blessings' mojo, but it's much better to have someone to count on through this mess than to be completely isolated. Continue to lean on him and share your feelings about this experience. He can keep you grounded while you begin to recover.

    We've been home for about 2 weeks now and I haven't seen any bed bugs, and neither my husband and I have had bites.

    That's GREAT news, even if it doesn't feel like it after a year-long fight! My next treatment cycle is coming up tomorrow, and although my bites have lessened, I still notice at least 10-15 new bites per day, and my infestation was considered 'light' by the PCO's standards (I haven't seen a single bug since the first treatment.) It's looking good for you comparatively!

    It's effecting my husband and I's relationship because I make him check for bites in front of me, and I'm always telling to him keep stuff off the floor and bed and to make sure our blankets don't touch the floor.....

    You are being safe and he should support that approach, especially if you've been bite-free for two weeks: you must be doing something right!

    It sounds like you are in a better situation now than you were a year ago. Take that as a small victory! Keep up your efforts in monitoring the situation, but do not let it bog you down. Take time for yourself to drink some wine, watch a funny movie, and generally put out of your mind what you can't change right now. The fight must be taken a day at a time, and although it seemingly requires a obsessive level of compartmentalization to successfully move forward, rest assured you're not going to deal with this the rest of your life.

    Like Daylight said, read some of the success stories to gain a bit of optimism and perspective. It really helps me when I'm feeling hopeless. Cry when you need to, laugh when you can, and keep your eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel. You will get your normal life back again, and you will be stronger and more diligent in the end!

  6. theyareoutthere

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Oct 23 2014 20:16:24
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    I need to go back and reread your post and think of something meaningful to say. It seems like you have a lot of support in your life. I hope you smile when you read my message of positivity....

    http://www.despair.com/positivity.html

    Some people are just wired to worry more...to have extreme anxiety. Cognitive behavior therapy helped me. You might not need it, but there may options if you can't get past the anxiousness. Sometimes getting out and doing things you love and being with people you enjoy is the only way to get over it.

    BTW, a lot of PMPs don't have people bag clothese. Don't worry about that as a major issue, but maybe one of the experts can confirm that not every situation calls for bagged clothes.

    Good luck.

    They
    Are
    Out
    There
    = TAOT
  7. ThisTooShallTotallyPass

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Oct 23 2014 21:26:28
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    Another suggestion: find some yogic breathing and yoga for anxiety videos and give yourself the gift of calming the nervous system down.

    I was so overwhelmingly upset with fear over the critters I was borderline suicidal. When we are anxious, we start breathing shallowly which cuts off oxygen flow to the brain, and the anxiety gets worse.

    I started practicing yoga outside because a friend wanted me to teach him some techniques for pain relief, and suddenly I went from a state of intense neurotic, ruminating panic to being able to see that everything in that moment was fine.

    It made a big difference for me. Just sharing the experience in case it's useful. I can recommend specific techniques if you like.

  8. theyareoutthere

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu Oct 23 2014 22:05:35
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    Great point about breathing. There are some great breathing MP3 downloads out there if you even just need to be able to do it at home, or if it's warm enough outside.

    Walking meditations such as described in Wherever You Go There You are is what works for me. There are times in my life where it needs to be an active meditation.

  9. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri Oct 24 2014 1:35:01
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    We've been home for about 2 weeks now and I haven't seen any bed bugs, and neither my husband and I have had bites. But now that I have lived this, I now think everything I see is a sign of a bed bug. Since the treatment I put all our bed linens in the dryer once a week (including pillows) and I check the encasements as well as my home made traps for spots/skins. I haven't found anything in the traps, but since we returned home I have noticed two dark spots on the zipper of the mattress encasement. I don't know if they were from the inside or out.

    It sounds like you're in a good position and a little more time with clear monitors will reassure you.

    Post a photo of the black stains on the encasement and maybe an expert here can ID it. Is it possible they were there before?

    The dark specks/black flecks don't sound bed bug-related.

    Others gave great advice about destressing and trying not to think about bed bugs so much. You're likely clear or almost clear of bed bugs. Be positive. You will get through this.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  10. Daylight

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Fri Oct 24 2014 10:26:51
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    Here's a nice thread with some relaxing and fun posts to get your mind off the bb's:

    http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/stress-busters

  11. hopelessnfreakigout

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Nov 3 2014 0:23:45
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    I liked all your replies. Stress management is great advice and yet I understand the need for piece of mind. If your action steps don't give you satisfaction doing meditation or focusing on your breath for 20+ mins might be a good way to take care of your body. I think once time passes by you will start to feel better. I am a madhatter every now and then, but I'm getting a little better at self care by redirecting my mind. Thats said, Bugs in your place would mean bites if your body is accessible. Usually they stop only when restricted if i remember from working in community housing. Thats a good thing. Understsnding the mechanics of anxietybhelps me when i lose it: Usually anxiety is supposed to be relieved through an action as a biological function like running from a lion and the trigger is that he can eat you with his teeth. As someone with chronic pain I understand anxiety that never loses its trigger and it's a drag but the strength you'll get once your through has value too. Meditation and breaking your thought pattern as othersoon suggested is perfect. Help you recharge and prevent further burnout. Sometimes there is no way out. Try redirecting your thought to following your breath in and out for 30 mins a day and see how you feel. I wrote my first post as an anxious mess a couple hours ago so i am talking as a person who is still coping and drifts back into obsession each time i think of my car. I totally get imy he madness. I don't think I will ever look at fabric and seats the same way again no matter how long i meditate. Or not quiver if someone in public bumps up against me. Some people get traumatized by this and its valid in my opinion as a fellow traumatized person. Loving yourself through the process is key. You have a good survival instinct against preditors. If you were in the walking dead show you might survive. Goodluck and check in! Your post comforted me. Its nice to know I'm not alone!

  12. hopelessnfreakigout

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Nov 3 2014 0:43:07
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    Ps. So you don't think I have a tiny issue compared to a home inFestation, do know I abandoned an apartment after a 5 month fight and spread them to another place! Did a stint of Homelessness (at a friends) while paying rent by legal obligation. I did have these in my bed like the rest of us, not just in my car. Tossed out everything. 3 book shelves worth of books. Electronics. All new furniture garbage. I couldn't handle the chance. did this while walking my partner through cancer surgery with a 30% chance of death. I thought this could be the end for us and it was emerged in bed bugs, devastation and sheer terror in every way and all my savings eaten by these costs and the time wasted. I really understand how this traumatized people. Though this could be your ticket to amazing self dicipline around axiety and le voila, you'll get something from the experience. Maybe try steaming for an hour a day as prevention maintenance to feel better and empowered. Maybe the action might help your psyche if you're anything like me. Cheers and Goodluck!

  13. tryingalso

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Mon Nov 10 2014 21:06:45
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    Big hugs to you, stefix_101, and it sounds like you are rid of the bb's. Doing something enjoyable that turns the brain off (a sport, exercise, listening to uplifting or soothing music, doing some arts and crafts) can help in stopping anxious thoughts, because the activity in your brain is doing something else.

    It also helps, if you find yourself feeling anxious again, to focus on something else to turn that anxiety off - focus on a pretty flower and just observe it's color, size, etc, listen to the sounds of nature and just observe (meditating on something by simply observing it with any or all of your senses, even your own breathe).

    Also, change takes some time, so accepting that it's ok to feel worried that something which was painful to you may return is natural and normal can help. As time goes on, and you see that you don't have bb's, the level of anxiety can decrease until you feel back to your usual self.

    And when it's through, you can feel some further relief by sharing what finally worked to get rid of the bb's in your home so that others can do the same.


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