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

Need Some Reassurance

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  1. chrissy0218

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Feb 22 2017 18:27:42
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    I am wondering if anyone who has dealt and solved their bed bug problem could help me. I have posted here before, only in a panicked manner thinking I had brought bugs with me to my dorm room when I moved back for spring semester. As mentioned previously, I had a bed bug problem in my house when I moved back for winter break. Most likely they came from a suitcase I had used to transport all of my clothes home, and after my thorough cleaning and treating of everything in that room - I am pretty sure they are gone at my house. I also treated everything and bagged everything I brought back with me to school (and most of that stuff are still in plastic boxes). So, in short, my situation was very mild.

    I am proud and relieved to say that there are none in my dorm room, as it has been two months and I have not received any bites, not seen any fecal droppings, and not seen any cast skins or actual bugs themselves. However, even though I am certain there are none in my room - I am still having highly irrational thoughts and fears about getting bed bugs again.

    Has anyone dealt with these irrational fears? I have bad anxiety already, and dealing with bed bugs over winter break just tipped me to my breaking point. I am terrified of sitting in fabric chairs, sofas, or anything of the sort in public places now. I’m terrified of going to the movies and accidentally bringing one home with me. I can’t even sit in my lectures without inspecting the seats and shaking off my coat and backpack when the lecture is over. I just want my life to go back to normal and not have to think about these annoying little insects all the time.

    Maybe someone can quell my fears by saying how likely it is to pick up a bug just from a public area during the daytime? How have you dealt with life after bed bugs? Do you inspect everything you come into contact with now? I live in a university setting in a small town, so there is a lot of traffic in and out of the area. I also live in the dorms in a building that houses roughly 500 students, so that obviously doesn't help my fears either. But, I have gone nearly 20 years of my life without encountering these bugs before, so I am trying to keep telling myself that I will be okay.

    I should also mention that I am trying to get into counseling services to help with my thoughts, as I know there is a component of behavior modification that needs to be addressed along with my anxiety. But any help or reassurance is gladly welcomed. Please help ease my mind!

  2. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Feb 22 2017 19:34:03
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    Hi,

    Yes, this is a scenario that we do encounter, someone finding it hard to let go of anxiety and fear of bed bugs and thus impacting their daily lives. This is driven in part from the fact that they are themselves triggers of anxiety and tend to have a lot of negative associations such as unclean or dirty which reinforce the issue rather than help you process those feelings.

    Often it can help to simply understand this and to use the CBT methods of mindfulness to avoid falling too far into that well. You will find some information about this here:

    http://www.bed-bugs.co.uk/schrodingersbedbug

    It is also not helpful to look at things in terms of "risk of" picking up again but to prepare and plan so you know what your strategy is to detect early and resolve if the issue is brought in again.

    To give you a more suitable analogy, I have been on many first aid courses and have kits in my kitchen, my bathroom, a work bag and my vehicle. I do that because I want to be able to quickly and efficiently respond to an issue not because I want an incident to occur. I plan, I prepare and this I don't have a to panic because I know what to do.

    When I work with Hotels this is the biggest hidden benefit to what we do. We remove that culture of panic and fear that usually results in a cycle of front of house blaming house keeping who in turn blame maintenance. By realigning people perspectives and given them tasks and processes we empower them to take charge and resolve issues.

    It does not mean that people become entophiles and go off in search of insects to study but it does remove a lot of the anxiety and panic.

    Yes its easier to say that than to do it but sometimes knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel is enough to drive you towards getting there.

    If you do find a therapist to work with can I recommend they read "An infested mind: why people love, loath and fear insects". While the bed bug content is not exceptional the wider analysis of entophobes is something I found very helpful, even after 14 years experience when I read it.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

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    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about products.
  3. Poiqm

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Feb 22 2017 22:36:34
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    Chrissy,

    First... here's a HUG.

    I am in a similar state as yourself so I don't have experienced advice for how to get through it. I'm doing my best for the moment that I'm in. Counseling would be really helpful for you. And I agree whole heartedly with David that it's very important to have a plan of action to handle the situation IF you pick up a bug somewhere.

    Also try and think of them as "just bugs". That's all they are and a bite or two is no big deal. We don't freak out when a mosquito bites us do we? Think of your strengths now... you have been through an infestation, you are an experienced warrior who knows what to do to get rid of them. You're probably a lot better off than you think.

    I don't know how we get through this but I'm determined. My plan is to get counseling and also to force myself to stop looking for bugs when I'm out in the world. (Fear can be self-rewarding and addictive so we have to consciously manage our behavior to break the cycle.) I'll still look initially, yes, but I will make myself stop. And my home will forever be set up as a safe place for me, aka bed bug kill zone.

    Hang in there. Get counseling. Talk to people.

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  4. chrissy0218

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Feb 23 2017 21:18:42
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    Thank you to both of you for your insightful responses - I really appreciate it.
    David, the article about the Schrodinger's Bed Bug was incredibly helpful - that is me to a T. And what you said about switching the mindset of risking picking up something again to having a plan of action in the event of another incident is helpful as well. I hadn't thought of it that way.
    Poiqm, thank you for your insight. I feel you and I are in a similar boat and I agree with the fear can be self-rewarding and addictive statement. I think with time (and most likely counseling) I will become a lot better.
    Thank you both again for your responses!


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