Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Tales of Bed Bug Woe

University Student, and stressed

(27 posts)
  1. sleepyeyes

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Thu Oct 18 2007 20:52:23
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    I hear everyone. I am a student in psychology, and aside from my studies being severely affected by the recent outbreak of BB's at my house, I am interested in the psychological distress we are all under... Does anyone else feel traumatized? All I think about is "are there BB's here? Is that one? Did I bring one with me? What if my house is reinfested?" I don't seem to hear much positive things, and I am afraid to sleep at home at night. I constantly feel like crying, and no one seems to really understand- just yesterday I saw a bug on my bed (I sprayed two days ago), and starting freaking out. I called my friend and started bawling- he asked "Did you not do everything I told you to?"
    Want to know how he told me to deal with them? Oh, well, vaccuum, clean everything, and that should get rid of it. When I start crying about a bug I had seen, he laughed at me... I guess I must have lost perspective, but all I want to do at this point is run away. I have trouble feeling safe... Exams, essays and life calls still. We need a bedbug awareness campaign!

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Fri Oct 19 2007 0:16:29
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    Yes we do, sleepy. Sorry for your trouble. We do understand. And it definitely causes psychological distress. Some Bedbuggers have sought therapy and reported good results. Some have had relationships end over their different perspectives (for example, she's bitten and losing it, he's not and thinks she's crazy). It is seriously stressful. But it will pass.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. tlmedlin5

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Fri Oct 19 2007 11:34:59
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    I feel the same way. I was exposed to bed bugs at a hotel a week ago. Since then, I can't sleep..or if I do it's for a very short amount of time. I have these nightmares that these bugs are biting me or crawling in my ears. All throughout the day I ge the feeling that there are bugs on me and itching me all over. It's a horrible experience to go through. I am so scared that this is not over with and somehow i've managed to bring these bugs back home with me. What have you found that helps ease this anxiety? No one seems to understand me.

  4. insomnia

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Fri Oct 19 2007 11:49:03
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    Sleepy, I feel your pain. Here are my stages:
    1. Lights on....don't close your eyes...
    2. Lights on...check sheets/bed every hour with extra flashlight in bed
    3. Lights on...wake at 2:50am each night (because they come out at 3am, right?) I'm still subconsciously waking around 3am
    4. Terrified: what sleep I do get is filled with Nightmares/ daytime--creepy crawlies
    5. Determined: PCO treats, clean, vacuum, encase bed's, wash/dry/wash/dry/dry/dry...
    6. Cranky: (no sleep) yelling at all household members breaching bed security (pillow/blanket touching floor, etc.)
    7. Anxiety-filled: dread coming home
    8. Confident....no bites for awhile....we did it....can sleep now!!
    9. Shattered....bites...what next? Uncontrolable feelings of helplessness...sobbing... (go back to stage 1)
    It most definitely is trauma...and frankly I'm not sure I'll ever reach the confident stage again. Paranoria and fear may persist for awhile. My husband deals differently--at first he was the warrior--helping prepare the home for battle. Now, he's in denial...but at least he sleeps.
    Just know this...you are not crazy...others here are experiencing the same! Hang in there.....who knows...a paper revealing the psychological trauma from bb's could make for a great published thesis!

  5. cantdealanymore

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Fri Oct 19 2007 13:22:21
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    trauma is not the word.
    what you just wrote above is basically my life. My boss caught me under my desk with a flashlight because I SWORE I saw something. Our office REEKED of Steri Fab because I would spray my chair down 5 or 6 times a day. Now I just sit on a metal stool.
    It is a bit embarassing.
    Before my sofa eventually surrendered to the beasts, I would pick lint off it with tweezers to see if it was specks of blood or lint. My parents are ready to have me committed. My friends think I am insane. I found a dead on IN MY BRA the other day.
    I threw up.
    TRAUMA is not the word.

  6. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Fri Oct 19 2007 15:19:08
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    Cantdeal,

    Do your friends know you found a dead one in your bra?!? Clearly you are not insane.

    I read an article in Prevention Magazine recently. It suggested that people who survive horrific life experiences (and I mean much worse things than bed bugs: rape, cancer, losing a child) -- that the people who do survive and thrive later do so by somehow remaking themselves. The article suggested they became a new person in some sense. They got stronger. They turned their energies outward.

    I know bed bugs are not like those experiences, but I think the lesson is useful, and I have seen people do it here--for example, becoming bed bug experts and sharing advice with others seems to get some through this. That's one way. Not for everyone.

    You could also try to displace your stress onto something else while you go through the necessary treatment process. Start jogging? Lifting weights? Singing lessons? Learning French? Once the initial prep is over (I do not suggest taking up a new hobby before that!) you need to distract yourself. Why not do something positive you enjoy.

    You will survive this. It will go away. And you will be forever changed by the process, but not in negative ways. I promise.

    Be kind to yourself. And try to put it in perspective. Our ancestors (pre-1945) ALL suffered from this at one point. Some probably all their lives. Look at the amazing things they did anyway. Thank goodness we can fight them like they can't, but they lived and had babies and built cities and nations. The Pyramids and Mount Rushmore and Library of Alexandria were built by people who had bed bugs.

    You can sleep with the light on, and you can check your seat as often as you like. You can see a therapist (many have found this helpful), and don't let anyone tell you you are crazy. If your friends do not understand show them the bug sample you catch. If they still do not understand, talk to us. We do.

  7. paulaw0919

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Fri Oct 19 2007 17:06:18
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    Once all said and done...I would like to know how families do it...If it were just me and my husband I would live very sparingly. BUt what about the children.
    1) DO I not buy stuff for them in sake of clutter. 3 kids, how can there NOTbe clutter.
    All will be swiped away from them all over again????
    2) No one was ever to answer this one..HOW does one function after this???
    Going out to the mall, public places, family restaurants etc...the only way to prevent bugs coming back intothe house would be strip and change before getting into the car on the way home?? Afterall, most of never knew we were exposed to begin with, right?
    3) I want to teach my children to explore and reach for goals, but ow can I when I can't even take them to a movie or sit at the diner w/o constant fear of bringin them home? This is truly catastrophic is the word I finally found for this...

  8. insomnia

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Fri Oct 19 2007 20:32:24
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    Nobugs--so well said.
    Paula, I've read your posts and I truly empathize. I can't imagine having small children and going through this ordeal. (it's tough enough with one teen at home) This weekend we had to explain the rules to our older son who was home visiting. I'm holding onto the belief that there is a greater good....what? I have no clue. Sounds crazy, but I've seen crazy stuff. Your caution raising your children may seem extreme, but maybe...just maybe..it will help them in some unforeseen way down the road. I applaud your awareness in not wanting to pass down too much fear, but a little fear may not be bad.
    Sleepy, I failed to mention the most important stage....Perspective. Nobugs reminded me that when I feel completely helpless, I do remember things that seem much worse...friend who has a brain tumor, friend who lost a child, other friend with 4 children going through a nasty divorce...... while I would trade bb's for a lot of things.....there are others going through much worse. On a brighter note....laugh. When all seems impossible...just laugh. I loved your post because I continue to catch lint with double-sided tape. I laugh when I tell my family...there's no more "five second rule" in the house. If you drop food, it's in the trash......somehow that's funny! And laughter is theraputic!

  9. insomnia

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Fri Oct 19 2007 20:40:13
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    Can't deal.....this too shall pass. Meanwhile, we really understand!! And I mean really....it's 9.40pm and anxiety is already creeping in because bedtime is quickly approaching. In fact, I've been too still at this computer....gotta move. I do a little dance while getting ready in the morning. Keep my feet moving so nothing decides to join my morning routine. I look into the mirror...it's really funny..Hang in there...it will get better!

  10. tlmedlin5

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sat Oct 20 2007 14:25:28
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    we are all strong! we can do this! thanks for all the upbeat messages..it keeps me going and optimistic!

  11. bitchyandscratchy

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sat Oct 20 2007 15:11:03
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    Sleepyeyes, I've been all over this site for weeks now, but yours is the first post I've responded to because I'm in complete meltdown right now. (I'm crying as I'm typing this, actually). I had my first PCO treatment three days ago, washed, dryed and bagged all my clothes (ruining some because I collect vintage clothing and not all of it stood up to the heat) and have been staying with my boyfriend who was a safe zone, or so I thought. I woke up at his place this morning with two bites and now I'm not sure if I got them from my place (I stopped by here last night to do some clean up) or if I've now infested his apartment. He's been an absolute angel throughout this whole ordeal. He's not allergic to the bites; he's slept over here plenty of nights where I wake up with lots of bites and he has none, so that may help contribute to his calm. But if I unwittingly brought them over to his place, I'll never forgive myself. Plus we are now planning to move to Philly and if I bring these goddamn bugs there with us I'm going to have to be committed. I'm in the process of bagging up and throwing away most of my belongings and it makes me so sad saying goodbye to my life's memories up to this point. I know it's just stuff, and I'm trying to keep that in perspective, but damn. And I don't know where to draw the line as far as how much to trash. The PCO told me he didn't think I had a serious infestation, but 3 days later I'm bit. And I don't know where. Home? Boyfriend's home? Boyfriends car? Work? It's a huge mindfuck. I moved to NYC 7 years ago, and it has has progessively gone from bad to worse and this experience has been the icing on the cake. Yet, all the other things I could leave behind; this problem might follow me wherever I go. At least you're working towards a psychology degree, that should help give you an edge on how to deal with the freakout factor with bedbugs. All my fashion design degree has done for me is let me know that I'm going to either wind up with a $1000 drycleaning bill or ruin all my clothes by washing them. Good luck to you, and to everyone else here suffering these little bastards.

  12. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sun Oct 21 2007 23:28:09
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    Paula said:

    "No one was ever to answer this one..HOW does one function after this???
    Going out to the mall, public places, family restaurants etc...the only way to prevent bugs coming back intothe house would be strip and change before getting into the car on the way home?? Afterall, most of never knew we were exposed to begin with, right?"

    Paula, your situation has been a total nightmare. You have been so persistent and had such a terrible time. Unusually so, really. It is expected that your perception of the world right now would be that bed bugs are everywhere. This is totally understandable based on your recent experience. Those darn things would not go.

    But those who have gotten past bed bugs will tell you, they are not everywhere. You did not pick up bed bugs in many different places. You got them once and they would not go away easily. From our exchanges, it sounded like you had a pretty good idea where you got them from.

    Everyone takes some time to get used to things once bed bugs are gone. Some people keep clean clothes in bags for six months. Not because they NEED to, but because it makes them feel better. Others avoid certain situations. Personally, I ride the subway every day but do not sit on wooden subway station benches. I stay in hotels (after searching as per the travel FAQs), but do keep my clothing in a ziploc inside the luggage. I inspect new clothing, in ways I did not before. But for the most part, in time, people return more or less to normal. It is good to be conscious of the possibility of bed bugs. But you will, in time, not worry so much, and your kids will live like normal kids do.

    It will be hard at first to readjust and will take time, but you do not have to give up normal life. In fact, you should be able to live normally, which you have not been for some time. You might take precautions--as many as you feel you need to. But you will have a good life again soon. Please believe me!

  13. familybugged

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Sun Oct 21 2007 23:42:13
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    THAnk you ALL for these replies. Isent one in a couple days ago similarly, with no replies and that was depressing. I especially like the cycle of sleep deprivation schedule that is almost exact to your one respondent. As a Psych student, clearly this new "phenomenon" re bed bugs warrants more attention. Perhaps we need to be calling higher levels of suuport via govt. etc for this. I am with you on this.

  14. familybugged

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Oct 22 2007 0:30:36
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    THAnk you ALL for these replies. I sent one in a couple days ago similarly, waited for replies and that was depressing. But now , I see others are responding and this forum really helps me out.I especially like the cycle of sleep deprivation schedule that is almost exact to your one respondent. As a Psych student, clearly this new "phenomenon" re bed bugs warrants more attention. Perhaps we need to be calling higher levels of suuport via govt. etc for this. I too, find when I leave the house to be most uplifting. I am in Canada and snow flies soon, so I hope I don't have them all winter. My kids are really cheering me on since they stay at their dad's 1/2 time and get a break they see I don't get.I am grateful for this forum and with you on this.

  15. paulaw0919

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Oct 22 2007 0:33:44
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    Thank you Nobugs...You always come in with honesty and blunt facts. I love that. I apologise for what seems like constant negativity. If it were just me and my husband I would handle this much better for there would be much more for me to be able to control. Children put life and especially a situation like this to a whole new level of uncertantly. My every self being is for them.
    I know it's hard on anyone going through this and that has gotten through this. Everyone's situations are equally different. We are all troopers and like you've told me before, need time to heal.
    I'm starting to see again that this world we live in IS a gift and bugs or no bugs we need to enjoy it. Life now for me is with new eyes, but like the old saying...It's not a dress rehearsal... we need to make the best of it THIS time around
    It's soo true.

  16. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Oct 22 2007 1:33:44
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    Paula,

    You have been through the ringer. No need to apologize for getting down.

    It's about perspective. Things are bad for everyone. And later they get better. To try and compare one person's bad experience with another does not work, but the "before" and "after" works for everyone. Your "after" photo is going to be beautiful.

    Familybugged,

    I don't know which post that was, but sorry we missed it. Sometimes things get busy, people are away or whatever. If you don't get a response, don't be afraid to re-post in a day or so. When the site is busy, only posts from about a day or so ago are showing on the main forums page. That isn't much!

  17. nyjammin

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Oct 22 2007 6:48:52
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    I don't understand about the positive thinking here. Please don't yell at me but w/the statistics out there, there are a lotta more people getting infested and this thing just keeps growing and growing. Not just here in the USA, but all over the world. Torontobugged moved 2x. How many times does one hafta move to get away from these things? What about Sojo? One neighbor and it can mean doom for the whole building? This whole bb thing is so stressful and ridiculous. What if they are in the cars or buses. We all know they are in hotels. Are we ever safe? How can we go back to living normal lives again? In my apartment, even though it is being treated and I've now gone to vacuuming every day, how do I know that the bugs aren't multiplying faster than they are dying? When will I be safe?

  18. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Oct 22 2007 9:56:03
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    Jammin,

    I did not say that having neighbors with bed bugs is not a problem.
    What I said was once you get rid of bed bugs, which the majority of our readers do, you will not pick them up everywhere you go.

    And even if you get them again, it is much easier to get rid of them the second time, when you catch them early and can treat quickly, before neighbors get them.

    Jammin, you're still in treatment, which has recently begun. Have you had your neighbors inspected? (It might be best to continue this on a separate thread, but I did want to respond since I know your situation is stressful right now.)

  19. parakeets

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Oct 22 2007 11:49:27
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    To Sleepyeyes -- I just read your post, so am responding after many others, but I noticed that you are a student of psychology. I'm glad you brought up the issue of stress. In our constant dealing with the technical aspects of dealing with bedbugs, the human side of it might not be mentioned enough. People with bedbugs can be quite traumatized; have anxiety, insomnia, and depression; and suffer post-traumatic stress long after the bedbugs are gone. I don't know why they sometimes say bedbugs are not known to cause any health problems. What about mental health? I hope you can do some research on the psychological effects of bedbugs, even if it is just for a paper at school.

  20. buggeroff

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Mon Oct 22 2007 14:46:18
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    Our ancestors (pre-1945) ALL suffered from this at one point. Some probably all their lives. Look at the amazing things they did anyway. Thank goodness we can fight them like they can't, but they lived and had babies and built cities and nations. The Pyramids and Mount Rushmore and Library of Alexandria were built by people who had bed bugs.

    This may just be the funniest thing I have ever read about bedbugs! It is true, this is an age-old problem that is obviously manageable and endurable. We will manage it and endure it. Thanks for the laugh, and the perspective.

    insomnia, I liked your description of the stages of bedbug affliction, too. Think I'll take my flashlight to bed with me tonight.

  21. lieutenantdan

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Wed Oct 24 2007 13:31:14
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    sleepyeyes,
    Sorry but you are now one of us.
    I believe that how you are feeling is normal. We have all been where you are now and then some.
    Get tough. You are now one of us and the epidemic is growing and more will follow.
    A year ago when I had discovered my infestation the bb thing was not as big then and even more frustrating.
    As for support, you come to us, everyone else will not understand till the time comes that they have to deal with a personal infestation.
    This war will take work and dedication. You have to fight and fight hard and you will win. Prepare for battle.
    Take no prisoners.

  22. sleepyeyes

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Thu Oct 25 2007 21:58:04
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    Well here's a psychological update for all of you who may be interested... I have now commandeered THE sexiest bed bug uniform IN TOWN. We are talking longjohns, knee highs over, long shirt Tucked in, sweater that covers my neck AND *drumroll* MITTENS! I feel like such a sexpot that I am considering posing for playboy. Secondly, I finally managed to find a slight way to put things into perspective- this may not be for all, but I'll share- I realized that BB's are really just as annoying, just as frequent, and just as harmless as a really mosquito-y day. When I figured out that having BB's DOES NOT SPEAK about my self worth, and is just another (albeit stressful) obstacle, I realized that the life had to go on. For everyone who has bed bugs, I tell you- adopt my uniform and giggle- but also know that YOU can and WILL deal with this one way or another. Something will jive over for you- be it whether you rid yourself of them, or find a method of coping, you will get over this. Thirdly, find at least one spot where you feel safe and make a point to go there as frequently as necessary to a) cry, b) journal, c) get drunk (kidding) or d) just be.
    You are not alone, and neither am I, thanks so much for everyone's post.
    Hope this makes sense? =) Sincerely, Snowsuit Gal (aka sleepy)

  23. poorBugger

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 9:24:42
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    ok now, you mentioned sexy and knee highs so i gotta know...are they argyles or those multi-colored striped ones with individual compartments for each toe?

    good thoughts!

  24. insomnia

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 11:29:22
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    Completely redefines "sexy". One night my outfit consited of turtleneck, running tights, gloves, and knee high Christmas socks. (Red/Green/Santa/& Reindeer) Hubby burst out laughing at that one.

  25. parakeets

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 12:58:09
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    I wanted to buy a white Tyvek Hasmat suit to wear to bed, complete with gloves, a hood and booties! So sexy. Can you see it in Victoria Secret? "Something safe and cumfy to wear to bed when you have bedbugs!"

  26. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 13:13:03
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    sleepyeyes,
    you MIGHT want to consider leaving your feet and lower calves open. If you cover everything except your face, they will bite your face. (Yes, they can get under clothing, but leaving them something free besides the face is a good idea, or at least a number of us felt that way.)

  27. insomnia

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    Posted 12 years ago
    Fri Oct 26 2007 16:14:54
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    Good point nobugs...they could bite the face. I've thought about some sort of cream-based face and neck masque.....talk about sexy. hehe


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