How do I deal with the psychological effects of bedbugs?
September 13, 2010 7:34 PM Subscribe
How to deal with the residual emotional/psychological effects of a bedbug infestation?
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I've been dealing with a fairly mild bedbug infestation for a few months. Just over eight weeks ago, I woke up with a few bites on my arm, and an inspection of my bed turned up one live bedbug. Luckily, I have very good landlords, who immediately called in a pest-control firm, one that has a good reputation, and performed the kinds of chemical treatments that places like Bedbugger recommend as being particularly effective. The inspector said that I had one of the mildest infestations he'd seen in his 15 years of experience -- that I had been fortunate to catch the problem early. My landlords ordered two more applications of chemicals since just to be safe, and each time, the same inspector found no further evidence of bedbugs (but sprayed the apartment anyway). My last spraying/inspection was just a few days ago.
I also threw a lot of my own money at the problem, buying encasements for my mattress, box spring, and futon mattress. I got rid of all of the extraneous crap in my bedroom, washed/dry cleaned all of my clothes and sealed them up (the vast majority of them remain bagged and sealed in tubs in my storage unit -- I've been wearing the same six outfits for eight weeks now), and replaced, where I could, some of my wooden furniture with plastic or metal replacements (my dresser got discarded and replaced with clear plastic bins, for example).
I have not had any bedbug bites since the original three, over two months ago, nor have I seen any evidence of more bugs myself. My landlords said that they would be happy to pay for more treatments if I felt they were necessary.
However, I've been dealing with some serious anxiety and paranoia issues that I've never had on this scale before, and it's making me very worried about my mental health. My question is, how do I deal with this?
1. I've been vacuuming my bedroom every day (and my entire apartment every other day) as a preventative measure. I am thorough - vaccuming cracks in the floors, baseboards, everything. But each time I do it, I keep feeling like I'm not doing enough, and I keep going over and over and over the same spots again, even thought I've already vacuumed the place thoroughly.
2. I visited a friend of mine yesterday, and before I left, I changed into clothes and used a bag that had been freshly washed/dried/sealed in plastic bags, flip flops that I had doused in isopropyl alcohol before wearing, and inspected my body for bugs/bites, etc before leaving. I did everything I could think of to keep any possible bugs from coming with me. Still, though, all the time I was there, I kept thinking that I didn't do enough, that somehow I'd let one of them slip through. All the way home, I kept thinking about my friend and his family waking up with bites all over them. I'm still thinking about this.
3. I got a mosquito bite yesterday while I was out walking by the local river. I know it was one because I saw the mosquito. It's not really itchy, and I know it's not a bedbug bite, but just seeing it there keeps making my heart race and all of my anxieties come back.
This is not normal. I've never experienced this before. How do I take care of these psychological effects? None of the actual bites were this bad, and I was totally calm and collected during the actual process of washing and disposing of things. It seems like the problem is even worse now, even though I haven't had any bites for a while and the inspector has found no actual signs of bugs in my apartment.
Throwaway email address, if you want it: firstname.lastname@example.org