The mere mention of bed bugs inspires fear and anxiety in anyone who knows the havoc they can cause. Bed bugs don’t transmit diseases, but dealing with them is distressing because they invade your personal space and are difficult to exterminate. The logistical and monetary implications of living with an infestation are exhausting and can cause severe emotional turmoil.
While it is true that bed bugs can turn your life upside down, they don’t have to drain your emotional energy. This post offers tips to help you deal with the roller coaster of emotions associated with a bed bug infestation.
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Factors causing emotional turmoil when dealing with bed bugs
Bed bugs are a nightmare for everyone because they invade personal and intimate spaces. They can enter your bedroom, the room where you lie down after a long day, or your child’s bed. If you are struggling with an infestation, you are likely to suffer serious emotional turmoil owing to two factors namely:
In a general context, stigma refers to a perceived disadvantage that sets an individual apart from other members of society. You will likely feel stigmatized if you have bed bugs and live in a community where most people share that notion. Even though bed bugs are everywhere in the USA, there is an erroneous view that bed bugs only infest dirty homes.
Several internet blogs dealing with bed bug issues have content that stresses how fast and easy bed bugs can spread. Anyone who has read such content will shy away from an individual or space with bed bugs. People also set you apart when they learn that you have bed bugs because they fear contracting them.
Stigmatization breeds a sense of isolation for anyone dealing with bed bugs. You will feel emotionally disengaged from your community when you are in isolation. Emotional disengagement leads to loneliness, low self-esteem, and social anxiety, to name a few.
Bed bugs incite fear in several ways since they attack an individual’s intimate space. Even if you have not dealt with bed bugs, the thought of them feeding on your child is enough to cause fear. This is why you can categorize fear associated with bed bugs into two, namely:
- Real fear: Bed bugs can turn your life into a nightmare. There are several uncertainties when dealing with bed bugs, for example, whether they are gone after completing the treatment. Doubt, combined with the logistical challenges of treatment, cause real fear.
- Perceived fear: Perceived fear of bed bugs is when you fear them even though you do not have an infestation in your living space. Several bugs look like bed bugs, and you can mistake them for bed bugs, triggering fear. You can also wake up with bites on your skin and mistake them for bed bug bites. It is best to confirm that you have bed bugs before you go into total fear and panic mode.
Signs of emotional turmoil when dealing with bed bugs
Living through an infestation is not a joyride for anyone, no matter how tough you think you are. In addition to the logistical nightmare of dealing with bed bugs, the fear and shame that most people experience are intolerable. At some point, you will begin to experience signs of severe emotional turmoil that include:
Bed bugs do not wake you up as they feed because their saliva has an anesthetic that numbs your skin to pain. Nonetheless, the fear of bed bugs, whether real or perceived, prevents you from relaxing and keeps you up at night.
The stress and anxiety associated with a bed bug problem can cause nightmares.
You can get bed bugs in a five-star hotel as much as you would in a roadside motel, but individuals with these bugs are still stigmatized. Bed bugs do not discriminate based on social status, economic capability, and tidiness. Most people with bed bug problems choose to isolate themselves out of fear of stigmatization.
Anxiety and depression
Dealing with bed bugs is troubling and can harm your self-image. Low self-esteem due to bed bugs can lead to anxiety and depression if you don’t seek help in time.
Worsening mental health issues
The cost, time, and logistics involved in bed bug treatment are stressful for everybody, but the stress impact is more significant on vulnerable people. The stress of dealing with bed bugs and mental health concerns such as bipolar disorder can worsen an individual’s mental state. One case study profiling a 62-year-old woman with bipolar disorder who committed suicide owing to repeated bed bug infestations shows this.
Dealing with bedbug-associated emotional turmoil
You shouldn’t panic when dealing with bed bugs because it only leads to mistakes when getting rid of them. Still, bed bugs can threaten your emotional well-being and trigger serious mental health issues. Here are some tips that can help you to cope with the emotional turmoil that often arises when dealing with bed bugs:
Remember that you are not alone
The thought that you are to blame for an infestation is one of the leading causes of emotional turmoil when dealing with bed bugs. The truth is that bed bugs are everywhere, and you are not the only one dealing with them. A simple search on the internet will give you enough evidence that you are not a social pariah just because you have bed bugs. The simple knowledge that you are not the only one suffering can prevent you from plunging into emotional turmoil.
Be aware that having bed bugs is not a reflection of your uncleanliness.
There are a lot of myths associated with bed bugs. The thought your child is suffering from bed bugs because you’re unhygienic triggers a roller coaster of negative emotions. Your emotional well-being hinges upon recognizing that getting bed bugs has nothing to do with you.
Take a walk
It is best to take a walk outdoors if you feel stressed and emotionally drained over a bed bug situation. Walking gives you a break from the infested environment and puts your mind and emotions at ease. Nature and fresh air have a relaxing effect on the mind that is enough to bring you back to your sanity.
Talk to someone
Telling someone about your bed bug problem is not easy because it can be embarrassing. Nonetheless, you have to talk to someone about your problem because it relieves the sense of isolation. It is best to speak to a mental professional or close friend you trust not to pass the information around.
Do a lot of physical exercises.
Exercising increases the brain’s feel-good hormones (endorphins) and helps get your mind off the bed bug problem. It is best to exercise outside because it has the added advantage of fresh air and nature’s calming effect.
Treat the bed bug issue swiftly and efficiently.
The best way to end emotional turmoil from bed bugs is to treat the infestation quickly and effectively. Most people use pesticides when treating bed bugs, but they are less effective than they think. Research shows that bed bugs have developed resistance to most pesticides. It is in your best interest to use safe, efficient, non-chemical bed bug extermination methods such as heat treatment.
Getting rid of bed bugs is challenging, but you will eventually get rid of them. Don’t allow bed bugs to take control of your life and wreak havoc on your emotional, psychological and physical well-being.
Should you panic if you have bed bugs?
You should be calm when you have bed bugs because panicking leads to mistakes when trying to get rid of bed bugs.
Do bed bugs affect people differently?
Bed bug bites affect people differently because some people develop reactions such as itching while others do not. Psychologically and emotionally speaking, the effect of bed bugs depends on how an individual reacts to them.
How do you deal with bed bugs emotionally?
The best way to deal with bed bugs emotionally is to talk to someone about them as you try to exterminate them. The tips outlined in this post, for example, exercising, are also helpful.