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Thread: To get the vaccine or not

  1. #1
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    To get the vaccine or not

    Hey all! If y'all know my back story from my other post, skip to the second paragraph (or keep reading if you want a refresher!) So long story short, if you've read my other posts, you may be familiar with my fear of rabies, but to summarize, I was initially worried about a possible, non-bite exposure from several years ago. After I was assured by my doctor that I'm "most likely" fine, my brain, I think, decided to latch onto other ways I could get rabies. I've always been afraid of bats, even though I've never seen one in real life (that I'm aware of) other than at the zoo. My brain started to have anxiety about simply being outside because, obviously, I thought, I'll get bitten by a bat, whether in the middle of the day or not, and not know it. This has caused me to retrace my steps and walk around looking to make sure there are no downed bats where I've been walking. The other day, when I came inside my toe was hurting and I panicked and thought a bat had bitten me without me knowing, and again, I went outside and retraced my steps looking for bats (at noon), although I'm pretty sure I didn't see anything, there are always a lot of leaves in the yard, and I'm afraid I may have missed a bat by mistaking it for a leaf. Anyway, later that day, a vivid image of a bat lying on the sidewalk in front of my house popped into my head, and basically, as weird as it sounds, I am confused as to what my real memory is. Did I or did I not see a bat? I even have an image of me pushing a bat aside with my foot. So weird. Why can I so clearly see an image of a bat on the sidewalk? Did I get bitten/touch a bat and in some dissociative state ignore it? Rationally, I think if I were bitten by a bat, I would've driven right to the hospital or taken a photo of it, called and told my mom or somebody, etc. But my brain is playing the what if's. Also, my toe is tingling, just that one toe (it's been 5 days), which I know can be a beginning symptom (and yes I know, in a few days, we'll know if this is truly a symptom or not because I'd be dead). This has only heightened my worry.

    Anyway, long story long, I'm thinking about getting the pre-exposure vaccine for peace of mind (granted that my toe is, hopefully, tingling because of anxiety). I know this would NOT be an end all, solve all solution, and I do have a psych appointment later this month to address my anxiety. I sincerely want to get to the root of the issue and work on the way my brain thinks and responds to anxiety and intrusive thinking with CBT. However, this vivid bat imagery is throwing me and messing with my memories and sense of reality. I'm inclined to get the PrEP because I'm outside a lot during the day, and obviously I can't keep assuming I'm getting bitten every time I step outside. However, there is also a part of me that wants to go to the ER and get the full on post-exposure series just in case that image in my brain is real. I'm really struggling with making a decision.
    Last edited by Panicandpeace; 21-10-18 at 00:37.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2017
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    Re: To get the vaccine or not

    There is absolutely no way you should go to the ER and get RPEP. My lord, that would be succumbing to OCD entirely.

    You know you are having intrusive thoughts. DO NOT VALIDATE THEM.

  3. #3
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    Re: To get the vaccine or not

    Quote Originally Posted by NervUs View Post
    There is absolutely no way you should go to the ER and get RPEP. My lord, that would be succumbing to OCD entirely.

    You know you are having intrusive thoughts. DO NOT VALIDATE THEM.
    I agree, however, there is just the "WHAT IF this isn't a false memory? What if that image of a bat on the sidewalk is real, and not the other way around? Why does my toe still hurt, and why is it tingling?" I've gotten tingly limbs and stuff from anxiety before but not in one toe, in the specific area I felt pain/had a mark. It's maddening to not be able to trust which memory is real.

  4. #4
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    Re: To get the vaccine or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Panicandpeace View Post
    I agree, however, there is just the "WHAT IF this isn't a false memory? What if that image of a bat on the sidewalk is real, and not the other way around? Why does my toe still hurt, and why is it tingling?" I've gotten tingly limbs and stuff from anxiety before but not in one toe, in the specific area I felt pain/had a mark. It's maddening to not be able to trust which memory is real.
    I understand that to you, this may seem real but the reality is, it just isn't

    Positive thoughts
    __________________
    "Eat. Drink. Enjoy the work you do. Be thankful for the blessings God gives you in this life. Live, love and seek out the things that bring your heart joy. The rest is meaningless... Like chasing the wind." King Solomon

    The best help is the help you give yourself! http://cbt4panic.org/

  5. #5
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    Re: To get the vaccine or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Panicandpeace View Post
    I agree, however, there is just the "WHAT IF this isn't a false memory? What if that image of a bat on the sidewalk is real, and not the other way around? Why does my toe still hurt, and why is it tingling?" I've gotten tingly limbs and stuff from anxiety before but not in one toe, in the specific area I felt pain/had a mark. It's maddening to not be able to trust which memory is real.
    For myself, I go by the rule, if I am not sure, it means the outlandish thing did not happen.

    People who come into contact with bats KNOW it. You are wavering and unclear. That means you err on the side of no RPEP. You do know it often ends up costing $10K or more out of pocket in the US...and there is a fairly high vaccine injury rate, like 10% having not minor reactions to the vaccine. Does that change your thinking at all?

  6. #6
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    Re: To get the vaccine or not

    Quote Originally Posted by NervUs View Post
    For myself, I go by the rule, if I am not sure, it means the outlandish thing did not happen.

    People who come into contact with bats KNOW it. You are wavering and unclear. That means you err on the side of no RPEP. You do know it often ends up costing $10K or more out of pocket in the US...and there is a fairly high vaccine injury rate, like 10% having not minor reactions to the vaccine. Does that change your thinking at all?
    I guess, that is a good rule to go by. And that is exactly what my rational side thinks... like, "duh, you wouldn't have just walked by a bat, touched it with your foot, and thought, hmmm," and kept going like it was nothing. Certainly, I would have called somebody and told them about it/called animal control/taken a photo/something... I know I keep repeating myself, but I'm just concerned that that image of a bat in my head is real because of the things I've read about people getting bat bites without knowing it. I just feel as though, if I make the wrong decision, it could obviously end up costing me my life. I know that may seem dramatic, but it's honestly how I feel.

    As far as the vaccine side effects, I guess I've read that side effects of the modern vaccine are rare, at least the "severe" ones, kind of along the lines of other vaccines. You can technically get things like Guillain-Barre from the flu shot. All vaccines have risks. Certainly it's an important thing to consider, I don't disagree at all. Oh, and long story short, I've hit my out of pocket max for the year, so the shots wouldn't cost me anything, as they are covered.

    ---------- Post added at 20:09 ---------- Previous post was at 20:08 ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishmanpa View Post
    I understand that to you, this may seem real but the reality is, it just isn't

    Positive thoughts
    I just wish I were confident in my recollection. It's very frustrating to not trust your own memory.

  7. #7
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    Re: To get the vaccine or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Panicandpeace View Post
    Just wish I were confident in my recollection. It's very frustrating to not trust your own memory.
    Again, respectfully, I know your OCD is grabbing you by the ca-hones and I can see the struggle in your words but we're talking about black and white fact here. The image in your head is just not real.

    Positive thoughts
    __________________
    "Eat. Drink. Enjoy the work you do. Be thankful for the blessings God gives you in this life. Live, love and seek out the things that bring your heart joy. The rest is meaningless... Like chasing the wind." King Solomon

    The best help is the help you give yourself! http://cbt4panic.org/

  8. #8
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    Re: To get the vaccine or not

    In OCD you can have themes that collide with each other. AS seen here you've got the original theme about rabies from a health perspective which is now colliding with false memory OCD, a separate theme. Magical Thinking often appears with other themes, I found.

    Question. Person A is terrified of rabies. Person B doesn't have any such concern, maybe doesn't even have anxiety.

    Person A is walking down the street and a bat is on the floor. Does person A go near to the bat or away from it? Do they attempt to touch the bat? Do they expose their skin to it?

    Person B is walking down the street and a bat is on the floor. Applying the same questions what do they do?

    If you want to, remove bat and add in spider. Person A has Arachnophobia. Person B isn't bothered by spiders.

    Would person A help that struggling spider out or be repelled by it? Would person B just walk up to the spider and pick it up to help it? Even if person A felt strongly enough about helping the spider how would they feel throughout the experience? Would person A feel the same as person B.

    Now think about how that would apply to memory. Would person A remember this event? Would person B remember it? How would they differ in remembering it?
    __________________
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    For free Mindfulness resources, please see this thread I have created to compile many sources together http://www.nomorepanic.co.uk/showthread.php?t=168689

  9. #9
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    Re: To get the vaccine or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishmanpa View Post
    Again, respectfully, I know your OCD is grabbing you by the ca-hones and I can see the struggle in your words but we're talking about black and white fact here. The image in your head is just not real.

    Positive thoughts
    I appreciate that you can see my struggle! I really wish I could think of it as a black and white fact. The problem is that I'm now worried that the bat memory isn't the false one, and I'm actually trying to convince myself the bat wasn't there. It's a pretty vicious cycle. It also does NOT help that my brain is focused on that one toe, and it seems to be tingling.

    ---------- Post added at 22:31 ---------- Previous post was at 22:27 ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by MyNameIsTerry View Post
    In OCD you can have themes that collide with each other. AS seen here you've got the original theme about rabies from a health perspective which is now colliding with false memory OCD, a separate theme. Magical Thinking often appears with other themes, I found.

    Question. Person A is terrified of rabies. Person B doesn't have any such concern, maybe doesn't even have anxiety.

    Person A is walking down the street and a bat is on the floor. Does person A go near to the bat or away from it? Do they attempt to touch the bat? Do they expose their skin to it?

    Person B is walking down the street and a bat is on the floor. Applying the same questions what do they do?

    If you want to, remove bat and add in spider. Person A has Arachnophobia. Person B isn't bothered by spiders.

    Would person A help that struggling spider out or be repelled by it? Would person B just walk up to the spider and pick it up to help it? Even if person A felt strongly enough about helping the spider how would they feel throughout the experience? Would person A feel the same as person B.

    Now think about how that would apply to memory. Would person A remember this event? Would person B remember it? How would they differ in remembering it?
    This is very interesting and helpful. Obviously, as person A, I would have tried to stay clear of the bat (or spider), and my memory of the event would be terrifying/memorable to say the least and would differ from person B's memory in its significance. The rational part of my brain agrees with this line of thinking.

  10. #10
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    Re: To get the vaccine or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Panicandpeace View Post
    This is very interesting and helpful. Obviously, as person A, I would have tried to stay clear of the bat (or spider), and my memory of the event would be terrifying/memorable to say the least and would differ from person B's memory in its significance. The rational part of my brain agrees with this line of thinking.
    That's correct. So, consciously you have world through the problem and framed a conclusion. The subconscious though takes more time to make changes and therefore it's important to keep on being rational/logical and not falling into it's traps of making you panic and spiral into obsessive-compulsive cycles.

    Another trick it might try on you is "what if I repressed the memory?". But you have to consider how this wouldn't being a massively traumatic event that the mind tries to escape from in the same way people who go through that have experienced. It's just another "what if" doubt anxiety poses knowing you can't get an absolute answer.

    Tolerating the "shades of grey" is important as these disorders thrive in needing 100% solid answers, known as All-or-nothing thinking in Cognitive Distortions.

    The inner chimp wants to know everything is perfect so we are safe. It can't always get that so it just keeps throwing a wobbly even more.

    In many ways it's like seeing a toddler throwing a tantrum in a shop. If only the mother's old favourite saying of "stop crying or you'll get something to cry about in a minute!" worked on this stuff.
    __________________
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    For free Mindfulness resources, please see this thread I have created to compile many sources together http://www.nomorepanic.co.uk/showthread.php?t=168689

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