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Thread: My story; looking for some guidance or tips

  1. #1

    My story; looking for some guidance or tips

    Hello all, I've recently found this website and been perusing some of the threads and finally felt enough courage to post for myself.

    The first time I ever had a rabies panic was in 2019 when there was a mouse in the house. I managed to calm myself from it and been free of the anxiety until December of 2020. It skyrocketed in January of this year and has only progressively gotten worse. I think this has been caused by two traumatic events that occurred in my life within a week period but it now gotten completely out of hand. I thankfully do have a therapist and access to decent healthcare so I decided to go back on medication. The side effects of the medication only worsened my HA to a point where I was non functional for the majority of a month and a half.

    I finally got back to work in late March and was feeling pretty ok. I work in film and the show I was on involved a lot of outdoor work in provincial parks. One of those days I looked down at my thumb and saw what I initially assumed was a bug bite, but about 1.5in over was a freckle. My mind went into hardcore overdrive as a pinched and prodded at the freckle until it became red and raised. Which of course, now I have two red and raised bumps on my hand. It's been 4 weeks and my brain cannot seem to let it go despite the fact that they have healed and gone away.

    I'm engaging in obsessive compulsive behaviour, I'm watching it happen and I feel so powerless at times. My fiance, bless him, has been very comforting. He has looked up progression/symptoms/etc so I can fight the compulsion to consult Dr. Google and just have him tell me "no, you're fine" but I can see he's getting frustrated and tired.

    The frustrating thing is my rational brain knows I wasn't bitten. It know there was no ninja animal that jumped out of a bush and bit me on my thumb without my noticing. Hell, the thing that I thought was a bite was too large for it to have been anything plausible. We adopted a cat around the same time and the interviewer told me that "Canada is basically a rabies free zone". But my irrational brain feels like a constant scream that after a while, gets so hard to ignore. It likes to tell me mean things and make me question my own memory at times. Was I bitten and just don't remember it? I've read countless threads here and said to myself "wow this is totally irrational, I feel for this person" before realizing that I too am doing just that!

    My hand has felt weird for 6-11 days at this point and my brain cannot let it go. I know it's not rational, I know it's not plausible. I was surrounded by over a hundred crew members that day and no one else is this worried, so why should I be? I'm at a loss as to how to combat this though. I do have therapy tomorrow but I was wondering if any others had any strategies to combat this that has worked for them. I'm at a point where the facts don't comfort me much because as HA does, it tells me that I'm the exception. I'm the special one who is going to make a headline. So if anyone has any advice, I would really appreciate it. My rational brain is trying to listen <3

  2. #2
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    Re: My story; looking for some guidance or tips

    Bumping this up for you, in the hope that someone who has combated the 'phantom rabies bite' (and goodness knows there are enough people here with this regular fear) can offer some advice. I think you have worked really hard on rationalising this, and have really strong self-awareness, but the problem is trusting yourself to be right. You know the strategies for reassurance, you've listed them here, but believing them is tough when some OCD kicks in. Personally I think it's going to feel uncomfortable for you for a while, and you just need to keep repeating those reasons why there was no bite, and if necessary write them down where you can see them. In a while, when you don't have rabies (which you won't) you can process the fact that you WERE right, its a success to tuck under your belt. I'm not full of great ideas am I, I just know that when I had contamination fears to certain things I exposed myself, told myself reassurances over and over and then when it didn't happen I felt vindicated that I was right. Hopefully, someone else will come along with some ideas....

  3. #3

    Re: My story; looking for some guidance or tips

    Hi Mikis, I don't know if this will help - but here goes. I've had the ninja bat thing and was in exactly the same position as you, knowing on one level it was irrational and ludicrous but being unable to let those thoughts go. My immediate reaction, like yours, was deploying the rational mind , but as you've discovered that doesn't necessarily help - what we resist persists, right?! what worked for me was accepting the thought - 'ok, this is what my brain has come up with, but it's not very plausible - so why??' - and addressing the other factors in my life which might have triggered that sense of danger or threat. In my case it was stuff I'd being trying to ignore or park that I really needed to deal with. So it grabbed my attention with daft bat thoughts..... Dunno if that resonates with you? Acceptance and questioning why a lot more helpful for me than putting all my effort into resisting the thought (back to trying not to think about a polar bear...) Be kind to yourself! The thoughts may well be there for a totally un bat-related reason. That's fine. And you will be fine too.

  4. #4

    Re: My story; looking for some guidance or tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Carys View Post
    Bumping this up for you, in the hope that someone who has combated the 'phantom rabies bite' (and goodness knows there are enough people here with this regular fear) can offer some advice. I think you have worked really hard on rationalising this, and have really strong self-awareness, but the problem is trusting yourself to be right. You know the strategies for reassurance, you've listed them here, but believing them is tough when some OCD kicks in. Personally I think it's going to feel uncomfortable for you for a while, and you just need to keep repeating those reasons why there was no bite, and if necessary write them down where you can see them. In a while, when you don't have rabies (which you won't) you can process the fact that you WERE right, its a success to tuck under your belt. I'm not full of great ideas am I, I just know that when I had contamination fears to certain things I exposed myself, told myself reassurances over and over and then when it didn't happen I felt vindicated that I was right. Hopefully, someone else will come along with some ideas....

    Thank you so much for responding, I really appreciate it. You're definitely right about it being uncomfortable! My therapist actually diagnosed me with OCD instead of HA which in hindsight, makes much more sense. So now I'm just trying to break the cycle of compulsions which is beyond difficult. I do think writing things down will be really beneficial, and it's really comforting to know that someone else kind of knows what I'm going through. It'll take some time but I'm hoping my rational brain can take the drivers seat again

  5. #5

    Re: My story; looking for some guidance or tips

    Quote Originally Posted by chinesewall View Post
    Hi Mikis, I don't know if this will help - but here goes. I've had the ninja bat thing and was in exactly the same position as you, knowing on one level it was irrational and ludicrous but being unable to let those thoughts go. My immediate reaction, like yours, was deploying the rational mind , but as you've discovered that doesn't necessarily help - what we resist persists, right?! what worked for me was accepting the thought - 'ok, this is what my brain has come up with, but it's not very plausible - so why??' - and addressing the other factors in my life which might have triggered that sense of danger or threat. In my case it was stuff I'd being trying to ignore or park that I really needed to deal with. So it grabbed my attention with daft bat thoughts..... Dunno if that resonates with you? Acceptance and questioning why a lot more helpful for me than putting all my effort into resisting the thought (back to trying not to think about a polar bear...) Be kind to yourself! The thoughts may well be there for a totally un bat-related reason. That's fine. And you will be fine too.

    I've definitely discovered that rabies is not the actual issue here, it's just what my OCD has decided to focus itself on. I actually really love animals, bats included! Growing up I used to watch the bats in my backyard fly around all over the place and I still am not afraid of them. But the general fear of this really awful disease has me paralyzed at times with really intrusive thoughts. I'm trying to get down to the bone of it all. I've been writing down what's been triggering intrusive thoughts to try and make some sense of it all, but I know it's going to take some time and I just need to be patient. Thank you for your encouraging words, they really mean a lot <3

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