Bed Bugs: Facing the Emotional Turmoil of an Infestation

An empty, unmade bed with a plaid blanket in the middle of a roomBed bugs.

The mere mention of these critters sends shivers down my spine and can bring immediate itchiness to anyone aware of these pests and their elusive nature. Bed bugs are small, parasitic insects that tend to take up habitation in—you guessed it—the beds of us poor, unsuspecting humans, then feed on our blood when we sleep. They are in the news frequently and may have even sprung up in your area. Perhaps you have encountered bed bugs in your home or in your travels. This has been an epidemic for several years, but when a person is struggling with an infestation it is rarely talked about.

Unfortunately, bed bugs carry with them a certain stigma. There is a misguided perception they exist only in homes or dwellings that are not clean. Also, people may be “bugged out” when they find out someone has a bed bug issue. Perhaps they have read how easily they are transmitted from one person or place to another and want as much distance between them and the other person/place as possible.

At least that’s what many people with bed bugs fear—and what can keep them from turning to others for emotional support.

On top of the sense of isolation people may experience because of bed bugs, they must contend with the simple knowledge that in their own sanctuary, the place they call home, they have been invaded by a near-invisible parasite that feeds on you in your most vulnerable state. Argh! If your skin is crawling just reading this, welcome to the experience of a person living with bed bugs.

Bed bugs may have invaded your space, but they do not need to take up all the space in your head!

Not only is treating a bed bug infestation costly both socially and financially, it can take a serious toll on mental health. I have worked with countless individuals dealing with these pests. I have also had my own bed bug scares, nearly sending me off the deep end. What I learned from others’ experiences and my own is that these bugs don’t simply impact our physical environment; perhaps worse, they invade our minds and can lead to an experience of extreme stress and isolation.

Perusing the internet on the topic of bed bugs could bring any person to a panic, whether they are struggling with the issue or not. My goal with this article is to provide anyone dealing with an infestation with some tips and tools to help them calm down and emotionally cope with their unexpected visitors. Bed bugs may have invaded your space, but they do not need to take up all the space in your head!

How to emotionally cope with bed bugs in eight steps:

  1. First, know you are not alone. A simple walk around my neighborhood in Philadelphia showcases countless mattresses thrown outside in what may mark a first panicked attempt at getting rid of bed bugs. A simple internet search on bed bugs yields thousands of results, indicating this problem is being experienced by way more people than just you. You may feel like a social pariah when dealing with bed bugs, but the truth is, due to the stigma and secrecy associated with bed bugs, you never know who else is dealing with them. Take refuge in the simple knowledge you are not the only one suffering the insufferable.
  2. Use some positive self-talk. Say to yourself, “I am a separate person from this problem. This is simply just a problem I am coping with, and it is not my entire life, nor does it represent who I am.” Think about all your positive roles and qualities. Parent, teacher, kind person, clean person—whatever makes up who you are, remind yourself of these things and that you are not just a person who has bed bugs. Each time the thoughts creep back in regarding the bugs, actively change your thoughts. It is not worth it to obsess about them; all you can do is proactively try to take care of the problem, and otherwise try to give your mind a break.
  3. Get outside. If the weather permits, do yourself a huge emotional favor and go for a walk. Sit under a tree. Bring a book. Nature has the power to heal us and bring us back to our sanity. In this case, it also gets you out of your hellhole of a home! Remember, you do not deserve the stress of these bugs. You deserve a break from the environment they have invaded, as well as a mental and emotional break.
  4. Remember that bed bugs are not really any different than other types of bugs. Think of them as less dangerous mosquitoes. Unlike mosquitoes, beg bugs are not known to be vectors of disease. Yes, they are gross. No, they can’t kill you.
  5. Use deep breathing. Breathe in, breathe out … slowly. Count your breaths as you focus on the sensation of breathing in and out. What does it feel like as the breath enters your nose, travels down to your lungs, and then begins to release? See, you already forgot about the bugs. Deep breathing is a form of meditation that helps us focus on the experience of the body rather than the constant thoughts roaming around our heads. Give yourself a moment to stop thinking about the bugs and to relax your nervous system.
  6. Get some exercise. Exercise has the power to not only increase your endorphins (feel-good chemicals in the brain), but it can get your mind off the problem. Exercise IN your home. Take back YOUR territory while pumping iron and gaining a sense of power and control. If you can’t stomach the thought of spending another moment near the source of the infestation, go to the gym or exercise outside. Special note: Yoga is wonderful for stress and can help you be kind to yourself during this terrible time.
  7. Tell someone! Don’t keep this to yourself. Yes, it can feel intimidating telling someone about an issue you might feel embarrassed about, but the relief of bringing someone into the experience of this issue can be a huge help and can take away the sense of isolation often incurred when someone has bed bugs. Tell a few people if you can, and make sure they know you don’t want this information passed around. Ask for a hug, if you feel so inclined; physical touch can be comforting.
  8. Lastly, do everything in your power to get rid of the bugs. Call an exterminator and follow all advice they give. The bugs CAN be beat and you WILL conquer them. Don’t allow the bugs to make you feel incapable and powerless—you are not.

In the end, you will get rid of the bugs. For now, the true goal is maintaining sanity and not allowing the bugs to wreak havoc on both your emotional and physical health. As with many other challenges we face, the worry is the worst part.

© Copyright 2016 All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Alexis Hansen, LCSW

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • zoe

    July 28th, 2016 at 10:42 AM

    I… can’t… even… imagine…

  • Matt

    July 28th, 2016 at 1:34 PM

    My daughter came home form camp last year stating that one of the cabins where they stayed had been found to have bed bugs. I knew that she was safe and probably didn’t carry them home with her because she was in another part of the camp, but still, it is something that just sort of makes your skin crawl to even think about it.

  • leigh

    July 28th, 2016 at 4:26 PM

    They may not be any different than any other bugs but it is a heck of a lot more difficult in addition to a lot more expensive to try to get rid of them.

  • Anita

    July 29th, 2016 at 7:38 AM

    I guess this has always been a problem but it seems like it has gotten more prevalent in the past few years?
    What is going on with that?

  • Alexis Hansen, LCSW

    July 30th, 2016 at 10:07 AM

    Anita – I have read up on this issue a lot. Researchers believe that the spike is related to increased travel by American’s. Bed bugs have historically been seen as a “developing world problem” and haven’t been a huge issue in the USA. Researchers also believe it is probably linked to the ban on many pesticides, including DDT, decades ago, and the problem is just catching up. It does sound like scientists continue to work on finding different methods to kill them, so hopefully an less expensive method is just around the corner!

  • frank

    July 29th, 2016 at 1:29 PM

    Hotels are particularly vulnerable because you never know who is staying there and who is not. And I have worries all the time about how they are cleaned and how thoroughly they are cleaned. I travel a lot and there is this little nagging fear of getting bed bugs and then taking them home with me.

  • Renee

    July 29th, 2016 at 6:47 PM

    Your article is timely . For the third time since September 2015 I have been invaded with bed bugs today. I am sick with the thought of attending family functions this weekend and beyond. So I have cancelled. My apt/van will be treated in a week with Heat for 4-6 hours. But after two prior episodes what may expect in another three months? I have heard other units in my building are being treated these past three months and as recently as last week. When does it end!? The emotional toll, thoughts of not feeling as though I dare have visitors or go to someone else’s home, when can I feel it’s safe? I don’t want to be the one to unknowingly carry a bed bug into another’s life. How is a person to feel? I would like to hear from others dealing with this. May God Bless us all!

  • Alexis Hansen, LCSW

    July 30th, 2016 at 10:11 AM

    Ugh, Renee, that sounds AWFUL! That is exactly the insidiousness nature of these creatures, and one of the dilemmas of maintaining mental health when suffering with an infestation. How can we know when they are gone? When are we safe?? I am happy to hear that other apartments are being treated, because I do believe that an entire apartment complex needs to be treated to actually get rid of the problem. Hopefully others that have experience bed bugs write back to you. I have started to think that there needs to be some type of support group or internet community for people to turn to in order to cope with this situation. Perhaps there is already one out there?

  • Abbey E

    July 1st, 2018 at 5:02 PM

    Hey Renee,
    I hope that you the whole building was able to be treated or at least you were able to get out of there and attempt to move on with things. We are working on getting out of a situation like that… and the biggest thing that’s helping me is knowing that we are moving (AND fortunately for us, we only have found one this time) – emphasis on THIS time (ie. this happened last year and some came into our apartment from another apartment that had a tenant that didn’t want to report it because he didn’t want to upset the landlord…. ). We have heard of others having them off and on the last couple years…. and we are done AND I have to be ok with the idea of getting rid of some things for comfort/because they are old/I don’t want to be reminded of this place… but more so doing what we can to make sure we don’t take any with us. As you say, giving them to someone else is just not ok! Anyhoo…. as I vented above ^ … I hope since it’s been a couple years – you have found some peace from it/them.

  • Janey

    July 30th, 2016 at 11:08 AM

    I have had bed bugs at my house too so I know that there is shame associated with it. You have to do so much to get rid of them and then it is like you have to continue to be vigilant long after you think that you have done everything. It was a mess and honestly I did not even want to tell anyone that I was going through this because I was embarrassed.

  • McCoy

    July 31st, 2016 at 8:59 AM

    any time I see a mattress on the side of the road thrown away, this is what I think probably happened

  • Julia

    August 2nd, 2016 at 7:32 AM

    I have seen where whole populations have been displaced, like if an apartment building is infested and the people all have to move out.
    You think why is this happening to me and what could I have done to prevent this?
    It is not only an inconvenience, but you know, bigger than that because people have actually had to leave their homes and find somewhere else to live.

  • Sandee

    December 11th, 2016 at 3:55 PM

    I’m in the midst of my first bed bug go-round. We suspect that they came into our house via my grown daughter’s friend or the moving company that moved my daughter’s things in with us. It started in the middle of July. I read and research and thought I’d gotten rid of them on my own (vacuum, steam clean, spray, put all clothes through the dryer, etc.). They reappeared last week, unfortunately with 15-20 bites on my granddaughter who had spent the night. I immediately called a heat-treat company as I’ve read the bugs are virtually immune to most pesticides (except DDT) and with asthma issues, pesticides are not an option. I’ve spent the last week running every single folded item through the dryer for 30 minutes, then tightly bagging them. The heat treat guys come tomorrow and will be back to reinspect in two weeks. They also offer a 3-month guarantee which I’ll take them up on should I see ONE bug. Yes, it’s been traumatizing (2 weeks before Christmas at that!) but hopefully I’m in the homestretch. Also learned that there are “bed bug dogs” who can actually sniff them out – if I had an extra $15k to put one through the training, I’d do it in a heartbeat!

  • Alexis Hansen, LCSW

    December 12th, 2016 at 6:18 AM

    Yikes! I am sorry to hear this! That sounds like the familiar nightmare one can read about all over the internet regarding bed bugs. If you are truly interested in having a dog come sniff your house, you can actually rent them through some extermination companies to come and take a sniff. It’s expensive of course, and honestly, probably not worth the money if you have a good idea about where the bugs are hiding. Good luck to you and remember that calming yourself down is important because the bugs are not worth the toll stress takes on your health. Consider not googling bed bugs for a while and download a meditation app instead!

  • Sandee

    December 16th, 2016 at 4:11 AM

    Thanks Alexis – the update is, the house has been heat-treated, they’ll be back in two weeks to inspect and have given us a 3-month guarantee. Now that’s something to celebrate!
    And yes, I’m done googling!

  • Donald C.

    February 7th, 2017 at 8:01 PM

    Have been dealing with Bedbugs in my Apt since late Nov 2016. Have had 3 fumigations and still not rid of them more than a year later. How do I get my life back and keep my Apt? Totally frustrated.2

  • Sandee

    February 8th, 2017 at 4:39 AM

    I feel your pain (and anxiety) Donald C. After 9 months, we are in the home stretch – it’s been unbelievable the steps we’ve had to go through to get rid of them! Here’s what we’ve done:
    1. Had our house heat treated (140 degrees)
    2. Use these on every bed:
    3. Have these under every piece of furniture (2 under each bed) in our house… buy the bait too:
    I’d suggest asking your landlord to pay for the heat treatment – we paid $1500. Chances are, they either came from another apartment or they’ve moved there also from your place.
    Hope you can get them out soon!


    July 1st, 2018 at 7:19 PM

    Bedbugs are ever unwanted in households. Bedbugs will infest readily and if not controlled in enough time, will continue to wreck havoc reaching high level infestation which may be complex to eliminate completely.
    Bedbugs! These insects invade homes and wreak havoc wherever they will intentionally attack. Effective bed bug control may seem impossible when it comes to a high level stubborn infestation, but there must be light at the end of the tunnel to eliminate these small, pesky pests.
    Bed bugs are tricky bugs. When they get into a home or business, they can get into hard to reach locations, not just your beds. These insects can dwell in outlets, wall voids, electronics, behind baseboards and anywhere close to resting and sleeping human sites. They can also be deep inside upholstered furniture or under rugs unsparingly. The trick to beating these hitch hiking, tricky bugs is understanding their habits and habitats.

  • Anonymous

    June 7th, 2019 at 5:35 AM

    I have had my bed bugs for a year. I first noticed them when I moved to a condo. I had it heat treated and chemical treated several times. I told the association right away so that the people next to me would be treated. Plus, I told my nieghbors and I was the only one doing anything about it. So I moved with only a few clothing items, some moments and housewares and apparently they were in my stuff when I moved. So I had been dealing with them since I moved. I got all new furniture and clothes. I tried to treat it myself and I have had an exterminator come out and heat treat and chemical treat. I am still having problems. I am miserable and suicidal. I’m at my wits end and I don’t know what to do.


    June 7th, 2019 at 8:34 AM

    For those who think that bed bugs belong to developing countries are wrong. Bed bugs are on the rebound in developed countries breeding fast like sent curses from nowhere. From long time to now, bed bugs are known to be controlled with pesticides. But the unfolded development of pesticide resistance has led to a need for alternative control methods because of their increased surging to infest fast unstopped.
    Bed bugs are the most annoying and the creepiest pest alive in a house. So, their extermination process will be done using some effective strategic approach. These are the deadly insects which are mostly hidden under the bed or inside the bed sheet or couch. Their food is our blood. Yes, they suck human blood and can stay alive for a few days. As they do not move often, so mostly they can be found during the night. If not treated within time, then their infestation can lead to serious health hazards. Professional approach to remove bedbugs from your house is the smartest approach as home remedies don’t show effective results. Dealing with these creepy pests can be very dangerous if not treated correctly. Their reappearance is very obvious if one doesn’t take necessary expertise help.

  • Deb

    July 22nd, 2019 at 11:52 AM

    I am glad I found your blog. I purchased a condo that came with bedbugs too. The emotional fallout has been very challenging and I am a Counselor with a whole toolbox of healthy coping skills. The medical bills (I am highly allergic to the bites) and exterminator bills are costly. In Ohio, I have learned that there is no legal recourse. A real estate Attorney said there are rules regarding landlord responsibilities but there are no rule holding home sellers liable. Reportedly, the Realtor Board tried to fight a 2013 rule change but they were unsuccessful. (I have yet to investigate this.) It is just not right that a seller doesn’t have to disclose the presence of bedbugs. Never having had bedbugs, I did not know what to look for prior to purchase and regrettably, I did not have a pest inspection done. Pest inspection is not required in Ohio and Home inspectors are not required to do pest inspection. I think this should change and I am going to put some energy into seeing if the rules can be changed. What do people do who don’t have financial resources to exterminate and seek medical attention?

  • Keir D

    June 22nd, 2020 at 4:13 PM

    I can truly sympathize with those having bed bug issues. I had a bed bug infestation from Sep-Dec 19 and I was able to exterminate them on my own. I applied an ample amount of diatomaceous earth on the floor and directly on both sides of my mattress and box spring. After applying DE I covered both the box spring and mattress with a bed bug mattress protector so the bed bugs were unable to flee essentially trapping them between the mattress and the protector. After roughly 3-4weeks the DE killed all the trapped bed bugs and their eggs. Now with that said I also slept on this mattress while I was treating it which can be a potential health risk. This was a risk I was willing to take if it resulted in eliminating the problem and regaining me sanity. I’m pleased to say I have yet to see another bedbug since this treatment. For those DIY’ers give it a shot it worked for me.

  • Leslie

    July 20th, 2020 at 9:46 AM

    I live in Social Housing in Toronto and my building is infested with them and I have personally been dealing with them for over a year. Emotionally I am a mess. Any suggestions on how to deal with this. Thank you.

  • Donna

    September 12th, 2020 at 8:06 PM

    I had PTSD before these monsters appeared in the apartment I just moved into…I have been dealing with them since July, and I have lost weight, sleep, money, and my patience! The property manager has been a serious witch about the mess and had the gall to suggest it was MY fault as well as MY responsibility to pay to treat this place!! So far, I’ve kept my temper with her, but she is seriously pushing the limit!! Yoga, walks, talking with a VERY few people, support from my son, my own reserves…I have all of these coping strategies and it is STILL horrid! The stigma attached to these awful insects is widespread. I can’t bring myself to write the 2 words to name them! I will get past this situation, but it is amazingly difficult to stay positive while dealing with them…Knowing I am not alone helps a little, but this misery does NOT need company! I want them GONE!!

  • Lee

    November 12th, 2020 at 6:44 PM

    I feel all of you! I just found a bed bug a week and a half ago, reported to apt. manager with pic, I wasn’t sure it was a bed bug and really hoped it wasn’t! Alas, it was and I have since found more along with their eggs and 4 nymphs that hadn’t fed yet. Fortunately, they seem to have set up shop in one specific area (my headboard shelf – EEEEEWWW!!! Such convenient access to my blood! EEEEWWWWWW!) BUT the hours of googling inform me that it’s highly unlikely that is the only location.
    This is the first building I have lived in where they do regular inspections for bb with dogs, and I have never seen a bed bug before living here. They had a treatment scheduled a week after I found the first adult one that was cancelled and rescheduled for a week later, so it has now been 1.5 weeks since I found the first one. I have purchased the traps for my bed frame feet and a mattress encasement, done tons of laundry, etc. in the meantime. I am partially disabled, and cannot physically do all of the hunting and lifting and moving and crawling required to inspect every inch of my apt., so I am struggling with imagining a cluster of eggs and nymphs and adults here, there, EVERYWHERE I can’t get to, it is MADDENING. I have spent countless hours with a flashlight looking for them and signs every morning and night and throughout the day.
    I also have PTSD and I feel like I am really struggling to maintain sanity, it’s very triggering and I have not been able to go to sleep on time or stay asleep and I constantly have sensations of being bitten all over my body all day and throughout the night. I recently was diagnosed with 3 sleep disorders and have been diligently working through the therapies for them, and they are extremely difficult to maintain while dealing with these bed bugs. I KNOW rationally that this is not a particularly bad infestation, that I am taking all the action I can, etc. yet I still keep having this anxiety, sensations of being crawled on and bitten, etc., every time my inner ear itches a bit like normal I feell freaked out that it’s a bed bug and it’ll lay eggs in my ears and… AAAAGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Trying to find bed bug humor but it’s just not there!

  • Sammy

    November 18th, 2020 at 12:15 AM

    Hey 16 year-old here, I had bed bugs for like 2 summers in a row a few years ago, and recently found one crawling on me during one of my classes. Reading this definitely reduces the anxiety I have felt the entire day since finding out about it, and never even thought of leaving my house(I’m a bit of a home body, when I’m not forced to go somewheres)

  • Dandy

    January 3rd, 2021 at 2:21 AM

    I’m so happy I found this blog & know im not alone. I’m dealing with them now & I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. It’s 4:18am and I can’t sleep cuz I’m so anxious. I don’t even want to turn my light off. I can’t believe this is happening to me – i have a professional treatment scheduled & I’ve begun a MASSIVE de-clutter. I know I’ll get to the other side of this I know I will. We all will.

  • Rachel

    July 16th, 2021 at 11:23 PM

    Our nightmare has only begun. I had a big scare some years ago. And my roommate had a terrible infestation years ago. But we just got them here or just noticed them. Unfortunately I just sent a cat tree to my mom in my sister’s car (which my cats were using) the day before we saw a bug and realized it. Although we vacuumed it well from my cats before sending it, she had the pieces in her house for a day. Thankfully the timing was right we saw the bug and she got it out that day. Our issue here is starting to explode and I’m SO worried for my mother! She is somewhat of a hoarder (!) and already has a problem with fleas. And she has quite some cats and dogs. How will she even notice itchy bed bug bites when she and her pets probably have itchy flea bites?! I’m freaking out here, but if she got them she will never get rid of them and I will be disowned by my family. And she’s 8 hours away so I can’t go to help her address it now. I feel helpless, embarrassed, ashamed and guilty. I’m sending her some products and will tell her how to start handling, but she doesn’t have much energy for what it takes and I dont think she understands the potential of this. I really want to disappear.

  • Yolanda

    July 23rd, 2021 at 3:21 AM

    This is a nightmare that I don’t wish on nobody the constant feeling of bed bugs crawling all over your body during the daytime taking multiple showers losing sleep afraid to sleep but yet find yourself stripping beds looking for evidence and can’t find none nor see anything in the climb up receptors I don’t have allergies or allergic to anything one would go to think that after 2 yrs living in a house they would for sure see something moving Iam at wits in I’m losing my mind people think I’m crazy but I’m not I feel so isolated scared to go outside with the thought of them crawling on me the frustration and stress levels is real I don’t know what else to do I made a call to my landlord and of course he will not call exterminator no evidence no treatments as I’m typing this I’m literally crying how do I get my life back over these pest

  • Shel

    September 26th, 2021 at 2:35 PM

    I feel better after reading these similar experiences and emotions; I am not alone in this horrible situation.

  • Shel

    September 26th, 2021 at 2:36 PM

    I feel not as alone after reading these comments.

  • Shel

    September 26th, 2021 at 2:54 PM

    I was surprised by how many people on this site have been experiencing similar situations and the same emotions I have been experiencing lately. I feel so helpless, hopeless, depressed, anxious, and insane. I have to rely on the Pest Control Company to schedule treatments which states on the prep sheet: 2 weeks after the 1st, but now it’s 3 weeks! They changed it and the memo/prep sheet hasnt been updated. This has been the worst 3 months but the last 3 weeks have definitely been the worst 3 weeks of my life. Absolute hell. I live in subsidized housing in an apartment so I have to rely on them to organize the scheduling of treatments. But waiting these past 3 weeks have worsened the BB situation exponentially. I threw out n6t bed 4 weeks ago and have to slep on an infested sofa! The things I have to wear for sleeping is just insane and unfair I believe, in addition to having to take extra sedatives in order to sleep a few hours. I have been at my wits end like so many have also expressed; almost suicidal. I am finally having the most needed 2nd treatment tomorrow which should have been this past Friday so I am very anxious returning to my apt . Last tone I returned after the 1st treatment I noticed the pests were still around. Noticed it that weekend and emailed the company on Monday with no reply.
    So I am really going thro hell and am in tears everyday and feel so alone. So reassuring to read simular experiences and similar emotions.

  • TJ

    October 1st, 2021 at 4:37 AM

    I’m 17 and I’ve seen them in my bedroom and around the small flat and when I told my parent, carer she told me it’s my problem to deal with. I’m pretty sure I’ve got bite marks on my body and I know they’ve been here without a doubt. I even got a spray that has reduced them, but I still see them. I feel better it’s not just me experiencing this, but it’s not good knowing the ‘owner’ of the living space is so ignorant as to think it’s not her responsibility to help. I am a bit of a horder, so unfortunately I will be throwing stuff out for peace of mind and to prepare for when I move out. I have already started washing and drying things on high heat and putting them in vacuum seal bags, which gives me peace of mind.

  • Madison

    November 9th, 2021 at 11:53 AM

    I have been plagued with these things for 5 years. I have moved 3 times, hired 2 different
    exterminators, spent thousands on throwing out infested furniture and the rebuying it multiple times. My downfall has been not getting rid of everything I own before my last move. I had already got rid of all of my furniture, and I couldn’t afford to re-buy anything else. I thought I would be able to keep my laptop and some kitchen items. But the bed bug nymphs are extremely small and were hiding in both. Now they are in my new apartment. I’m exhausted, isolated and broke. How can there be no help for us?

  • Lou

    March 6th, 2022 at 4:32 AM

    Hey, I am a 16 year old and I’ve been wanting to tell my family I have bed bugs, but I’m just so afraid to! I don’t know how to do so without freaking them out and having them make me do everything myself to get rid of them. If I tell them they will probably throw away all of my plushies,not even wash them, and nowadays those plushies are all that keep me sane, my mental illness I have makes me see them as my only few friends (schizophrenia is weird). They’ll probably also have to tell my school, and I’m already bullied so much that I don’t want them to. I’ve had them for months now and known all the while. My little brother also has, and he doesn’t want to tell them either, for the same reasons as me. And we don’t have the money for a professional to exterminate them. We can barely even pay bills and buy groceries, I don’t think we’d have enough to even cover a quarter of it. I don’t know how to tell them or anyone, or what they will do, and it’s gotten so bad that I can sit by my bunkbed in the day and see them come out. How would I tell them?? What would they do?? Should I tell my therapist and have them tell my family?? I’m just so tired of it, please, man.

  • Magdalen

    April 15th, 2022 at 3:00 AM

    Have you heard of anyone doing all their belongings because they can’t stand it… even though they dony have money and work a low income job, they just dumped it all…..???

  • Tracey

    September 6th, 2022 at 9:46 AM

    What a comforting post. We’ve been ‘attacked’ w/the bugs for a few months now. Not sure where they came from, but I believe it may have come from my adult disabled son’s job; maybe from another person; maybe when his work relocated – I don’t know. I know it is the worst in his room. This makes me feel like a horrible mother because I feel like I’m not protecting him. I’m also losing it because I’m exhausted. I’m seeing them on my bed as well which makes it impossible for me to sleep. I try to stay up until I collapse and never sleep through the night. I’m constantly thrashing around with the ‘itchies.’ Also, constantly trying to wash bedcovers and keep them bagged is a full time job in itself. One day, I freaked totally out and threw away A. TON. of clothes that had been stored for the winter. We’re living out of plastic totes and bags. Finally calling a professional and praying it won’t be more than I afford. I’ve isolated myself, I don’t invite folks over, before work, I totally check myself over, including my shoes, the rashes on my arms, hands, etc., are completely ugly. Sigh…. thanks for letting me share here. I’ve only told my sister who told me my niece has been battling the bugs for years. We’ve been trying to ‘control’ them ourselves which is just not working and I don’t like using the sprays (very $$$) as my son has a terminal autoimmune disease. Prayers for all of us. Thank you.

  • Jim K.

    March 3rd, 2023 at 2:29 PM

    Hi ;
    This may sound complicated, but here goes ! I am a 78 year old disabled / retired steelworker. I have heard of bedbugs all my life, but never had even seen one. During this past summer got infested with them. I hired a highly recommended bedbug specialist here in central Pa. He came here August the 28th. and heat treated for 10 hours at 150 Degrees, and sprayed everything and left. Cost $2100.00 But No bugs till late in October, then it all started over again !! My Wife has had dementia for about 5 years, and I have been Her caretaker here at home. I truly Love Her, and would have wanted it no other way !!
    I have been Sooooo busy with her, that the new infestation got way ahead of me !! Last Friday 2/24/23 I was helping her back to bed, and She fell over and took me down with her. She is currently in a rehab unit nearby, but I am not allowed to go visit her !! I will admit we have been sort of hoarders as far as clothing and things go, because of changing weight as we’ve aged. So I need to find some kind of help to get most of this stuff to the landfill and clean up !! I had to take her to the home last week, and this morning I killed at least 25 bugs on the bed so I know why I can’t visit her ! I have bagged a lot of the stuff already. I need to get the bed and some other things out of here, and need help, But I really don’t know where to turn !!!!

  • Nova

    March 5th, 2023 at 3:13 AM

    I had to move into public housing 1 yr & 4 mo ago and unbeknownst to me it was infested with cockroaches and then came the bedbugs from my neighbor who was finally evicted. Court documents indicated he had 36 different identifiable insects in his apt. I’m 60 & have never dealt with any bug infestation in my life. I cried for months. The high rise promised me a new apt but drug their feet & I called every public state & federal program for housing I could & was told I’m not the only one with these problems and that there was nothing they could do. I could move they said. I couldn’t afford to move as I had just moved into the hellhole I’m in. I’ve not had anyone over to my place in 16 months & I check myself & spray my clothes with alcohol before I head out the door so I don’t spread them but that fear stays with me even when I’m not home. I’m sick about it and I’ve been depressed & isolated because of it. Another summer coming on & I’m embarrassed to wear shorts or sandals because of the bites. I clean, throw even MORE stuff out & vacuum but they are still here. I’m exhausted, worn out and am running out of excuses to tell people as to why they aren’t invited to my home. Tuesday they will start another new round of 3 treatments every 2 weeks. Last time we thought they were gone but after some time passed I saw one & it took the high rise management 3 MONTHS to get pest control back in here. I bought my own pesticide (Harris bedbug and egg killer) and started spraying myself to do something more than clean to assist in ridding my ‘bug palace’ of them. Our lease actually says we can be evicted for using ANY pesticide on our own to help eliminate them. Can you believe that? My jaw dropped to the floor when the management company told me that. I read my lease again, thoroughly this time, and it was there in black & white. How is that even humane? So this will be the 1st treatment for the 2nd round. I can’t move and take them with me to a new apt and it has been so expensive going through garbage bags and cleaning & I cannot afford to move. I am tired, mentally exhausted & tired of my life being so disrupted by these monsters. I have told NOT A SOUL because of the shame and stigma associated with them. It makes me feel better to know I am not alone with this horrific problem. I don’t know what I’ll do if this round of treatments don’t eliminate them. I can’t deal with this anymore and yet I see others have had them for awhile too. I am not alone. I still buy my own pest control & spray for roaches and will continue to monitor for bedbugs if they ever go away for the rest of my life. It’s been a nightmare. Thank You all for sharing your struggles. If we haven’t told people about them how many others out there must there be too ashamed to tell anyone.

  • A.

    May 28th, 2023 at 4:17 PM

    We hired a professional and were told that we need to put everything in the dryer for 1 hour then leave it bagged. This is taking forever, even with going to the laundromat and with throwing a lot away. Can anyone tell me how long it has taken then to prepare for pest control. Is is better to have heat treatment or Diatomaceous Earth and spray treatment?

  • Chris

    September 26th, 2023 at 7:10 PM

    We found them on September 5, in our couch an on our bed. I had been eaten alive all summer but thought it was outside bugs because they also were more attracted to me than normal. We threw out our 3 year old couch. We threw out our bed, box springs and the recliner – just to be safe. Mt husband sleeps on an inflatable mattress in our room. I sleep in the kitchen, on a gravity lounge chair. My son found one in his room today, but there hadn’t been any there before. I checked his room and couldn’t find a nest so assumed they came from our bedroom. There were two I found in the crease of the inflatable bed. I’m guessing one traveled on one of our pets. Now I feel like they could be anywhere. It’s an awful feeling to not feel sade in your home. I’ve been on rounds of steroids, antibiotics and antihistamines just to cope with the aftermath of earlier bites. What if I get more? How will I get ever get better? When will my home feel like home. I try to vacuum every other day, spray alcohol in all the floor cracks and baseboards. I also spray diatomaceous earth in all floor crevices but especially the entry to my son’s room and the kitchen. I thought that all was working until today. However 4 bugs doesn’t seem too bad in the grand scheme. Yet, it’s 4 too many. I can’t believe there’s not financial support to help with this too.
    The stigma behind these mini vampires is almost as bad as they are. You can’t tell your family. You have to hope no one tries to come over.

  • Anna

    September 30th, 2023 at 1:59 PM

    I am in the middle of pest control right now. After every treatment I see a new one popping out. Pest control won’t come back until I call again. I don’t go anywhere except to doctors’ offices and hospital. I am being treated for a terminal disease, so I’m even more a hermit than before. It started with bites on my arms and legs. I thought I had a rash or allergy that started in June. In July I went to the hospital for something else and they did not know what “the rash” was. The next week I saw an allergist and got checked for other kinds of allergies, but the doctor did not recognize the bumps. Some weeks later I looked under my futon cover and there was a nest of them. I sleep only on the futon in the living area, so I stayed there every night after I sprayed. My landlord was of no use and waited a week to tell me he couldn’t find a pest control agency, so I found one on my own. I’m so afraid that they are still hiding with and will pop up when I least expect it. Because I don’t leave my apartment except for doctors and tests, I thought I got it from one of these places. I finally realized that I have my groceries delivered every week by many different people with their cars, it had to come from someone’s car. It makes sense since I have determined that the bugs started somewhere in June. It is gross, but staying in one place and not going to another part of the apartment and furniture, kept them contained in that area. I used spray often and started up the walls after a while, only not so fast. My mental health is suffering from this, and a family member is so freaked she won’t talk to me. I can’t go to a local doctor or therapist, because they will either be grossed out or call the health department. I’m already on prozac but it only goes so far. Can anyone recommend an online therapist or by phone?

  • Kari

    November 11th, 2023 at 6:51 PM

    It’s hard. As you all know it’s a struggle that just doesn’t seem to go away. I had them almost ten years ago but I’m still always looking and dealing with this never ending paranoia. I wonder if this will ever end. One was found in the restroom at work recently and it is affecting me mentally because I’m risking bringing this home. It’s not worth it. Nothing is. I wish the could be eradicated.

  • Kelly

    December 10th, 2023 at 7:08 PM

    I have suffered with bed bugs for the past 10 years because I live in a quadplex and the landlord would only exterminate my apartment. They are in the walls at this point. They sold the building and I am forced to move. I’m leaving all of my furniture behind and putting my belongings IN STORAGE for at least a year. It’s the only way I think I can get rid of them for good.

  • Polly

    January 20th, 2024 at 12:08 PM

    A week ago I was pretty sure I found one for the first time ever inside of my backpack. I panicked, squished it, and flushed it before showing it to the exterminator. I had a bed bug inspection and was told they found no traces of bed bugs. However, I’m still panicked based on all the research I have done. I want to believe it is only one or just a bug that looks similar. But even after the all clear vote from Orkin, I still don’t feel safe in my room. I’m consistently checking to see if any more pop up. I’m so scared to have to deal with what every story is sharing on here. And if this is when I don’t have any, what would I do if I find another?

  • Tracey

    January 23rd, 2024 at 8:20 PM

    I hope this can give some of you folks a light @ the end of the tunnel. I originally posted here on September 6, 2022 and as of August, 2023, the bed bug problem was O-V-E-R-. I know that date well because it was our last treatment and I have not seen one bug since then. It’s almost like an anniversary date, so to speak. It took nearly a year of the exterminator coming every two weeks for that long to get the problem remedied. It was truly traumatic and don’t be ashamed to admit that it is. No one is alone in this but everyone who has dealt with/is dealing with has been/is being traumatized. While ‘the plague’ (as I chose to call it) went on, my son was very sick and his room was ground zero. My doctor suggested I talk to a therapist for everything going on in my life; when I shared about how ”the plague’ affected me, she said ‘honey – you are living with serious trauma.’ I told her how I couldn’t get under the covers in my bed (even tho it has been wrapped during treatment), I slept on top of the covers in my clothes for ever. I was exhausted, broke out in hives, cried incessantly while I still fought to keep my son safe. The library became me and my son’s 2nd home while I had the Significant Other drop us there while he went to his brother’s for the hours we had to stay out of the house after each treatment. It was one of the hardest things to deal with in my life, but I want to let you know with proper, CONSISTENT TREATMENT AND DILLIGENCE, it will end. We only requested the same technician so we had a great rapport with him (a young guy named “Nate” whom I’ll never forget). He went in hard for us and I would leave him a bag of candy after each treatment. I told him he became like family. Lol. It’s funny to be able to laugh now. I have not replaced a lot of the things I got rid of after all was clear. I got used to the minimalism look created when I tossed everything. 2022/23 were two of the hardest years ever. In June 2022. my son entered a nursing home & passed away from his auto-immune disease on 12/04/23, then on 12/23/23, my Significant Other had a massive heart attack while I was at work & passed instantly. Now at 60 years old, I’m alone for the first time in over 36 years, left with the memories of everything we went thru. I thank God for keeping me sane through it all, so if you’re reading this and suffering with ‘the plague’ – please know ‘and this, too, shall pass’ even though it will seem like an eternity and for a long time, every little speck you see will make you think it’s a bug & your feelings with panic for a minute. Trust me, hang in there. Stay CONSISTENT & DILLIGENT, don’t skip treatments and don’t slack on what you’re doing to prevent them. Thank you for sharing and reading. Good luck & God bless.

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of's Terms and Conditions of Use.


* Indicates required field.

GoodTherapy uses cookies to personalize content and ads to provide better services for our users and to analyze our traffic. By continuing to use this site you consent to our cookies.