Two months ago I put down some RAID Max Bug Barrier in my apartment, spraying some of my carpet, my HVAC closet, and exterior. I followed directions and left town, when I returned I felt some anxiety about the poison but tried to put it out of mind. This is my first year of law school and I was drinking a lot of caffeine and sleeping as best as I could.
I noticed tremors two weeks back, and then, the day after my birthday, a persistent muscle twitch in my upper arm. Over the days that followed I developed more muscle spasms, and immediately correlated them mentally to the pesticide. My cat was also acting funny, grooming herself constantly and running around like a nutjob. (Cats have a special sensitivity to deltamethrin, I learned later.) When the twitches persisted for a day, I called poison control, who (as they always will do, I later learned) sent me to the E.R.
All tests came back fine. The pesticide I put down did cause these symptoms, I was told- but not in the concentrations I put down, and not in the way I described. The pesticide should've affected me immediately, or at the latest, within a few days. And the twitches and sleeplessness would only occur if I was drinking or ingesting the poison, not inhaling it.
"It's probably just anxiety." I immediately disregarded what the E.R. docs said and went home, sleepless and terrified. I managed to get an appointment with the first of many doctors, who did bloodwork. One doctor, who listened to me very carefully, researched the poison and tested me for endocrine disruption- a condition I should've been suffering from if I was experiencing deltamethrin poisoning. All the tests- before and since- have come back totally normal. I was told it was likely anxiety due to school stress. But I'm not stressed out. I'm handling it. The twitching and the tremors and the anxiety came on so suddenly - it must, it has to be, it can't not be something else.
Meanwhile I had been googling fiercely. I read everything I could, even using my academic credentials to get into scientific databases to read articles on deltamethrin testing and its effects on humans. There are horror stories, but nothing arising from the low level exposure I suffered (if at all). Calling RAID was not helpful; my legal mind, in utero yet, to be fair, tells me they're concerned with liability and refuse to acknowledge that the symptoms I'm suffering were caused by their product. One nurse tells me children spray themselves with this stuff and suffer stomach aches, nothing else. I immediately disregarded this and continued on my mad quest to find some objective sign that I was poisoned.
After a half dozen doctor's visits, and acquiring some medication for sleep, I was advised by my g.p. to move out of my apartment. Finally. Someone is fucking listening to me here. I've been vindicated, as I always knew I would be. I moved out of my apartment within a week and my symptoms subsided. The twitches and tremors were far less, and I was sleeping fine. But within a week, and deep within finals, my symptoms returned.
The dust must be on my furniture- in my car- on my clothes- in my cups and dishes- buried in my cat's fur and contained in her litter box. I immediately began to suffer deep fatigue and intense anxiety about my health. My twitches worsened, now affecting my sleep to the point where I would jerk just as I was falling asleep- and then experience the nausea and panic that precedes a panic attack. Fighting fatigue I got home for break and my symptoms seemed to perversely worsen. I was free of the exposure- within four days I would have metabolized all the poison in my system- but I was still up, pacing, unable to sleep, unable to eat, concentrate, irritable, experiencing deep mood swings. I had my car detailed but still feel the symptoms coming on when I'm in my car. I briefly stored a treated rug there.
A week ago I went and got myself an anti-anxiety SSRI. I've been on them before but this anxiety is just maddening. I simply can't accept that it's not this poison, I envision vast conspiracies of chemical companies concealing the truth of their products from thousands of silent suffering victims, all of us diagnosed with anxiety but actually- secretly- suffering from pesticide sensitivity. I don't recommend googling to try and confirm any paranoid fantasies you might have; in my experience, you always succeed in turning something up (usually around page 17 of the search).
All scientific evidence tells me this is irrational. My muscle spasms, jerks, facial twitches, tremors, anxiety, loss of appetite, etc., do not follow any cognizable pattern for ingestion of this poison, or even a hypersensitivity to it. Generally my anxiety and panic peaks around mid-afternoon, early evening, followed by fits of yawning and fatigue. By bed time I feel okay to take the meds and settle into sleep.
The problem is my pride. I can't accept that this is anxiety- I have always been a worrier but I've never had panic attacks before, or had twitches before. How could my mind do this to me- how could I experience the physical symptoms before the mental ones?
There. Abyssus abyssum invocat. Deep calls unto deep. If you've wended through this with any patience, you have my thanks. The more I read about the anxiety the more I learn that this is a common story. But for some perverse reason I want for this to be anything but a benign, curable condition of anxiety.