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Author Topic: Irrational Fears of Pesticide Poisoning- Vanity Post  (Read 320 times)

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Offline AbyssusAbyssum

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Irrational Fears of Pesticide Poisoning- Vanity Post
« on: December 28, 2012, 08:54:25 PM »
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.
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Offline gcalex

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Re: Irrational Fears of Pesticide Poisoning- Vanity Post
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2012, 09:10:41 PM »
What does pride have to do with anything?  Do you think there is some shame in acknowledging you have an anxiety disorder?  You may want to reframe the issue, future counselor.
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Offline AbyssusAbyssum

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Re: Irrational Fears of Pesticide Poisoning- Vanity Post
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2012, 09:22:53 PM »
That's a fair point- I have always had a deep-seated skepticism to the disease model of mental illness, despite having a great deal of mentally imbalanced family members. Both my paternal great-grandfathers died in mental hospitals and my one of my maternal grandmothers attempted ***** a number of times. My paternal aunt was briefly committed. My mother and father both suffer from periods of anxiety and depression... but I've always felt that these conditions stemmed from a lack of self-efficacy. I sometimes suspected people were malingering to avoid life's burdens. I did not doubt that physical symptoms could arise from anxiety, but I had no idea how debilitating, or vexing, they could be. I've thrown up a couple times from anxiety, and suffered many a sleepless night, but the new symptoms gave me such pause. Its the novelty of the jerks and twitches that gets my back up when I'm talking to the docs about it all. Sure, I've been anxious before- but this feels different, and is so much more extreme.

(And what if it gets worse?)
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Offline gcalex

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Re: Irrational Fears of Pesticide Poisoning- Vanity Post
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2012, 09:27:34 PM »
To follow up, there is no shame in having anxiety.  It affects people from all walks of life, in all professions.  The sooner you acknowledge it and get past the notion that it can't be happening to ME, the sooner you can begin effective treatment.  It certainly sounds like anxiety from the symptoms you describe, and the fact that you weren't stressed out when the symptoms started (I think that's what you said) is irrelevant because much of anxiety is at a subconscious level.
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Offline gcalex

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Re: Irrational Fears of Pesticide Poisoning- Vanity Post
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2012, 09:29:10 PM »
I wouldn't call it a disease, I would call it a thought disorder. The biochemical theories of anxiety are, in my opinion, unproven and likely false.  There is no real evidence, for example, of a serotonin deficiency, despite certain marketing myths.  The best treatment is to work on cognitive restructuring and behavioral adaptation.
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Offline AbyssusAbyssum

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Re: Irrational Fears of Pesticide Poisoning- Vanity Post
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2012, 09:34:58 PM »
Have you- or others- found that talk therapy can assist in cognitive behavioral changes?
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Offline gcalex

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Re: Irrational Fears of Pesticide Poisoning- Vanity Post
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2012, 09:37:00 PM »
With a good therapist, absolutely, although ultimately they can only guide you, you have to do the work yourself.
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Offline AbyssusAbyssum

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Re: Irrational Fears of Pesticide Poisoning- Vanity Post
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2012, 10:11:26 PM »
Thanks for the support- reading your other posts I can see you're an old hand at it. A thankless job, I'm sure. I'm looking into getting some of the talking cure when I'm back at school. I just hope in time I can stop obsessing w/r/t this pesticide and sleep unassisted again.
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Offline gcalex

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Re: Irrational Fears of Pesticide Poisoning- Vanity Post
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2012, 10:15:28 PM »
Challenge the obsession with facts.  It's not that different from what lawyers do, really.  Cross-examine yourself.  What EVIDENCE do I have that I have pesticide poisoning?  Uh .... none?   What evidence do I have that my symptoms are anxiety-related?  One, they are all common symptoms of anxiety.  Two, I have some family history.  Three, this all started after I became worried about poisoning.  You're the jury -- you decide.
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