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Rabies Phobia Ruins Lives (But Let Me Give You Hope...)

jay_03

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Hello. I have neglected writing about this for far too long. It is time to shed some light so others struggling will have peace of mind knowing they are not alone, and there are people you can talk to.

My name is Jay. I am 19, an American male college student and general consensus claims I am a fun guy who really enjoys life who just happens to have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I am involved in a lot, I volunteer, encourage talking about mental health, and I am very active creatively. I enjoyed good food and drink and spent my days happy and in love with my beautiful girlfriend and spending time with my family when I got the chance.

Except that USED to be me. Until I learned about rabies and its 99.9% mortality rate if untreated. (Only confirmed survivor by wild chance is Jeanna Giese.) To preface, there are 327,000,000 people that live in the U.S. On average, only around 1-3 people a year die in the States from this 100% preventable yet terminal zoonotic disease carried by bats, skunks, raccoons, and dogs. But my GAD didn't care, it turned to something new, HEALTH anxiety. I became obsessed to the point of borderline insanity. I found myself waking up at 3 AM with my phone flashlight shining on my body parts, looking for any stray marks and redness. I grew a fear of the dark where I would imagine bats flying out of the darkness and biting my thumb without me realizing. I have Googled THOUSANDS of times, to the point where I can quote to you, not only rabies statistics worldwide, but exactly how to prevent and identify rabies in every single organism on this planet.

I felt like I was going insane. It started to tear apart my relationships with people. I was having panic attacks every single time it got dark out. I have sent hundreds of texts and photos to my family, causing justifiable frustration in them that would grow with every single file. I would bother my girlfriend every single time I felt any bodily discomfort, and now we barely talk when we used to spend every waking moment together and happy. Every muscle twitch, tendon pain, swallowing of spit, bruise, dent, mark, and cut I analyzed, assessed, documented, sobbed over, and resigned my mind to the inevitability of my own death by this awful disease. My father is a physician, I have received the mark of good health from him no less than a thousand times, and my mind is still paralyzed by the thought of being unknowingly infected with little time left.

As time went on, eventually I got a cold, as humans do. Now a cold brings two things: muscle aches, the shakes, and throat closing/hypersalivation, the three marked symptoms presented in the rabid infection. I became hysterical. Now I had assumed I had entered prodrome and the one thing WebMD and every other godawful health page on the internet will tell you is once rabies starts symptoms, it is too late. I was/am frenzied, immediately throwing my mental health and life into disarray and sobbing every night until I was out of anything to cry while I thought I was on the descent to the worst possibility.

By now the cold is almost over, and I am still alive, still writing this forum post, and plan on being alive for a very long time after this is posted. But I am here to tell anyone who is suffering from this same thought, anyone looking to shed light on “rabies anxiety”, and anyone feeling alone and isolated right now because of how this phobia affects lives, that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

You are going to be OKAY. You are LOVED. You are VALUABLE. I believe in YOU, and the only advice I can give is to NOT believe that voice in yourself right now, and to believe me. That feeling you have in your head is your anxiety, not a Lyssavirus, like rabies. Anxiety DOES cause physical symptoms and they will feel scary, but you are going to be just fine. Keep reading that as much as you need to. You are going to be just fine. You are stronger than this and I know that we can all win against these untrue thoughts, however incessant and daunting they sound and feel to you. I still struggle with them, on the daily, but I have struggled far too long, and that is why I decided to write this and do something about it. If you want to talk about your fear, DM me, I am here for you. If you need to just vent, DM me, I am here for you. If you are feeling like you no longer see hope, DM me, I am here for you. Also if it has gotten to that point, please seek professional help. Even if you have to do it yourself and you are scared, I promise you, life is better with you in it and you need to share how you feel with someone. This anxiety is not worth losing yourself with it. Believe me, I struggled.

This is my story and this is how I struggled. I still struggle sometimes, but it does get easier, a little more so every day. I love you, don‘t give up hope. That cold is just a cold. That scratch is just a scratch. That bruise is just a bruise. It is going to be okay, people love you. Breathe deep, and believe in me, just like I believe in you.

We're going to be okay.​
 

E.B

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I have been dealing with different created scenarios the past few months regarding rabies. What bothers me the most is my dramatic 180 regarding animals. I used to go completely out of my way to pet different animals. I mean way out of my way....

Now every single animal potentially has rabies. I can't go to family functions because of the animals. Im not sure whether i need to force myself to go play with animals again or what. The 180 that has become is very extreme.
 

jay_03

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I have been dealing with different created scenarios the past few months regarding rabies. What bothers me the most is my dramatic 180 regarding animals. I used to go completely out of my way to pet different animals. I mean way out of my way....

Now every single animal potentially has rabies. I can't go to family functions because of the animals. Im not sure whether i need to force myself to go play with animals again or what. The 180 that has become is very extreme.
E.B, I understand. I initially backed away from any and all animals. I am not sure whether or not this is common knowledge but canine rabies is basically eradicated in the U.S. Due to the success of domestic vaccination, all dogs, whether at a shelter or in a house are vaccinated. Once the State catches a stray, they will initially vaccinate for the public health. Cats have a special sense and awareness that keeps them from getting the virus due to sheer instinct, so no need for panic with cats too. Domestic animals, are usually pretty a-okay, in the states at least. Most wild animals have the sensory thing to stay away from the virus, the only one that still gets me freaked out sometimes are bats. Only around 1% of bats do carry rabies, yet I still some days cannot shake the feeling that they all do. Funniest part is my favorite superhero has always been Batman! And now I can't even look at the Bat symbol without flinching.
 

E.B

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I hear you. I go through phases where I do the whole was that a bat that just hit me, or making sure windows are closed or sometimes even checking areas to make sure bats aren't there.
 

jay_03

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I hear you. I go through phases where I do the whole was that a bat that just hit me, or making sure windows are closed or sometimes even checking areas to make sure bats aren't there.
I have done the exact same thing. But I totally promise it’s gonna be okay. Bats have to land to bite and you would definitely notice one if it landed! It’s going to be okay!
 

E.B

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Im wondering if i need to force myself to go and be like i used to be regarding animals, going to pet/play with them, because in reality that's who i am or atleast who i have always been i should say.
 

martingalindo

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Hi there. I fear of rabies too. Let set the thinks like this. This all anxiety about sickness began when my dog die. I think he could die of rabies etc etc. That didnt happen and i calm down for about a year. But now the fear of rabies come back

My think now is that i dream a bat bite me, i woke up and i have an itch in my leg, i touch it scratch it, and then i think ""ooo this can be the bite of the bat" then i overthink it a lot, go to medics (who are not zoonotic specialist) and after all i go to some zoonotic center in my country (Argentina, Buenos Aires) where they normally administrate rabid vaccine to people.
They say i go a little late, so they cant confirm that the thing in my leg was or not was a bat (head of medical guard, (the boss)) say it wasnt a bat, they ask me if when i woke up i see the bat or heard anysound or movement and etc. Then i tell in which part of the city i live and the doctor who was seeing my case say well there are bats in this area to the other doctor.
And they desided to give me only 2 doses because they say the area was not (the neck neither the hands, so less risk park) and the scratch was a little small.



https://www.reddit.com/r/AskDocs/comments/f53q30
https://www.reddit.com/r/AskDoctorSmeeee/comments/f515x2

Then i found and old scar and i think it was made by the bat.....
https://www.reddit.com/r/AskDocs/comments/f6tv24

Now i have my two doses, one on day 19 and other on day 26 of February, i still think this 2 doses are not enought if the possible bat i never see can be the one cause the itch in my leg. So i can be 100% calm, i was a little less anxiety than before. but not 100% calm.

Now any symptoms of anything can be rabies symptoms.
If i have any contracture, any mucus in my throat. etc etc
 

davidbelleca

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Hello. I have neglected writing about this for far too long. It is time to shed some light so others struggling will have peace of mind knowing they are not alone, and there are people you can talk to.

My name is Jay. I am 19, an American male college student and general consensus claims I am a fun guy who really enjoys life who just happens to have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I am involved in a lot, I volunteer, encourage talking about mental health, and I am very active creatively. I enjoyed good food and drink and spent my days happy and in love with my beautiful girlfriend and spending time with my family when I got the chance.

Except that USED to be me. Until I learned about rabies and its 99.9% mortality rate if untreated. (Only confirmed survivor by wild chance is Jeanna Giese.) To preface, there are 327,000,000 people that live in the U.S. On average, only around 1-3 people a year die in the States from this 100% preventable yet terminal zoonotic disease carried by bats, skunks, raccoons, and dogs. But my GAD didn't care, it turned to something new, HEALTH anxiety. I became obsessed to the point of borderline insanity. I found myself waking up at 3 AM with my phone flashlight shining on my body parts, looking for any stray marks and redness. I grew a fear of the dark where I would imagine bats flying out of the darkness and biting my thumb without me realizing. I have Googled THOUSANDS of times, to the point where I can quote to you, not only rabies statistics worldwide, but exactly how to prevent and identify rabies in every single organism on this planet.

I felt like I was going insane. It started to tear apart my relationships with people. I was having panic attacks every single time it got dark out. I have sent hundreds of texts and photos to my family, causing justifiable frustration in them that would grow with every single file. I would bother my girlfriend every single time I felt any bodily discomfort, and now we barely talk when we used to spend every waking moment together and happy. Every muscle twitch, tendon pain, swallowing of spit, bruise, dent, mark, and cut I analyzed, assessed, documented, sobbed over, and resigned my mind to the inevitability of my own death by this awful disease. My father is a physician, I have received the mark of good health from him no less than a thousand times, and my mind is still paralyzed by the thought of being unknowingly infected with little time left.

As time went on, eventually I got a cold, as humans do. Now a cold brings two things: muscle aches, the shakes, and throat closing/hypersalivation, the three marked symptoms presented in the rabid infection. I became hysterical. Now I had assumed I had entered prodrome and the one thing WebMD and every other godawful health page on the internet will tell you is once rabies starts symptoms, it is too late. I was/am frenzied, immediately throwing my mental health and life into disarray and sobbing every night until I was out of anything to cry while I thought I was on the descent to the worst possibility.

By now the cold is almost over, and I am still alive, still writing this forum post, and plan on being alive for a very long time after this is posted. But I am here to tell anyone who is suffering from this same thought, anyone looking to shed light on “rabies anxiety”, and anyone feeling alone and isolated right now because of how this phobia affects lives, that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

You are going to be OKAY. You are LOVED. You are VALUABLE. I believe in YOU, and the only advice I can give is to NOT believe that voice in yourself right now, and to believe me. That feeling you have in your head is your anxiety, not a Lyssavirus, like rabies. Anxiety DOES cause physical symptoms and they will feel scary, but you are going to be just fine. Keep reading that as much as you need to. You are going to be just fine. You are stronger than this and I know that we can all win against these untrue thoughts, however incessant and daunting they sound and feel to you. I still struggle with them, on the daily, but I have struggled far too long, and that is why I decided to write this and do something about it. If you want to talk about your fear, DM me, I am here for you. If you need to just vent, DM me, I am here for you. If you are feeling like you no longer see hope, DM me, I am here for you. Also if it has gotten to that point, please seek professional help. Even if you have to do it yourself and you are scared, I promise you, life is better with you in it and you need to share how you feel with someone. This anxiety is not worth losing yourself with it. Believe me, I struggled.

This is my story and this is how I struggled. I still struggle sometimes, but it does get easier, a little more so every day. I love you, don‘t give up hope. That cold is just a cold. That scratch is just a scratch. That bruise is just a bruise. It is going to be okay, people love you. Breathe deep, and believe in me, just like I believe in you.

We're going to be okay.​
Hey brother, I'm new here, Im suffering this kind of situation but yours is worst compared to me but man i have extreme phobia on rabies after i googled symptoms and research a lot about rabies. Last month I was scratched by my pet cat when i was teasing it and one of its nail pierced through and it bleed a bit so i washed it with detergent and poured an alcohol, the wound is at my wrist btw and I went to a local hospital and they said that i have to observe my pet cat for 3 to 2 weeks and until now the cat is healthy but my mind not satisfied by it so i went to animal bite center to pay for vaccination and it cost me a lot of money because the government hospital wont vaccinate me for free and after i finished my schedule for vaccine im a bit eased but i still had the stigma of having a rabies virus and my anxiety still attacks me, also i watched rabies patients in YouTube die and until now it still haunts me , I didn't have flu symptoms or any symptoms from rabies but my mind is toying with like someone's whispering like when i use my electric fan and the air is steady on me, my mind's saying (you have aerophobia) and take note it's one of symptoms right? but im not really scared of air breeze, what do you think bro? is this cause by anxiety? my physical health is 100% ok though and i don't have a flu it's just this aerophobia and hydrophobia keeps crossing my mind but i can drink water and not scared. what are your thoughts bro? im planning on consulting to psychiatrist, what do u think? sorry for my bad english
 

martingalindo

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Hi, i am still alive. So i believe i have not rabies... Also... i take the rabies vaccines (yep all the 4 is was not so logic answer but a answer to stop my anxiety). I also go to a psychologist and a psychiatrist, because in my case... i never see the bat i dream. So i believe now for sure, it was a dream.
What can i say is that the cat need to stay in close interaction with a rabied animal to catch rabies, also if the cat has the vaccines, is unlikely to adquire rabies even if the cat was in close interaction with a rabied animal
 

davidbelleca

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Hi, i am still alive. So i believe i have not rabies... Also... i take the rabies vaccines (yep all the 4 is was not so logic answer but a answer to stop my anxiety). I also go to a psychologist and a psychiatrist, because in my case... i never see the bat i dream. So i believe now for sure, it was a dream.
What can i say is that the cat need to stay in close interaction with a rabied animal to catch rabies, also if the cat has the vaccines, is unlikely to adquire rabies even if the cat was in close interaction with a rabied animal
hi mate, what did the psychiatrist tell you? did it help you cope up?
 

martingalindo

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Yep it help, the psychiatrist tell me that it looks like a neurosis, related with a obsessive behavior. Now i am taking a pill (luvox) who help to it.
If you are sure, your cat is okay, he/she was vaccinated and has no chance to get rabies but you still think in it. it could be something similar
 

davidbelleca

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Yep it help, the psychiatrist tell me that it looks like a neurosis, related with a obsessive behavior. Now i am taking a pill (luvox) who help to it.
If you are sure, your cat is okay, he/she was vaccinated and has no chance to get rabies but you still think in it. it could be something similar
yes, my mind keeps thinking about rabies 24 hours my cat is still alivr and healthy, she scratched me in my wrist part when i was toying with her, this cat is unvaccinated but i am certain it is not rabid because if she's rabid she would have died long time ago right? and this we always put a leash on our pet cats because we live beside the highway. this anxiety suddenly popped up when after 2 weeks ago when i watched videos of rabies patients in YouTube and reading different cases in Google! and after that, last week when i woke up, boom, i got obsessed with rabies it wont get off my mind, and my thoughts pretend that i am scared of air breeze and water but it's in the back of my mind i sleep with my electric fan on and drink a lot water and take a bath , i aint scared of these and remember these symptoms are on the last stages of rabies right? my body feels okay and i never felt ill or flu like symptoms , its just its so damn frustrating in my head that the word "rabies" won't leave me! im still playing with my cats though , i think this is mild anxiety, what are ur thoughts? :(
 
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