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To the Rabies Phobia Community: HOPE

jay_03

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Joined
Dec 27, 2019
Messages
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Hi. I’m Jay.

Let me just say, wow, it’s been a minute since I’ve been in the forum and I probably shouldn’t have taken so much of a break because there are a lot more of us than ever before. I’ve seen three posts about the phobia in the first three pages alone and please let me be the voice that guides you to hope, or at least information that you can use to feel less alone.

I was one of the original rabies worriers here. One year ago, almost exactly, I started hallucinating bats flying and having extreme paranoia that tore my old life as I knew it apart. I couldn’t go outside past 5 PM. I lost any and all love I had for animals. I lost the woman who I never thought I’d lose and the respect and love of a lot of friends and family members. I was obsessive compulsive to the point where I’d survey rooms before even considering sleeping, go days without rest or sleep, and almost ended up in a treatment facility because I was so convinced I would somehow get bitten and die.

Four months ago, when my ex left, I was determined to fix it.

It started with memorizing the IMPORTANT stats. Yes, I know if you have the phobia you’ve googled every possible thing you freaking could about the virus, but you’re googling the WRONG things! (Don’t Google, by the way, it doesn’t help.) On average; three Americans a year die from undiagnosed rabies. The IMPORTANT question to ask is, “why?” In a majority of cases, it is either caught from something overseas where rabies vaccines in animals are administered less often and Americans just didn’t even think to get checked when they were bit bc it would be safe in the States, OR they get bit and don’t get checked because they didn’t know that animal could transmit the virus. What’s the common denominator here? They REALIZED they got bit and did nothing. How is this supposed to make you feel better? They all saw themselves get bit. The whole sleep bite thing, literally is one of the most freak accidents to ever happen in human history. It won’t happen to you. Why though, let’s think about it...

A rabid animal is aggressive. It tends to latch on when biting. It most often will not let go, until it is flung off. There is no way, no way at all, you will not notice something hanging off of you. You can breathe easy, there’s no way you “missed it” or didn’t notice. I spent days of my life, searching my body for specks and feelings that weren’t there. Don’t. I promise you, you’d know. And it didn’t happen.

Let’s talk bats now. Less than 10% of bats nationally are supposed to be carriers for rabies and most of them are dormant meaning it isn’t activated yet. Bats are nature’s best little mosquito swatters. They don’t want you, even when they’re rabid, they want the little bugs that suck so badly! That is not to mean you shouldn’t report when you see a bat that’s acting weird and that you DEFINITELY shouldn’t touch one that’s out during the day or something, but they are KIND creatures. I’ve spent months of my life worrying about these guys, but they don’t want me.

And those markings you woke up with and don’t know what they are? It’s either blood capillaries under your skin which are COMPLETELY normal and come with aging, or it’s just a normal bug bite or allergic reaction! Once again, you’d KNOW if you were seriously bit because chances are it’d still be there and kicking up quite a fuss!

Now that I’ve given some insight into mental coping strategies, let me console your feelings. No, you aren’t crazy. There isn’t anything wrong with you for being scared of a virus like this. There are plenty of us in here with the phobia and you aren’t alone. In my own personal experience I went through he11 being accepted. Sometimes I even feel out of place here. How could we worry about something so infrequent when people have “real” health anxieties like heart attacks or diabetes? Well I’m here to say, this is a real health anxiety. You’re valid for feeling this way. But there’s hope.

If my advice hasn’t helped you, there’s treatment. Therapy, psychiatry, even inpatient should it get to that point. (No shame in it, I almost did) There’s also the pre-exposure vaccines which give you the antibodies and I’ve heard instant piece of mind. Personally, I haven’t gotten them and won’t. I want to be strong enough to fight this mentally to tell myself “I did this. I fixed this all by myself and I’m proud.” But there’s no shame in getting them if you’d like. Do not hesitate to DM me if you need to. I was so lost and scared when I first realized what the phobia was doing to me. But I wasn’t alone, and there are people here who will take you in and help guide you any way they can.

My life update since I have gotten a lot better: I can now go outside at night. I usually prefer a hoodie or something to cover up a bit more, but I can go outside, have fun, talk to the people I love and admire. I rebuilt my relationships with my friends and family and found ways to ground myself in the presence of other humans. I force myself to NOT GOOGLE, I don’t take pictures much anymore, I just learned all I could about the human blood vessel system and I can now explain pretty accurately why marks and spots pop up randomly. I talked to people on here who were struggling with the phobia, and we gave each other support and solace. I only post on here every two weeks or so, maybe every month on a good run and it’s just for reassurance from a loving and caring community. I’m beginning a new relationship with somebody, and I’m honest with them that it bothers me but I’m working on it, and I feel happier than I have in a long long time. It is possible to get through this, by talking, by being logical when your brain is telling you otherwise, and by admitting to yourself that there is a higher chance of getting struck by lightning which just won’t happen.

But again, I stress: it’s okay. we are all here together, and we’ll get through it just fine. Thank you for reading, and I’m here for you should any of you need me just send me a quick DM.

Much love, I believe in you all to be strong.

-Jay
 

Embyr

New Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2021
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Hi, I literally just made an account here, my psychiatrist sent me this way. I’ve had rabies phobia off and on for a long time, usually caused minor disturbances to my life, panic attacks that sort of thing. Recently, within the last year, it’s come back but developed into a life wrecking paranoia. I can’t even go outside if it’s even close to dark, I get scared of every little scratch or scrape on my skin, I’m hyper aware of anything that might remotely be a symptom. I’ve managed to stave off the frantic googling for a while, though I had one breakdown and it didn’t do great things for me. Thankfully my psychiatrist is literally the best and the meds she has me on help a lot. I don’t know, its pretty isolating, watching my boyfriend and his mom that we live with go outside at night like it’s no big deal and then you just have to explain why you can’t even go near the door. I have nightmares of bats attacking me… it scares me a lot.

my BF is literally literally the best though, he’s been taking care of me, reassuring me, taking our dog out when it gets close to night or early in the morning. I haven’t even been outside in over a week, save for going to the car to accompany his mom to her radiation appointments.

not sure if you’re still active, this is a year old post… if you see this, I’d love to have someone to talk to who gets it
 

Jonathan123

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2021
Messages
712
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776
In the UK rabies is now unknown. We used to import it from Europe, but now all dogs have to have rabies shots if they are taken abroad and intend to return. They are issued with 'passports' to prove they are OK. There are no such thing here as rabid bats, thank God. Dogs used to have to spend six months in quarantine if they were imported into the UK. That was distressing for the dog and its owners.
 

bigjetplane2

Active Member
Joined
May 12, 2021
Messages
348
Reaction score
220
Wow, that was a great post. Thank you for taking the time to type that out.
I’m sure it’ll help so many people out.
 

E.B

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
751
Reaction score
316
Hi, I literally just made an account here, my psychiatrist sent me this way. I’ve had rabies phobia off and on for a long time, usually caused minor disturbances to my life, panic attacks that sort of thing. Recently, within the last year, it’s come back but developed into a life wrecking paranoia. I can’t even go outside if it’s even close to dark, I get scared of every little scratch or scrape on my skin, I’m hyper aware of anything that might remotely be a symptom. I’ve managed to stave off the frantic googling for a while, though I had one breakdown and it didn’t do great things for me. Thankfully my psychiatrist is literally the best and the meds she has me on help a lot. I don’t know, its pretty isolating, watching my boyfriend and his mom that we live with go outside at night like it’s no big deal and then you just have to explain why you can’t even go near the door. I have nightmares of bats attacking me… it scares me a lot.

my BF is literally literally the best though, he’s been taking care of me, reassuring me, taking our dog out when it gets close to night or early in the morning. I haven’t even been outside in over a week, save for going to the car to accompany his mom to her radiation appointments.

not sure if you’re still active, this is a year old post… if you see this, I’d love to have someone to talk to who gets it
Yes i can relate. I have struggles with the rabies phobia. I may be slightly better however im sure it can easily take off. I used to go up to all animals(big time animal lover)and play with them... that changed around 2019 when i had a irrational rabies anxiety type situation. None the less i can relate.
 

LunarSoliloquy

New Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2022
Messages
1
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0
Uh… so.. I’m currently not feeling good and I’m terrified that I have rabies, but I haven’t been exposed (as far as I’ve known,) to any animal that even remotely looked rabid. Any advice?
 

bigjetplane23

Active Member
Joined
May 31, 2022
Messages
148
Reaction score
68
Wow thank you for the post. I’m sure a lot of people here with that phobia will appreciate that.
 

Mpapf

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2022
Messages
39
Reaction score
4
have any of you felt something hit you while you weren't looking and assumed that it was a bat? That happened to me tonight, I was walking out of my dad's car, and I felt something hit me, and I keep thinking it was a bat
 

Mpapf

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2022
Messages
39
Reaction score
4
Hi. I’m Jay.

Let me just say, wow, it’s been a minute since I’ve been in the forum and I probably shouldn’t have taken so much of a break because there are a lot more of us than ever before. I’ve seen three posts about the phobia in the first three pages alone and please let me be the voice that guides you to hope, or at least information that you can use to feel less alone.

I was one of the original rabies worriers here. One year ago, almost exactly, I started hallucinating bats flying and having extreme paranoia that tore my old life as I knew it apart. I couldn’t go outside past 5 PM. I lost any and all love I had for animals. I lost the woman who I never thought I’d lose and the respect and love of a lot of friends and family members. I was obsessive compulsive to the point where I’d survey rooms before even considering sleeping, go days without rest or sleep, and almost ended up in a treatment facility because I was so convinced I would somehow get bitten and die.

Four months ago, when my ex left, I was determined to fix it.

It started with memorizing the IMPORTANT stats. Yes, I know if you have the phobia you’ve googled every possible thing you freaking could about the virus, but you’re googling the WRONG things! (Don’t Google, by the way, it doesn’t help.) On average; three Americans a year die from undiagnosed rabies. The IMPORTANT question to ask is, “why?” In a majority of cases, it is either caught from something overseas where rabies vaccines in animals are administered less often and Americans just didn’t even think to get checked when they were bit bc it would be safe in the States, OR they get bit and don’t get checked because they didn’t know that animal could transmit the virus. What’s the common denominator here? They REALIZED they got bit and did nothing. How is this supposed to make you feel better? They all saw themselves get bit. The whole sleep bite thing, literally is one of the most freak accidents to ever happen in human history. It won’t happen to you. Why though, let’s think about it...

A rabid animal is aggressive. It tends to latch on when biting. It most often will not let go, until it is flung off. There is no way, no way at all, you will not notice something hanging off of you. You can breathe easy, there’s no way you “missed it” or didn’t notice. I spent days of my life, searching my body for specks and feelings that weren’t there. Don’t. I promise you, you’d know. And it didn’t happen.

Let’s talk bats now. Less than 10% of bats nationally are supposed to be carriers for rabies and most of them are dormant meaning it isn’t activated yet. Bats are nature’s best little mosquito swatters. They don’t want you, even when they’re rabid, they want the little bugs that suck so badly! That is not to mean you shouldn’t report when you see a bat that’s acting weird and that you DEFINITELY shouldn’t touch one that’s out during the day or something, but they are KIND creatures. I’ve spent months of my life worrying about these guys, but they don’t want me.

And those markings you woke up with and don’t know what they are? It’s either blood capillaries under your skin which are COMPLETELY normal and come with aging, or it’s just a normal bug bite or allergic reaction! Once again, you’d KNOW if you were seriously bit because chances are it’d still be there and kicking up quite a fuss!

Now that I’ve given some insight into mental coping strategies, let me console your feelings. No, you aren’t crazy. There isn’t anything wrong with you for being scared of a virus like this. There are plenty of us in here with the phobia and you aren’t alone. In my own personal experience I went through he11 being accepted. Sometimes I even feel out of place here. How could we worry about something so infrequent when people have “real” health anxieties like heart attacks or diabetes? Well I’m here to say, this is a real health anxiety. You’re valid for feeling this way. But there’s hope.

If my advice hasn’t helped you, there’s treatment. Therapy, psychiatry, even inpatient should it get to that point. (No shame in it, I almost did) There’s also the pre-exposure vaccines which give you the antibodies and I’ve heard instant piece of mind. Personally, I haven’t gotten them and won’t. I want to be strong enough to fight this mentally to tell myself “I did this. I fixed this all by myself and I’m proud.” But there’s no shame in getting them if you’d like. Do not hesitate to DM me if you need to. I was so lost and scared when I first realized what the phobia was doing to me. But I wasn’t alone, and there are people here who will take you in and help guide you any way they can.

My life update since I have gotten a lot better: I can now go outside at night. I usually prefer a hoodie or something to cover up a bit more, but I can go outside, have fun, talk to the people I love and admire. I rebuilt my relationships with my friends and family and found ways to ground myself in the presence of other humans. I force myself to NOT GOOGLE, I don’t take pictures much anymore, I just learned all I could about the human blood vessel system and I can now explain pretty accurately why marks and spots pop up randomly. I talked to people on here who were struggling with the phobia, and we gave each other support and solace. I only post on here every two weeks or so, maybe every month on a good run and it’s just for reassurance from a loving and caring community. I’m beginning a new relationship with somebody, and I’m honest with them that it bothers me but I’m working on it, and I feel happier than I have in a long long time. It is possible to get through this, by talking, by being logical when your brain is telling you otherwise, and by admitting to yourself that there is a higher chance of getting struck by lightning which just won’t happen.

But again, I stress: it’s okay. we are all here together, and we’ll get through it just fine. Thank you for reading, and I’m here for you should any of you need me just send me a quick DM.

Much love, I believe in you all to be strong.

-Jay
 
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