- Bed bugs are a scourge that was the subject of a report submitted to the government last week.
- The Marseille deputy LREM detailed at “20 Minutes” the important consequences on mental health.
- Among the more than 230 contributions that “20 Minutes” received following its call for witnesses, many Internet users evoke insomnia, anxiety, damage to social life and sometimes even depression.
There are night mates we could do without. Bed bugs remain a scourge for many French people. The Marseille LREM deputy Cathy Racon-Bouzon handed a report on bedbugs last week to Housing Minister Emmanuelle Wargon. Sign that the government wishes to seize the question?
Interviewed by our Marseille colleague, the deputy insisted: “It is a real public health problem. The bedbug is a disaster for mental health, with sleep disturbances, anxiety, post-traumatic syndromes linked to disinfection, social isolation. To measure the extent of these troubles, 20 Minutes gave the floor to its Internet users. And the stories, more than 230 contributions, show to what extent these pests poison the nights, but also the whole life of some French people.
Undress on the landing, sleep in your bathtub
Our readers talk about the obstacle course to get rid of these tiny insects, which bite at night and reproduce at high speed. Once the invasion is there, it takes a lot of patience, determination, time, energy… and a little nest egg to put an end to it. But beyond the financial consequences, our readers describe in detail the psychological impacts of the presence of these critters in their homes.
Not without humor, Pierre, 38, reveals this “excruciating period: checking your body when you wake up, scratching all over the place to wake up a hidden bite, listening to his colleagues talk to you about their own mosquito problem because you are the” expert “, you undress on the landing of your mistress to enter her home, refrain from going to celebrate the 40 years of your friends, psychoing about the fact that you may have infected your office…”. Fréson, 62, even decided to sleep in his bathtub, unable to close his eyes in a colonized bed.
Myriam, 50, has accumulated anxiety and skin problems. “I was so bitten that my skin did not heal any more, it was raw it even caused me eczema, the doctor gave me a treatment. “Léa, 30, also suffered from” allergic reactions with large swelling, but it is above all the psychological impact that is important. I dreaded going to bed, I woke up several times a night to inspect my sheets as soon as it scratched me a bit. It is unlivable! “
“I thought I was losing my mind”
Bedbugs cause 70,000 consultations per year, according to a study unveiled in July 2020. While some seek a dermatologist, others rather need a psychologist. Because the inconvenience caused by these little animals last and end up exhausting, both physically and nervously. Micheline, 66, fought for two years against these pests. “I thought I was losing my mind, they stole not only my blood, but also my energy”.
Same story from Aurélie’s side: “It ruins morale, we only think about that. We sleep more at night, the slightest tickle and we are convinced that there is. I’m afraid to take some when I go to people’s homes. It’s a never-ending nightmare. It drives you crazy. “
Locked up with bedbugs during confinement
Some have spent confinement, a period heavy with anxiety, locked up with bedbugs … This is the case of Laëtitia, 43, who has been the victim of these little animals twice, “the last of which is not completed and began during containment. I ended up on a cot, sick with Covid-19, in my kitchen to fool the bugs, covered in several layers of clothing. »Given the lack of reaction from her landlord, she decides to move. “It’s hell, going to my house makes me anxious. I found where to move, but I already have the anxiety of taking bedbugs ”, she testifies.
“I fell into a strong depression”
Indeed, faced with a terrible experience, some try to leave their accommodation. Angela, 35, explains that she has been fighting bedbugs… since August 2019. “I threw away my bed, my box spring, my mattress, my daughter’s mattress, rugs, duvets, pillows, sheets in short everything. I fell into a strong depression, I was very weak as a result of that… ”Since the apartments above her house are still infested, she is looking to move.
She is not the only one considering leaving her apartment, as her insects once they take up residence make life unbearable. Hélène, 28, went through this ordeal when her boyfriend had bedbugs for a year in Paris. “We finally moved out and left her things outside for a week in the cold winter to kill them or leave and steamed all the bedding. “
“The real problem is, you can’t talk about this problem”
Problem, when we need to express ourselves on this problem fraught with consequences, the benevolence and listening of the close relations is not always there. Because many still associate bedbugs and poor hygiene. Or do not measure the extent of the damage. Rebecca, 27, regrets this judgment: “these little pests prevent us from sleeping, we feel dirty, hopeless, and when we talk to people about it, they think we are dirty when not at all, I am someone. ‘one very clean and very manic. “
Alexis, 30, suffered with his partner for two months from this invasion. “We hardly went out for two months,” he admits. It felt like we were doing something wrong by accepting invitations despite taking the necessary precautions, and that’s not to mention the harsh reactions to friends (changing places at the bar so as not to be next to us ) or family (my mother no longer wishing to welcome us for fear of having some). “
For Roger, 47, “the real worry is that you can’t talk about this problem. Shame takes over you and your situation. “To the point of isolating yourself … Yohan, 22,” we ended up cutting ourselves off little by little from all social life. It was even a very important factor in stopping my work. I could never have imagined the nightmare that such small beasts can cause. “
“I think this will stay with us for life”
And even once you’ve gotten rid of those tough pests, those months of insomnia and anxiety leave their mark. Thus, Christophe, 52 years old, “confirms the state of anxiety that it gives: several weeks later, I still woke up in the middle of the night with the light of my cell phone to see if I found bedbugs in my bed, while the infestation had disappeared ”. Annie, 69, is sorry: even after the end of the nightmare, she has “post-traumatic consequences. I delay my sleep, because I’m still obsessed with it, I have nightmares, there isn’t a day that I don’t think they can come back, I take it seriously, I can’t take it anymore to live like that, to tell myself that I might be devoured again, because that’s the word I had giant urticaria. “
On the other hand, many have kept new reflexes from this unfortunate experience: “Every vacation or weekend, I check the bedding in which I sleep, I bought a chest freezer in which I put my travel bag a week later. every stay, I don’t buy much second-hand ”, lists Alexis, 30 years old. Mario and his children also had to move because of these pests. “However, we always remain vigilant, before going to bed we look under the mattresses, we turn the sheets to check if there are no bedbugs, I think that will stay with us for life. “