Mental Anguish

“Dedicated to finding effective solutions for bird mite infestations of humans and their environment, encouraging those afflicted, facilitating research and a better understanding of human parasitosis.”

Mental Anguish

If you have been dealing with a parasite infestation for any length of time, you quickly come to realize that the ‘mental anguish’ is often more difficult than the physical torment. The relentless biting, itching, crawling sensation and lack of sleep are the physical symptoms that can propagate a whole host of secondary ‘mental health’ issues. For those dealing with a parasite infestation, it is important to acknowledge this aspect of the battle being waged.

“You are sure right about the mental anguish this causes. I agree that it is tough to pretend like there isn’t anything wrong when I am itching and scratching like crazy. I don’t know how I can “win” this war if I keep the mites to a minimum at home but they are all over the work site area…There are days when it is all I can do not to break down and cry at work. (I do at home with no problem!) So many people do not understand and especially the doctors who should be there to help us…It gets to be discouraging.” D.

A bird mite infestation can significantly affect a person’s quality of life. It is hard to maintain a constant struggle against these unseen predators day and night and still work full time, take care of family obligations, and do all the other mundane things in life that are often taken for granted. After a while it may become almost impossible to maintain a normal lifestyle, and it can take its toll on the person, the family, and the finances.

A home infestation can strain family and marital relationships. When one person in the home is affected by this and others are not, it can cause conflicts and confusion. Some who are unaware of parasitosis may question the afflicted person’s sanity at a time when they need encouragement and understanding. On occasion, it has lead to divorce or separation, when the issue could not be resolved.

The financial burden can be a significant source of mental stress. It is very expensive to fumigate a home and to sleep in hotel rooms for many nights. And even if this is not done, some have had to discard furniture, carpeting, clothing, etc. Many have ended up moving when the mites could not be effectively eradicated from the home. Going to a doctor and buying medications is not cheap, as well as constantly buying different chemicals and cleaning products on an ongoing basis. Also, taking time off from work can be a financial and mental burden.

Bird mites are most active at night and the lack of quality sleep over a prolonged period of time can lead to depression. Depression from a lack of sleep is well documented in medical journals. REM sleep is the deepest and most restful sleep we can get, and this occurs late at night, and that is the time when bird mites are most active. It is important to get adequate sleep; even if it means going to a hotel room occasionally.

The lack of sleep is one of the most devastating aspects of a bird mite infestation. Benadryl, an anti-histamine, can be helpful on nights when sleep is illusive. Benadryl also helps reduce the reaction from the bites.

Social isolation is a real concern for the person with a mite infestation. Since this problem is not common, others may not understand what you are dealing with. Those who have never gone through this, or even heard of it, have no idea how seriously it affects a person’s life. It makes it all but impossible to tell friends and coworkers what you are going through. This lack of a support system can make the depression worse. And a person does not want to feel like they are somehow contaminating others, and so may limit their social contacts. It is not well understood how these parasites choose a host. Some people in close contact may be bothered by them, and others may not be.

A person can grow weary and discouraged from fighting these battles everyday. Especially if there is not a lot of success. It can often seem like a relentless enemy is stalking the afflicted individual. Sometimes, it is the intense itching or lesions on large areas of the body, which can last for days on end; and other times it will be the crawling and biting that causes most of the battles. Some days it may seem like the situation is finally under control, and then other days (and nights) it can seem overwhelming, like there has not been any progress. And discouragement is often the end result.

When it seems like there are no answers to this affliction, a person can become depressed and suicidal. Discouragement and depression can lead to suicidal thoughts, when it seems like the only way out from this living hell. It is hard to go through something this difficult for a long period of time without losing hope. There are some who have attempted suicide due to a long-standing parasite infestation. An anti-depressant may be needed for a period of time if the person and their doctor feels it may help. And having the support of someone who cares, is important.

“My friend C. is in a hospital psychiatric ward. She left her mite infested home after a year of trying to contend with bird mites that she thinks originated from pigeons nesting in her eaves. After driving 600 miles, she tried to kill herself by exposing herself outdoors for five days in the snow and wilderness. Luckily, her friends figured where she might be and Search and Rescue found her a day and a half ago. She has frostbite on all her toes but is otherwise physically ok. I very much doubt she would have survived another night out without shelter. It is very lucky that she is alive today. She does not need to be in a psych ward as she is completely lucid, except that she says she want to die (unless she can rid herself of the mites).” K., Banff, Alberta, Canada.

In some cases, the person is told by the doctor they have scabies. They inevitably are unable to get rid of this problem with scabies treatment, which leads to further frustration and unanswered questions. Some people have done numerous scabies treatments that produced lingering skin damage.

Elimite and Kwell, frequently prescribed for scabies, are not effective against bird mites. Bird mites are larger and more mobile than the fragile scabies mite (which resides under the skin), and people with a bird mite infestation have not had much success with these products.

bird mite lesions and dermatitis

Dermatitis on a human leg attributed to bird mites. Dermatologists who are unfamiliar with bird mites, frequently misdiagnose the symptoms as scabies. Photo submitted by one of our readers.

Not being taken serious by medical professionals can make this dilemma very frustrating.Most people have no reason to confabulate symptoms of parasitosis, and should not be labeled as “delusional” by doctors who are not familiar with parasite infestations. Most bird mite sufferers can state when the problem first occurred, and have been able to identify the source. One study by the Oklahoma State Dept of Health and the NPA verified that many of those with a sensation of biting and crawling on the skin and labeled as “delusional”, did indeed have very small skin parasite (which the control group did not have). But this parasite could only be verified under high magnification by someone knowledgeable in skin parasites. This cannot be verified with just a casual glance in the doctor’s office.

The inability to quickly eradicate these mites, as well as the lack of good information by the medical community, can make one question their sanity at times. It is at these forums where you come to realize that others are going through very similar situations. The only label that may be somewhat accurate for the person with a parasite infestation, is the ‘obsessive-compulsive’ behavior often required to daily clean, vacuum, spray, etc.

“Although we may no always like it, God is much more interested in our character than in our circumstances.” Joyce Meyer

Finding a way to cope is vital when dealing with this affliction. Laughter and prayer are often our most effective coping mechanisms, and both are difficult to do with a parasite infestation. It can really affect a person’s faith and what they believe in, as unanswered prayers can make it hard to believe that anything good will ever come from this. People who have been through this and have come out the other end are better able to sympathize and encourage others who have to deal with this kind of adversity, so that is a good thing. And when we are able to share our experiences and effective solutions with each other, the better off we all are!

Recommended Treatment Provider

We recommend you use a licensed professional to address a bird mite problem. Don’t wait or the problem will get much worse and more expensive to treat. We have a list of pest control companies that are specifically qualified to treat bird mites.

  • They come to your house for no charge and give a free estimate.
  • Even if you decide not to use them, you get free professional advice.
  • Most pest control companies have never dealt with bird mites before. You need to use a bird mite specialist.

Follow this link to find a Qualified Local Exterminator near you.

Keep in mind that if bird mites are not treated correctly, even if the correct chemicals are used, they can become resistant to those chemicals. Don’t use a pest control company unless they have extensive experience treating bird mites.


One day I became so discouraged I decided to quit…

I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality… I wanted to quit my life.

I went to the woods to have one last talk with God. “God”, I asked, “Can you give me one good reason not to quit?”

His answer surprised me… “Look around”, He said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?” “Yes”, I replied.

“When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor.

Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.

In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. He said.

“In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit.

In year four, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. I would not quit.” He said.

“Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant…But just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall!

It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive.

I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.”

“Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots?”

“I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you.”

“Your time will come”, God said to me.

Helpful Resources:

"If someone would have told me a bird mite affliction could happen to a person, I would probably not have believed them. Except that it has happened to me and it is the worst torment a person can endure." T.

"The prayers sent to God are often answered in the kindness of strangers."