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Hi everyone

First of all, we live in a neighborhood where there are quite a few bats. These bats often hunt insects out by the street lamps at night. Secondly, bats really creep me out (for all kinds of reasons) and thirdly, I have suffered for much of my life with hypochondria, GAD and panic disorder and am on numerous meds. Put all of these things together and you have one very bat-phobic guy with a run-a-way imagination!.

Anyway, last night I decided to take a walk and so I put my jacket on, pulled up and tied the hood around my head and proceeded to walk as far as the first street lamp until I became aware of these things darting around about 100 feet up in the sky. I knew right away they were bats and that they were probably just catching insects that were attracted by the light. I immediately panicked and ran as fast as I could back home and about 15 minutes later, went to bed thinking nothing of it except perhaps "gee, those bats sure did freak me out!".

Even though my little experience was nothing to get in a huge twist over, in the back of my mind, I just knew that in the coming days, I would begin to obssess over this and dream up all kinds of horrible possabilities but since these bats were much further up in the air and not even close to me (like the one a year ago - see story at bottom), I was pretty sure that I would'nt being calling 911 or freaking out about the whole thing.

Well, I woke up feeling fine this morning but then soon I found myself looking all over my body to see if perhaps I had been "bitten". Of course, I knew I had'nt been. Then, I started to play the whole walk over and over again in my mind like a video and drove myself nuts with that for awhile as I painstakingly analyzed every minute detail. Then I started looking at various parts of my body again. At one point, I was sitting at the computer and just happened to be rubbing my nose when I felt a small scab which I picked off. Of course, I am always getting scrapes and cuts from my numerous animals and from doing various things around the property, etc so I thought nothing of it at first but as time went on (and quite predictably), I began obssessing about it and soon found myself looking in the mirror. What I saw was a small cut on the tip of my nose where the scab had been.

Now, I've seen quite a few pictures of bat bites (from a previous obssession a year ago) and the mark on my nose did'nt look anything like a bat bite (your average bat bite consists of 2 small holes approximately one centimeter apart or less). Moreover, I had my wits about me and was fully aware of my surroundings. If a bat had swooped down and bitten me on the nose, I would have been fully aware of it and in a state of panic. I would have SEEN it. I would have FELT the pain from the bite. I would have immediately become aware of a small furry animal hovering in front of my face. I would have clearly remembered it since my very life might depend on it!. Also, I can't think of any mammal whose bite consists of a single hole or cut and it definately was'nt a scratch mark. All of these events, had they occurred, would have stuck out in my mind like a sore thumb too. Still, the panic, anxiety and adrenilin were flowing and I continued to obssess while at the same time, attempt to reason with myself (tough to do with a major hypochondriac like me).

So now here I am. I have taken Ativan, Xanax, Atenolol and even an Atarax to try and get myself calmed down but the meds are only having a minimal affect. Every time I had a "scary thought" or a "what if", I could feel the rush of adrenilin go up through me and my heart would start racing like crazy. The Atenolol helped with that (somewhat). The other meds, I took to try and get rid of the awful anxiety. Just now as I typed this last sentence, I had a feeling go through my head like a dizzy/electrical/buzzing sensation (very scary!).

Anyway, I guess that's all I have to say for now. I am really feeling scared, anxious, depressed and insecure - not so much because of the bats but because I know I'll be obssessing about this for months now and driving myself nuts.

Ok, now for the promised "story at bottom". This is not the first time something like this has happened. A little over a year ago, I was taking another late-night walk and had a bat fly right over and in front of me ("dive-bombing"). I spent months and months, reading about bats, reading about diseases, contacting bat experts by email, calling the CDC, going in and out of the ER and bascially got to the point where I felt like I was going to go insane. At that time, I also had a cut on my finger that I had'nt noticed before (not that I had even bothered to look) so I went through all kinds of thoughts and feelings and spent much of my time "symptom-surfing" and that only made me panic more. Another time (before these last two incidents) I saw bats flying around the same street lamp but it did'nt bother me at all and many years before that, we discovered a bat hidden in a sheet we had hung out on the line to dry and I was actually VERY close to that particular bat and I never obssessed over it so I guess my anxiety has only grown worse over the years so that the things I once used to just laugh off years ago are now huge "issues" with me.

Anyway, thanks for allowing me to share, LT

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