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Questions + Mental Health topics

Tammie123

Meeting neighbors
Joined
8/13/21
Messages
30
Last night I read a post on here which gave me the confidence to come out and type all of this, so I'd like to preface my questions with a bit of an explanation.

I've been struggling with severe anxiety for a few years now, but I haven't shared this with anyone other than my boyfriend. It always involves me worrying about the health issues of my parents/family, and unfortunately my bird as well, to the point where I waste hours of my days being so stressed out that I can't focus on whatever I have to do.
In the nearly 10 years of taking care of my GCC I took him to the vet a couple of times when there wasn't anything wrong, because I usually assume the worst and have terrible judgement if I'm anxious. As a result, I probably seem crazy to my parents and boyfriend (who see me wasting a lot of money on the vet when nothing is truly wrong), and I also put my bird through a lot of unnecessary stress for an issue that, it turns out, was just in my head.

I'm trying my best every day to take good care of my bird and look out for anything dangerous but it's becoming difficult to relax and be happy because I'm always worrying about every little thing that could go wrong, or might have gone wrong. If my conure flies into a wall I spend the rest of the day, or even overnight just worrying until I know for sure he's okay. If he sneezes a little more often I monitor him for a while (while being stressed out of course) to make sure it was a one-off. If he naps a little more often one day, I start thinking he's sick and spend a few days constantly checking on him to see if he exhibits any other signs or if he's okay. I feel like I overanalyze everything and my brain just tries to find problems where there aren't any.

I signed up on avian avenue in the first place because it seemed like a really nice way to learn about birds and try to make my life a little more positive/happier. It also helped to get a second opinion from people who have birds, since I don't know anyone in-person who owns parrots. Everyone on here has been incredibly kind and helpful, and it gives me some hope that I can try to improve my mental health and not feel like my lovely bird is a source of stress to me... Right now is not a good time in my life and it's exhausting that even the things I love most (like my bird) are causing me to feel this way.

Currently, my concern is that a few days ago I handled some raw ground meat while cooking. I'm sure I washed my hands afterwards, and I'm almost 99% sure I must have used soap or dish soap at least briefly, because I always wash my hands before eating (in fact, I wash my hands quite often since covid). But since at this point I wash them by reflex, I can't remember it at all, and a few minutes after eating I changed my bird's food and touched the food dish (not the food). My GCC often breaks his pellets on the side of the food dish so now for several days I've been paranoid that somehow, maybe I didn't wash my hands well enough and bacteria from the raw meat got onto his food dish and he came in contact with it.
He's behaving normally, and it's been a few days already. However, I did the worst thing possible in my condition which is to google extensively, and I found information on salmonella and now I can barely focus on anything other than wondering if I just accidentally poisoned him by touching the side of his food bowl, even though I did wash my hands and it's still likely I washed them with soap (but my stressed-out, airheaded self can't remember and I'm assuming the worst).

This is the type of thing that makes me spiral into a panic and I can't think logically anymore to assess that "things are probably fine". I guess I'm posting here in the hopes that I can get some reassurance or some advice. Does anyone know if there is actually a big risk of bacterial infection? Does anyone else here deal with anxiety/OCD/mental health issues and might have some pointers on how to manage it while caring for a little fluffy friend?

I apologize for the long post, and thank you very much for reading.
 

FiatLux

Jogging around the block
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Joined
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775
Real Name
Isabelle (she/her)
You sound like a wonderfully caring person and I’m sorry that anxiety -which I also deal with, is complicating your relationship with your bird. It seems from what you’re reporting that your bird is fine and I believe your risk of salmonella contagion is statistically negligible.
To manage my anxiety, I do therapy, take supplements and have changed my life to try to mitigate some of my stressors. I hope you can resource yourself to manage your anxiety and that your relationship with your bird will bring you more joy than worry. Take care.
 

Pixiebeak

Biking along the boulevard
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Laura
If you bird had contact with ecoli from meat or anything else. He would have had diarrhea right away. So you are completely in the clear with that issue.

I do not suffer the same way with worry. But I do definitely also spend time worrying about my birds and dogs. I even think I have a little PTSD over the birds ever since my battle with clymadia in them .

What helps me calm down in regards to my birds health, is weekly weigh in. And if I think I'm worried over a possible issue daily weigh in. Most birds will drop weight with a health issue. As in a trend down . Not a 1 or 2 gram change in your GCC or that size bird some fluctuating is normal. And I weigh at the same time, morning after first poop.

While that doesn't address your anxiety. It might offer a tool for a reality check when you are worried..to reassure you.
 

Tammie123

Meeting neighbors
Joined
8/13/21
Messages
30
You sound like a wonderfully caring person and I’m sorry that anxiety -which I also deal with, is complicating your relationship with your bird. It seems from what you’re reporting that your bird is fine and I believe your risk of salmonella contagion is statistically negligible.
To manage my anxiety, I do therapy, take supplements and have changed my life to try to mitigate some of my stressors. I hope you can resource yourself to manage your anxiety and that your relationship with your bird will bring you more joy than worry. Take care.
Thank you, I really appreciate it. I did therapy for only 3 sessions but it was too expensive for me so I had to stop. A friend gave me some advice recently about where to go for free, so I'll try to look into that as soon as I'm a bit less busy. Sometimes when I'm doing well and haven't been anxious in several weeks, I start to convince myself that it's fine and I can live like this, but then it ends up getting bad again eventually.
 

Tammie123

Meeting neighbors
Joined
8/13/21
Messages
30
If you bird had contact with ecoli from meat or anything else. He would have had diarrhea right away. So you are completely in the clear with that issue.

I do not suffer the same way with worry. But I do definitely also spend time worrying about my birds and dogs. I even think I have a little PTSD over the birds ever since my battle with clymadia in them .

What helps me calm down in regards to my birds health, is weekly weigh in. And if I think I'm worried over a possible issue daily weigh in. Most birds will drop weight with a health issue. As in a trend down . Not a 1 or 2 gram change in your GCC or that size bird some fluctuating is normal. And I weigh at the same time, morning after first poop.

While that doesn't address your anxiety. It might offer a tool for a reality check when you are worried..to reassure you.
Thank you!
When I googled the issue with the raw meat I read that salmonella doesn't always show symptoms in birds and only starts affecting them if they become stressed at some point so that clearly didn't help convince me that he's okay.

I also weigh him often, so far so good. I guess I should rely on his weight more for reassurance rather than analyzing his every move. He's a bit of a quiet bird and only occasionally plays with his toys, but he's always been this way, he kind of just mimics the energy level in the room, so if we are active and loud he does the same, and when we're quiet, he's also quiet and might take a nap. But when I'm anxious its easy to start assuming that he's behaving that way because he's sick. It really is exhausting to constantly have to convince myself that everything is ok, and sometimes failing to do so.
 

Cali

Sprinting down the street
Joined
10/25/23
Messages
342
Real Name
Janet
I wish you all the best. This is a wonderful group of bird loving people! I don't have any advice beyond hopefully finding affordable therapy. I just wanted to say hello and let you know, most of us have something to overcome. It's always nice to have a place to chat about it, and vent or ask for advice.

:hug4:
 

Xoetix

Biking along the boulevard
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6/12/22
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6,525
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Southern VA, US
Real Name
Meghan (she/her)
I feel you on the anxiety :roflmao: I know I've posted before about it, it can get crazy overwhelming. You sound like you're doing awesome for your bird, and anxiety about pets is so hard to overcome. It's really a double edged sword when it comes to learning more both about their care, and about things that have gone wrong for others - I know for me, I've gained a whole new list of things to freak out over :rolleyes:

I don't know if you're in therapy, but I always recommend that. It really helps to be able to talk it out. And you're always able to post on here, even if it's something as innocuous as "my bird is looking at me, is that normal". It helps a lot to be able to talk to people who get it.

It's totally OK to be anxious about things :)
 

Tammie123

Meeting neighbors
Joined
8/13/21
Messages
30
I feel you on the anxiety :roflmao: I know I've posted before about it, it can get crazy overwhelming. You sound like you're doing awesome for your bird, and anxiety about pets is so hard to overcome. It's really a double edged sword when it comes to learning more both about their care, and about things that have gone wrong for others - I know for me, I've gained a whole new list of things to freak out over :rolleyes:

I don't know if you're in therapy, but I always recommend that. It really helps to be able to talk it out. And you're always able to post on here, even if it's something as innocuous as "my bird is looking at me, is that normal". It helps a lot to be able to talk to people who get it.

It's totally OK to be anxious about things :)
Yeah to be honest sometimes having extra knowledge gives you extra things to worry about, but I do find comfort in this community, at least it feels like I'm less alone in my worries and I like looking at cute positive posts too!

I hope everything is ok with my little birb. Time usually fixes my worries so I guess if he's still doing fine in a few days I'll calm down and get a 5-minute break before I find something new to worry about.
 

sb sigmund

Strolling the yard
Joined
11/27/23
Messages
111
For me, reading this post was like looking in a mirror. I suffer from an extremely debilitating anxiety disorder- one time I saw my bird chewing a pill that was left out on my desk. Cue me calling every vet crying within a 2 hour radius of me. Spoiler- she didn’t actually ingest any of the pill because I caught it early enough. Keep us posted on their condition! It’s okay to be careful
 

CrazyKozmo

Sprinting down the street
Avenue Veteran
Joined
12/23/16
Messages
594
Location
Central Washington state
Real Name
Rebecca
I also deal with anxiety/panic...it is a real bummer. I am recently having a relapse (major life change) and found a new therapist and am improving. I know therapy is expensive. Lately I'm been seeing commercials for Betterhelp.com and Hers.com....I'm not sure of the cost but may be worth looking into. Life is too short to be fearful all the time (I know how that feels...yucky!). Positive self-talk is extremely important! Be kind and patient with yourself.
 

Tammie123

Meeting neighbors
Joined
8/13/21
Messages
30
Thank you!

He's still doing just fine. He didn't do his usual big morning poop yesterday which I found very strange, but he could have just not eaten much before sleeping. I'm telling myself I'll give every little worry 3 days to see if it stops before I panic :cautious:
99% of the time it turns out fine. Today everything was ok !

I feel like I need a vacation though
 
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