Having a bird mite affliction is like having cancer on both the inside and the outside of your body, and being forced to fight it simultaneously without the help of a doctor. There were so many times I wished I had an affliction that the medical community would acknowledge! This was my bed for the better part of 6 months. Looks like a prison, doesn’t it? It was.

The trick to surviving this devastation was to look at the things in my life I DID have. Every morning I woke up and said to myself, “Even in this misery, this torture, this trauma of a life there is STILL someone who would trade places with you in a SECOND. Be grateful, be humble, be brave. Of course I had many emotional breakdowns, many moments of feeling sorrow, pain, pure misery! But this was not my first trauma, and quite possibly not be my last in life! I had to look back and remember that in my biggest moments of despair I found my greatest self! I remembered all the beautiful things that came out of trauma and I embraced them. I told myself that one day I would look back at this time as a triumph, NOT a failure! How beautiful it is that I can share this story and hope that I help change someone’s life through my own traumatic experience? That would be truly an honor.

I also promised that when this was all over I was going to wrap myself in fuzzy blankets and ugly cry for a straight month, and I did that as well. Allow yourself to grieve, and then snap out of it! Of course we deserve better, everyone deserves better! But our lives, in comparison to someone who has less, IS BETTER.

Through this trauma I saw life through a completely new lens. The things that I took for granted I now cherish, things that were once so important became so trivial! This experience took so many things from me but what I gained in the process was so invaluable, no material possession could possibly hold that value…I came to embrace deem and truly meaningful relationships in my life, and took on this trauma as a victory instead of a loss! You will too, my dear friend.

Now onto your environment. Bird mites love anything that has fabric, those are their favorite breeding/hiding spots. What happens to squirrels if you cut down all their trees? So, I took away their trees. It was crucial to ridding myself of this disaster. Cover as many things as you can in plastic. The good news is, plastic is pretty cheap. So is duct tape. I called a Mattress Firm and asked if they had any plastic mattress covers for storing mattresses, and they did! The guy on the phone was so kind, he ended up giving me an entire box of plastic mattress bags in a multitude of assorted sizes, completely free of charge! I brought him a Starbucks. Kindness will get you everywhere.

I used them to cover couches, chairs, anything that had fabric on it in the house. I encased as many things in plastic as I could, to clean up my environment. You can also use large garbage bags, in the photo above I just slit 4 large garbage bags down one side and covered the four corners of my mattress, sealing them with duct tape. This was incredibly effective in getting a better night’s sleep. I, of course, had these beasts living under my skin so there was a lot more going on than just covering a mattress, but I had to start somewhere.

I covered all my pillows in garbage bags and sealed them, and used the most synthetic pillowcases I could find. The more polyester your fabric contains, the less mites will infest it. I used a plastic shower curtain as my blanket. I’m not saying you have to do this, I’m just telling you what I did. Mostly it was for convenience, because soaking and washing my clothes, towels and sheets every day was a task. I tried to create more convenience in my life by living without the things that I could. I laid a yoga mat down on top of my plastic covered mattress and slept on that, because it was easy to clean and did not become infested with mites. I sprayed it nightly with straight windex every evening before bed, luckily I discovered that my mites weren’t that crazy about ammonia.

If you have carpet, my suggestion is to cover it. Carpets are an insanely attractive breeding ground for mites! I will go into the bacterial mess that lies in carpets in a future post, but in this one I will simply tell you that if you can’t rip it out just cover it. There is a plastic film you can purchase at Lowe’s or Home Depot, it will not harm your carpet. In fact, it will protect it, many construction workers use this to cover carpets in homes where they have to do renovation work. This film is sticky on the side that goes face down onto the carpet, to hold it in place. You need to overlap this film every time you place a new row down so mites can’t crawl through the cracks, and make sure you use tape again to seal the edges of your film to the baseboards around the perimeter