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Is this all in my head? Advice welcome

(11 Posts)
Nononon Mon 05-Jan-15 12:58:51

I'm not sure how to start on this one so might be bit long winded...

Basically we've been having an extension done on our house and for the past four months we've been staying at my parents due to the sheer amount of dust and rooms being uninhabitable. During the time we've been out of the house I have had a baby (my second) and my father in law has been diagnosed with what the doctors believe to be asbestos-related cancer. I had my baby 3 weeks ago and father in laws illness was first looked into about 6 weeks ago.

Since everything with FIL happened I suddenly had a thought one day "what if there has been undiscovered asbestos in our house and it has been disturbed by the builders and our whole house is contaminated". I've read articles about asbestos in the household and I keep thinking about my FIL saying "it only takes one tiny fibre to get into your lungs..."

I've become obsessed with thinking there are asbestos fibres all over our house and that stuff brought from there into my parents' house is contaminated. So if that stuff touches other stuff it needs to be washed / can't be used.

Lots of baby things were stored at our house such as clothes and bouncer seats etc - they were in bags in boxes in the loft which is really dusty at the best of times but because the roof was Extended I'm worried that asbestos has rained down on all of these. They've all been washed and my parents and DH have assured me they are fine to use but I keep panicking every time we use something that was stored up there.

Other things bother me such as when my parents went round to do some cleaning and then came back to theirs and sat on the sofa, now that it contaminated. Clean baby clothes get put on top of things that came from our house so they need to re washed. I hate the fact that I can't 'see'what could potentially be a silent killer and I hate the fact that there would be no immediate indication that one of my children had breathed in an asbestos fibre and that it would just fester in them for years.

My family say there is no asbestos in the house but how can they be sure? I've read it can be mixed in with plaster or in flooring and not always obvious. It may have been missed. The builders may have thought they could just move something themselves so they didn't miss out on work.

MY head is going to explode constantly thinking and worrying about this and I don't know how I'll cope when we have to go back to the house. We were very naive about the amount of dust and just closed off rooms rather than covering furniture. I'm terrified about my children sitting on the sofa and breathing on lethal fibres of asbestos (even after it has been cleaned because we won't be able to see for sure) and our mattresses could be covered. I'm so worried about it and exhausted about watching constantly for where family members are putting things to check things aren't getting potentially contaminated.

My family are also exhausted with me and say there is no asbestos. DH has enough to worry about with his father and says im worrying about stuff that doesn't exist. He says I'm going to make his head explode and is worrying about me too.

Do I have a real concern here or is it as my family believe all in my head? I feel like I just want an expert to tell me there's no asbestos and then I can relax but would that just be feeding my worries?

Can anyone relate to this at all and give me some advice? If you've read this far thank you

NorwaySpruce Mon 05-Jan-15 13:07:03

If there was asbestos in your house, the builders would know. There are so many regulations around dealing with it, and they won't want to risk their own health.

You just have to keep telling yourself that your fears are irrational.

Why not speak to the builders and have them explain what they are doing. They will be happy to bore you rigid with tales of building materials and disposal methods. They will show you that there is nothing to fear.

TooMuchCantBreathe Mon 05-Jan-15 13:15:07

As Norway says the builders won't put their own health and safety at risk by handling asbestos so they would have told you if they found any - aside from anything else it would have added hugely to the costs so they wouldn't have removed it for free!

Speak to your builders for reassurance then speak to your health visitor or gp. It sounds like you are under huge stress and suffering anxiety, they can help you with that. Be kind to yourself, you have a lot on! flowers

Nononon Mon 05-Jan-15 13:15:44

The builders have finished now abs we're at painting and decorating point. My fear would be that we'd ask them and they'd say all the right things but whether they've actually done that is another thing (which they obviously wouldn't admit)

idlevice Mon 05-Jan-15 14:26:55

You could get an asbestos survey done - look up on the net to find some contractors local to you. Not sure how much but for your peace of mind & to discuss all your concerns it could be worth it.

Nononon Tue 06-Jan-15 05:38:35

Bump - has anyone had experience of feeling / thinking like this?

Malef1cent Tue 06-Jan-15 08:16:40

Sort of similar thoughts. We moved to a new house and I got convinced that house is full of mood and we all are going to get ill because of it. I bought air purifier and almost started to dig holes on the floor and walls. We got bathroom redone and after all the stuff was out it was dry. Somehow my fears went away after that.

vomistheworst Tue 06-Jan-15 09:59:41

I'm 99% sure that this is OCD, and it's been triggered by the hormonal changed in late pregnancy and giving birth coinciding with your FIL's diagnosis. Postnatal OCD is quite common, and this seems to be a very straightforward case - the obsession is with asbestos and the potential for the harm it may cause and where it may be. The compulsions are the things you do to try and ease your anxieties about the obsession - in your case, washing things that touch things from your house or refusing to use them. Your subconscious is trying to keep you and your baby safe, but it's got confused and is doing the opposite, because now it's making you mentally unwell, which is not 'keeping you safe' at all.

I would advise that you pop and see your GP, as an SSRI drug would help to take the edge off of the anxiety and you should see a reduction in the OCD symptoms. You may also be referred for CBT, which is a bit of a hit and miss treatment, but probably worth a shot. Otherwise, if you're interested, I have contact details for a very good cognitive hypnotherapist who does sessions via Skype. (She has treated me for emetophobia and OCD and I'm getting results).

Nononon Tue 06-Jan-15 17:28:39

Thanks for the replies - vom what you have said makes sense. I really don't want to be prescribed drugs though - I'm breast feeding so wouldn't be ideal. I just want the thoughts to go away and to stop being consumed by themsad

Mumblepot26 Tue 06-Jan-15 18:24:56

100% agree with Vom, please talk to your GP there are meds you can take safely while breastfeeding. If this is a post natal illness it won't go away without treatment

vomistheworst Tue 06-Jan-15 19:30:44

Yes, don't worry about drugs and breastfeeding. I take sertraline, which I was prescribed whilst breastfeeding - it's safe.

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