A few months ago, I was introduced to something known as a weighted blanket. The context in which I first heard about it was as a therapy for children with autism. But the minute I heard of it, I knew that my body wanted one.
No, I don’t have autism. I don’t even have one of the milder disorders on the spectrum known as Sensory Processing Disorder. But I do have a neurological system that gives me far too much sensory input for my own good. In other words, my senses overwhelm me. And I am often overcome with anxiety because of the stimulation.
I did some research on weighted blankets, decided that I wanted to try using one, and then found out how very expensive they were. An adult blanket would cost me upwards of $150. And it wasn’t very soft or pretty (why would you make a blanket for someone with sensory issues that isn’t soft and pretty??) So I decided to make use of my hard-earned fashion design degree and sew one. My professors would be so proud.
I used this tutorial as a starting point, but made some departures as needed or desired. Each of those little pockets contains 2.2 ounces of plastic pellets and altogether my blanket weighs about 12 pounds. I use it during the day as needed, whenever I am feeling a little overwhelmed by the world. After about 10 minutes I feel calmed and contained and ready to venture back out again. Occasionally, I will sleep under it at night if I’ve had a particularly emotional or anxious day.
Life in my body often feels like there just isn’t enough skin between me and the rest of the world; like things from inside of me go out and things from outside come in without my bidding. At times I can manage this “leaky-ness” on my own, with prayer and mental skills. But sometimes, it is just too overwhelming and I need a little help. This little blanket provides just the barrier I need to remind me of where I end and the world begins.