I’m Just Saying: A new way to deal with the ‘weighty’ issues of today

Published 8:00 am Thursday, November 22, 2018

There’s quite a popular new trend going around that is said to help quell anxiety in both children and adults, as well as tackle insomnia: weighted blankets.

It’s essentially a “thunder shirt” for humans, as the same approach has been quite effective for dogs who become terrified by thunder or seasonal fireworks, which, around here, can last anywhere from two weeks to two months before and after the actual holiday. 

Weighing anywhere from 4 to 30 pounds (I guess depending upon how stressed you are), the blanket presses down on you, creating an effect called “grounding.” The 30 pounders, in particular, are claimed by users to be the most successful in drastically reducing anxiety.

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I would, however, imagine that 30 pounds of anything on ones chest or back would also result is slow suffocation, so perhaps those who sing the praises of the blanket in regards to insomnia haven’t been sleeping as much as actually passing out. But being an insomniac myself, I’m happy to take that risk.

Because I had mentioned the weighted blanket to a stranger in the next booth at my local haunt, spy satellites made sure several ads for them popped up on my Facebook page as well as any article I tried to read. Succumbing to the pressure, I ordered the 30 pounder and looked forward to both sleeping like a baby and living a new, stress-free life.

“What are you doing?” Paul asked warily, arriving home from a meeting and seeing me seeking refuge beneath the tent I’d pitched on the sofa, my left thumb measuring the pulse of my right wrist.

“Watching a White House press briefing,” I said, flatly. “To see if this thing actually works.”

It didn’t.

But that’s OK. I usually have a bottle of an amenable Pinot Noir to assist with that, and I was willing to give my weighted blankie the benefit of the doubt as long as it helped me sleep.

Around 10 p.m., I lugged it upstairs, arranged it on top of the comforter, brushed my teeth then climbed into bed, fighting for position as both dogs leapt upon the bed at the same time.

Downstairs, Paul was watching the end of a movie when he heard my muffled screams.

“What is it? What is it!” He yelled, bounding upstairs two at a time.

Flailing like a turtle on its back, I had begun to doze before becoming aware of the crushing weight of the blanket being held down by a 25 pound adolescent dog on either side of my body, like giant hairy parentheses, rendering me immobile as if zipped into a body bag.

“I’m claustrophobic!” I spluttered, fighting desperately to free my arms to claw at the air. “I forgot that I’m freaking claustrophobic! I can’t breathe! Get my inhaler!”

“You don’t have an inhaler,” Paul remarked calmly, dragging each dog away so I could sit up and fling back the blanket. “You’re having an anxiety attack.”

“Of course I’m having an anxiety attack,” I snapped, “Not breathing makes me anxious. Geez, how can people say this thing is calming?”

I coughed, leaning over to put my head between my knees. “I thought I was being crushed by a python!”

My investment was soon allocated, as with several other items in the house, to the dogs. Folded in half and placed on the floor beside the couch, they actually prefer it to lying next to us. Admittedly, they crash deeply for hours once they snuggle within it. But then they also chase squirrels all day.

But if that’s what it takes for me to get a good night’s sleep, I’m not above giving even that a try. Just let me finish gnawing on this marrowbone, first…