Weighted Blankets: Pros and Cons

Weighted Blankets: Pros and Cons - The Boyfriend Blanket
Beauty Brite Disclosure

Depression and anxiety come in many forms. Some cases are fairly mild and pretty easily managed, others are more severe and can make managing everyday tasks very difficult. The spectrum of effects is wide and each person experiences them differently, which can make finding the best treatment a pretty hit-or-miss effort; one that requires patience, time, and openness to trying a variety of approaches to find what works for you.

Depression and anxiety can be pretty sneaky. Many people may not even realize that they are suffering from these conditions because they don’t always manifest in physical symptoms. Also, they may have been a part of a person’s life for so long that they can’t remember being any other way thus they don’t necessarily recognize that they are feeling it.

While depression and anxiety are receiving more media coverage and recognition in medical and behavioral therapy communities they are still sometimes looked upon with a bit of a stigma. Many people still are loathe to admit that they sometimes deal with feeling low or uncertain because they don’t want others to think something is wrong with them.

I would say that I probably have dealt with a low-level sort of depression for most of my life. But, I had traumatic events in my childhood that I believe account for them. And, for me particularly, I have developed skills and coping mechanisms that work for the times I feel a bit low. Self-care goes a long way for me — things like taking time to read, crochet or knit, or spend time with friends or family are often all I need to boost my spirits.

Also, even though I’ve not sought out therapy in a professional setting for those childhood issues (though I have seen a therapist for marriage issues which did inadvertently enlighten me about some things), I feel as though I’ve thought about those childhood traumas and through reading psychological articles and information learned in college while taking classes in the subject matter I’ve come to a place where the past is the past, and forgiveness and letting go is the present. So, day to day, I’m pretty good.

Sometimes, though, there isn’t a childhood trauma or other significant precipitating event that leads to depression or anxiety. There isn’t any one thing you can put your finger on and say, “Aha! That’s why I’m now dealing with these feelings.” Sometimes, it just is. For whatever reason, whether it’s just an inability to process and work through how one feels or whether there is a chemical imbalance in the body that triggers it, it’s just there.

Finding a good therapist is a great first step to trying to learn about and understand why you might be feeling depressed or anxious. Talking about how you feel and different experiences you’ve had in life can help to illuminate where these feelings come from and also result in developing ways to handle yourself to combat them. I’m no psychologist, so I won’t wax poetic about different coping mechanisms or cognitive therapies. But, I will say, if you are having difficulties emotionally do please consider giving a therapist a try. I personally found that the therapist I saw was really great at taking what I said and asking questions to help me to really explore the roots of things that happened, how they affect me, and provided much needed perspective and closure when necessary.

My daughter also deals with depression and anxiety, but at a more moderate level. Hers manifested as she progressed through adolescence into her teen years and had a more profound effect on her ability to manage daily living skills. However, hers isn’t rooted in childhood trauma. There’s not any one thing that any of us in the family can point to to account for it.

I recognized it and approached her to put feelers out to let her know it was okay to want to talk to someone about it, even if it wasn’t me. I offered to take her to a neutral, third party (a therapist) where she could explore her feelings with someone she had no relationship with and who she wouldn’t fear would judge her and who would help her. I kept the conversation brief and didn’t push the idea. Just laid it out as an option and let her consider it for a while.

Several days passed before she came to me and asked if I would make the appointment. That was more than two years ago, and she has been seeing the therapist regularly. It helped, quite a bit actually. Between the coping mechanisms I had passed on to her, and the ones she developed with her therapist, she was feeling better. But, she was still struggling with negative self-image, some anxiety in social situations, and generally feeling depressed — more than she liked.

After two years in therapy, her therapist and I decided it was time to explore medical options. Our pediatrician administered a depression index assessment and was, frankly, shocked at the score. Even with therapy, my daughter still scored as severely depressed. After extensive discussion about the length and type of therapy she’d been doing, among what seemed like a barrage of other discussion about everything from diet and exercise levels to what kinds of friends she hung out with to asking if she was using alcohol or drugs or having sex … our pediatrician finally felt informed enough to explore medication management.

We started my daughter on the lowest dosage possible of an anti-depressant which I keep separate from other medications in a place my daughter doesn’t have access to. I give her the medication daily and watch her take it. Not because I don’t trust her to take it appropriately, but because I just want to make sure it is getting taken regularly so that it can be effective.

After a couple of months, the dosage was raised very moderately and then was raised once more a few months later. She still takes a moderate dose daily. And this, in addition to continued therapy, has made a world of difference. She still struggles some days with her emotions. But I have seen the sparkle return to her eyes. I have seen the beautiful smile and heard the infectious giggles I used to live for when she was a little girl that I worried were gone forever. She isn’t hiding out in her room 24/7 anymore, avoiding contact with other people. Where one year at a family Christmas gathering she had an emotional meltdown while the family was having a White Elephant gift exchange game (because she thought she was ruining everyone’s good time) she is now the life of that activity, not only participating in the gifting but calling out the numbers for other people to choose from the gift pile, often in goofy, silly voices.

Therapy and medication have made a world of difference. But, still, her depression and anxiety are ever there and sometimes rear their ugly heads to try to topple her. We still look for other ways to help her feel the best she can.

For her, we’ve found that drawing and other art-based activities bring her joy. Also, we’ve found that tactile things bring her comfort. Not only tactile things that she can touch, but ones that have an emotional meaning, as well. For example, for Valentine’s Day this year her older sister gave her the cutest little stuffed toy, a sloth (because they are a favorite of both my girls). This is a cherished item that brings her joy, not just because she can touch it but because it was given in love. It reminds her that she is loved.

Another way to speak to her in her love language is with blankets. She loves them. All kinds. The softer and more comfy they are, the better they comfort her.

During my reading about depression and anxiety I came across some literature about weighted blankets and how they can help comfort people who suffer from these conditions. It hit all the boxes for me – it’s something she can use pretty much anywhere at any time she needs it, blankets are already a comfort item for her, and it’s an additional “therapy” sort of thing we can try that isn’t adding more medication to her daily regimen.

I looked at quite a few different brands of weighted blankets. I decided that The Boyfriend Blanket would be the one to try for my daughter.

The Boyfriend Blanket

Things to know about The Boyfriend Blanket:

  • It’s engineered to be 7-12% of your bodyweight to provide a calming effect, like being held. The blanket is available in three different weights based on the user’s body weight.
  • Dimensions — 48 inches wide, 78 inches long
  • The blanket uses DTP (Deep Touch Pressure) to evenly distribute weight, applying even amounts of pressure with non-toxic high-density glass beads that are sewn into pockets in the blanket to evenly distribute weight across your body.
  • Weighted blankets are a proven technology that has been used by the medical profession for decades.
  • In addition to being used to help those suffering from anxiety and depression, this blanket can also be used to help those dealing with PTSD, Autism, Stress, and Restless Leg Syndrome. But, anyone who wants to achieve relaxation and/or a deep meditative state will find the blanket beneficial.
  • It fits as a cover for a twin size bed quite nicely, but can be used anywhere you want comfort — in a larger bed, in a chair or on a couch, in a rocker, as you sit in a lounge chair outdoors, or even in the car on a road trip. Wherever you need comfort, you can take the blanket with you.

My daughter’s eyes lit up upon seeing it for the first time, really just because she loves blankets. The denim cover appealed to her, as well as the fuzzy wool side. But, when I told her about the weighted insert and how it could activate pressure points in her body to help alleviate feelings of depression and anxiety I could tell her interest was peaked even more (from the fact that it could help her or because it came from me in a place of love and caring, I’m not sure). But, either way, she was all in for it.

The Boyfriend Blanket was inspired by denim jackets like the ones many boyfriends might give their girlfriend to wear to feel closer to them.
The wool side of the blanket. So soft and comforting!

And she loves it. The “Pros” of The Boyfriend Blanket are that it helps her feel more centered, more at peace and that it looks great and feels very comforting when using it. Depression can cause one to feel untethered, like they’re floating and not attached to anyone or anything, like they don’t have a place or purpose in the world. This blanket, along with the therapy and medication seems to help her feel grounded and centered. And loved. Most of all, loved and cared for.

So, we count it a successful addition to her daily routine.

As far as “Cons” of weighted blankets, I can think of only two:

  1. Cost — Weighted blankets can cost a bit of money, more than the average throw blanket found at many mass merchandisers. But, in terms of the still-affordable investment, I feel like the benefits way outpace the price. It’s so very worth it!
  2. The Boyfriend Blanket, in particular, consists of the weighted insert and a separate outer covering. There are ties sewn into the inside corners of the outer covering that anchor the weighted insert to it. Several of these ties have come apart from the outer covering, allowing the weighted insert to flop around inside the blanket. Not a huge deal, because my daughter loves it so much that she doesn’t mind having to fix it from time to time. I’m not sure how I should go about making the anchor ties more secure, but I’m pondering it over and I’m sure I’ll come up with something that will work.

Overall, I highly recommend giving a weighted blanket a try if you or someone you love deals with anxiety or depression or any condition in which applying small amount of weight to body pressure points may alleviate discomfort. There are quite a few on the market. And for the benefits, I think it’s a very affordable and worthy option to try.

Do you or someone you care about suffer from anxiety or depression? Are weighted blankets an option you would consider trying? If you have tried one, please feel free to share your experience here in the comments!