Tag Archives: anxiety

How can a weighted blanket help you

how can a weighted blanket help youWhen I was discussing my sleep problems with my doctor and we were going over what medication I could take and what I was already taking, she mentioned that a weighted blanket might help. I thought that it was definitely worth a try, I had read about them and knew that they helped some people settle down and be calmer.
We booked an appointment with the department that was supposed to find out if I would be eligible for getting/loaning one. I had to make a two-week sleep diary, which wasn’t a problem since I always wear a step and sleep tracker, I just had to print out the last two weeks and we could quite obviously see that I was not sleeping very good.
So then I got to test some of the blankets. I tested two kinds, one that is full of plastic balls, like in a children’s ball pit, and its huge and really I could not stop giggling because It felt like it was childhood all over again. That one was not for me. But people who like to feel pressure on parts of their body to “know they are there” can benefit from a blanket like that.
The second one I tried was a chain weighted blanket. It’s like a duvet with channels lengthwise with chains in them. This one was definitely for me, I felt sleepy and calm after just a few minutes under it. So, we ordered one of those for me.
These blankets are extremely expensive, I have an 8 kg blanket that costs 8000 kronor, about 900 dollars, it’s on loan, but it’s not like they are ever going to demand to get it back.
I sleep under 8000 kr, it’s a bit ridiculous.

chainsSo, what benefits do I get from this chain weighted blanket. I know It sounds crazy sleeping under 8 kg of chains, but It makes me feel safe, hugged, grounded, and it calms me down in stressful situations and I tend to lie more still when I’m sleeping, and not toss and turn so much. I can even get a longing just to be under the blanket during the day, not sleeping, but feeling the security and safety it gives me. It has definitely helped me sleep better in collaboration with some melatonin and a sedative.

There are three kinds of weighted blankets on the market that I know of:

bolltäckeThe Ball Blanket: “The weight of the balls affects the central nervous system via the comfortable pressure you feel on the body. Moving underneath the blanket creates new pressure points and thus new tactile signals to the central nervous system. The ball covers help to clarify the limits of the body”

These blankets are usually made of a duvet filled with plastic balls that come in different sizes and weights. 3-10 kg for adults and 0,5-1,5 for children.

600510The Chain Blanket: “The chain blankets function is based on scientific studies on the calming impact of gravity. Through the weight of the cover, the user gets a clearer feel of the body’s limits. The comfortable weight releases a number of body-wise hormones that seem to calm anxiety and sedation for both blood pressure and heart rate. The effect is that you can relax, and get better sleep quality.”

A chain blanket is a duvet with channels lengthwise with chains running through them, these also come in different weights, 4-15 kg for adults and 1,5-3,4 for children.

fibertacket-300x216and The Fiber Blanket: “Fiber blanket is a weighted blanket and a mind-stimulating cognitive tool. The fiber blanket is unique because it is soft and has gentle and enclosing features that gives a sense of peace and security. Unlike other weighted blankets, the fiber blanket provides an even pressure throughout the body.”

The fiber blankets are made from polyester and comes in weights from 4-14 kg for adults and 2,3-5 kg for children.

The weighted blankets are a great help for som people and I certainly recommend it.

There is also the option to make your own weighted blanket, here are some great tutorials for the diy blanket.

in-progress-held-upCalming the senses with weighted blankets.

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 22.47.56The Weighted Blanket: An Easy Quilting Project by Rob Appell of Man Sewing.

DIY-weighted-lap-pad-using-pillow-petP1450841-One-project-closerDIY Weighted Lap Pad Using a Pillow Pet!

20161208225818013211127890_sbigKedjetäcke (Swedish)


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Tackling the Front Door

So what can we do about this looming front door and bottleneck of a hallway. How can we make this a little easier? These are some things that have been or are helping me get out.

  1. Have a plan: in a comfortable location, make a plan beforehand on where you are going to go and when, what you will wear, make sure you pee, drink and have a lip balm. Then just go through the bottleneck and front door at speed (trying) not to think about it. plan
  2. Know what you are going to wear and have it accessible.
  3. zriphoneIf you have a smartphone, make the walk more fun with apps that measure your distance and time, like runkeeper, or make it into a game with  zombies run!. Play upbeat positive music or listen to an audiobook.
  4. Make the walk more fun in other ways, like with walking sticks for nordic walking, or measuring how fast you can do a certain distance and see if you improve over time.
  5. Walk a small distance to begin with. When that feels comfortable, increase it just a little, seriously, very little, like 20m. And when that is comfortable increase it a bit more and so on.
  6. Are there any animals anywhere in your surroundings? Make a point of going by their pasture or garden to look or say hello.
  7. Or there might be something else you especially enjoy that you can make a point to pass, for me it is water.
  8. Have nice walking clothes and good shoes, stay within your budget so you don’t feel pressured to use them or anxiety that you are not. Ten tips to
  9. Walk with a friend and have a nice conversation on the way, maybe you can schedule a weekly walk together.
  10. Get a dog. Ok this one might be a little drastic. I for one is allergic, and there is a bit more to owning a dog than just having a walking buddy. But maybe you have a neighbour with a dog that wouldn’t mind you “borrowing” the dog for a walk now and then. And there are also organisations where you can volunteer as a dog walker. dog

I know that some, or all of these can feel totally daunting some days, I know I couldn’t ask my neighbour to walk his dog for example, and its ok to feel that way. Maybe one or two things on the list is possible for you. Maybe a few more on a good day, or with company.

The important thing is to keep trying and not to give up on the things we want to do. map


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Getting out The Front Door..

Getting out that front door…can be one of the hardest things I do all day, and some days I don’t even manage.

I am scared of leaving the house, its my safe, though slightly lonely and boring, place. But don’t underestimate the power of the safe place. The further I am from the house the more unsafe I feel, the more anxiety I have.

I am ok with going with my husband in the car. The car acts as a mini safe house, and usually we take familiar routes or I’m in charge of the map, and I know exactly where we are, which makes me calmer. But long trips are hard.

Its easier going outside with company I trust, then I can also manage to go further because they distract/calm me enough for me to not spend all energy on thinking about bad stuff that could happen, (fainting in a bush and not being discovered) or being in a heightened state of awareness (how long till I can get home, how much time) all the time.

But going outside myself, it’s a struggle. That door, that hallway, it’s a bottleneck for all my anxiety. What I won’t do to postpone passing through it.

I must have a drink, pee, lip balm, do I have my phone, is it charged, are the bunnies secure, I have the wrong socks, do I need a hat, what temperature is it, which route should I take, forest or road, how long, what If I meet someone, are the neighbours home to see me…

hallway

Sometimes this takes so long that it starts raining, I get hungry, decide to make dinner instead or just plain give up.

When I am finally outside I usually feel much better, and when I get walking, in nice weather with my headphones playing positive upbeat music, I sometimes even forget to be anxious. From time to time.

If I walk the same familiar route, when I know exactly how long it is, and how long it should take, I like walking.
When I get to walk totally alone, where no one can see me, I like walking.
When I feel my muscles working and feel strong, I like walking.
When I get to feel I’m one with the landscape around me, I like walking.

But the anxiety comes back when I start to feel tired, or start to think of exactly how far I have to go to get back home, how much time, how many steps.

Forest

When I walk in the forest, the anxiety lightens. I have to concentrate more not to stumble on something, there are animals to see, plants and trees, and I usually walk by my very favourite lake.

summer

Taking a break on the little run down pier and feeling the water, putting my feet in when it’s not too cold, that helps. Its like the forest has a calm, serene aura that puts a dampener on feelings, especially negative ones. And the lake gives me positive energy, enough to get home. This works best alone.

But that door…


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How To Sleep

Do you know, because I certainly don’t?
(Well I do now, but that’s the whole point of the post so, shhhh!)

It is about three in the morning and I know I’m out of my melatonin sleeping pills so I don’t really want to go to bed until I’m really tired. So what better time to address this thing called sleeping.

I have never been a good sleeper, I’m a great napper though, probably because I’m so bad at sleeping at night. That’s my story, not the other way around, and I’m sticking to it!
No, seriously I have a hard time falling asleep and just as hard a time waking up, if it’s not in the middle of the night, then I’ll wake up just fine!
Also, I work best on a late timetable and need about 9-10 hours of sleep so about 2 at night to 10-12 in the late morning is quite good, that is if I have the melatonin pills, which I don’t…
It’s just bad planning on my part, I just have to go get them at the pharmacy.
I used to look forward to my extremely painful periods, because I got to take kodein and sleep for about three nights, a month! Pathetic.

night-television-tv-theme-machines

A few years ago this not sleeping very well thing accelerated to insomnia, and there was about six months where I was totally out of it, not sleeping at night and walking around like a zombie and taking micro naps all day.
After a while you lose the ability to do anything useful and you actually start becoming a bit dangerous, like with knives, driving and things like that. And I’m wobbly at the best of times, so there was a lot of stumbling and falling over.
When you were little you fell all the time and you mostly stood up and continued what you were doing, maybe after a cuddle from a parent, but now that you are an adult there is a certain hight to the falls, it hurts and you have to act all adult and stuff. 😦

Well anyway, I had my aspergers diagnosis and I was seeing a doctor regularly so she just said, ok we have to make sure you sleep before we do anything else! Such a great decision!
We tried sleeping pills that makes you just “fall asleep” and wear of quite quickly, which works great for a lot of people who has trouble turning off their thoughts at night. But for me it just ment that I woke up again two hours later… just as not sleepy as usual.
Then we tried a more advanced sleeping pill that makes you really sleep all night, but that made me even more groggy and hard to wake up in the morning, no good.
Then finally, we tried melatonin, our brain’s own sleeping hormone, and it’s just totally fantastic! The reason we tried the other ones first is that this is not covered by the standard Swedish healthcare discount that everyone gets when they reach a certain amount per year, so its comparatively expensive. But oh, so worth it! I had never slept so good before. It takes about an hour to kick in, so I take it, do my before bed routine, brush my teeth and watch a little YouTube in bed, then I can just snuggle down, turn on an audiobook and actually fall asleep! This is totally a miracle for me, I had never experienced this before!

pexels-photo-2 copy

So, I said I “had” never slept so good before, I still had the very nasty habit of waking up with a full-blown panic attack now and then. So horrible, because you totally miss the starting signs of an attack, where you can try to calm yourself out of it. When you wake up with it full on, you sort of just have to ride it out, and it takes a while for me to recognise that it is a panic attack and not the end of the world. Every time.
Luckily I have my husband that sleepily sits beside me and says “breathe, it will pass, breathe”. 🙂

So, then the, now new, (I hade moved) doctor and I had to deal with this problem.
I now take Lyrica, the active ingredient is pregabalin and is used for general anxiety problems and epilepsy! well, it works, and a low dose of a sedative, stesolid which is a benzodiazepine such as Valium.

Now, this is as good as I have ever slept! And as a bonus I have about 90% fewer panic attacks. I still live with general anxiety disorder and I still do have panic attacks, but I also have medication that actually helps! And I hate taking medication, so I am a very good patient when it comes to not getting addicted and asking for a higher and higher dose.

medications-money-cure-tablets-50997

As for the waking up part, I still struggle with that, and I have tried some crazy alarm clocks, but I seem to outsmart or ignore them all.
I did try an ADD medicine for a while, and that was an extremely low dose of something similar to amphetamine (no point in hiding that), the pharmacy people had to go get it in the locked cabinet, and that worked, but at night when it was out of my system I got horribly depressed. And I decided I’d live with the sluggishness and be happy that I could finally sleep.

Ok, im going to try to sleep now… I still have my sedative, so I wont be anxious.
I hope you like the new theme!

Goodnight.

full-moon-moon-night-sky-53153


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