We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about the blankets, stuffed animals, and other comfort objects that they still rely on as adults.
We asked them to tell us how their object makes them feel and what kind of comfort it provides. As a heads up, some of these submissions mention suicidal feelings, self-harm, and mental illness.
Here's what they shared:
1. They can smell like home and feel like a hug from a friend.
2. They keep you feeling safe during in-patient mental health treatment.
"I have a stuffed bear named, quite creatively, Teddy, that I've had since I was 2 or 3. The funny thing is that he came from a flea market and was already well loved when I got him, but he was (and is) the favorite of my multitude of stuffed animals. Despite being a college student and 'adult' I still sleep with him most nights.
I had a really rough time battling mental illnesses and persistent suicidal thoughts during high school, which led to several inpatient visits at behavioral health hospitals and a six-month placement for residential treatment during high school. My teddy bear provided me with comfort and a sense of security. I still sleep with him and several other stuffed animals at night and I am so reluctant to part with any of my stuffed animals, as they were such a big part of my childhood and they all have names and personalities, so it would be like saying goodbye forever to a close childhood friend."
3. They can provide a perfect texture for stimming.
"I have Asperger's syndrome, and though I am highly functioning I still need stim objects. One of those includes my 'fleecie' a fleece maroon blanket I've had since I was born. She is a little worn now but that makes the texture even better! I use her at night when my pills don't always help with my anxiety. On particularly bad days, I rub the fabric between my fingers and start feeling immediately better."
4. They're always there to cuddle up after a hard day.
"I still sleep with my childhood stuffed animal, a dog named Buckets. I don't need to but he's always laying in my bed in case of a hard day or just when I need something tangible to hold on to."
5. Scented stuffed animals can help with nausea and anxiety during chemo and just cheer you up.
6. They keep you company through a diagnosis and hospital visits.
"I have a blanket I call Blankie. It was sunny yellow when I was brought home from the hospital in it, and it used to be big enough to cover my entire body until about 4 years old. Now, it’s a tied-up ball of pieces of blanket and acrylic edging. I’m 35 now, and I still sleep with it every night. When I’m super stressed I hold and smell it and play with the edging. I’ve recently been diagnosed with lupus and the last year-and-a-half has been super hard. I’ve been holding and smelling it more than in past years. I’ve even taken it to doc appointments and ER visits if I’m scared. My husband will even bring it to me without asking because he knows it helps. It brings me so much comfort. It reminds me of all that I’ve been through and how strong I am, even for a 35-year-old mom and wife with a blankie!"
7. They're the little piece of home you can bring on an unfamiliar journey.
8. They're a sleep aid when you need certain sensory objects to drift off.
"As an adult with ADHD, sensory objects have become very necessary when trying to sleep every night. My object is a blanket that I have to touch in order to sleep. Growing up, I didn't know why I needed this certain blanket, but as an adult, it has become very clear!"
9. They can make chronic illness feel more manageable somehow.
"I have a blanket I call Blankie, but it’s not so much about security, but more that I feel cold without it even in the peak of summer. I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and the blanket makes the pain seem less severe. It feels more manageable if I have my blanket."
10. When you're grieving, they can be reminders of the person you lost.
"Kinda morbid, but my dad died four years ago and my nan saved some of his ashes to put in teddy bears for me and my younger brother. It took me a while to warm up to it but now I pull out my dad bear when I need a hug (I've sprayed it with his deodorant so it even smells like him), and it's turned out to be one of the most effective items when I'm feeling uneasy or unsafe. Sometimes I'll even sit it on my windowsill so he can hang out with me while I clean."
11. They're perfect for crying into when you feel an anxiety or depression spiral coming on.
"I have a stuffed bear that is about the size of my torso. It's name is literally My Bear because I'm too lazy to have ever thought of a name. It's the only thing I own that has survived three college dorms, countless road trips with my parents, and eight moves, including two that were out of state/halfway across the country. Every time I feel myself having an anxiety attack or spiraling into a depressive episode, I cuddle it and usually cry it out in a dark room. It's the only way I know how to get through anything."
12. A weighted, scented stuffed animal that you can also use as a heat pack can bring you to the peak of serenity.
"I have a stuffed monkey named Murry. He smells like lavender, and can be microwaved to become a heat pack. I have generalized anxiety disorder, and he helps calm me down when I'm anxious. I brought him with me the first time I donated blood because I was afraid of needles (that experience helped me conquer my fear of needles). I also brought him to my last day of phlebotomy school to bring me good luck and comfort during my final. He's weighted, so the pressure provides me comfort at night if I'm having a tough time. I got him for Christmas when I was 17 and I love him so much. ❤️"
13. And when they come into your life at an important time, they're basically forever prized.
"I was placed into foster care a few weeks before my 11th birthday. For my birthday, my foster family (now adoptive family 16 years later) bought me a stuffed horse. It’s all black with this white diamond on its forehead. I haven’t slept without it a day since I got it, even when I’ve gone to professional conferences sharing hotels, sharing beds with partners, staying in hospitals, etc. It’s just a part of who I am. People have always made fun of me for it, especially as I’ve gotten older, but I just let it go. The comfort I get from it is far greater than the temporary annoyance of an adult poking fun at me like a school child for a few minutes."
14. They can help you calm down by reminding you of calmer times.
"For as long as I can remember, I have had a stuffed bear and blanket made for me by my godmother. They were given to my mom as a baby shower gift and I have had them ever since! Now, as an adult-ish person dealing with severe anxiety, these items offer a sense of comfort nothing else could. They are soft, warm, familiar, and remind me of calmer times which, in response, helps calm me down in moments of anxiety and panic."
15. They can feel like your own friend when things get really bad.
16. They can serve as a reminder of all that you've overcome.
17. They're always there waiting to be squeezed when you need it.
18. They're a memento that belonged to someone you lost.
"My security blanket is something I received in the last five years. While I’ve always had a blanket with me, this one always sat on my grandpa’s bed in the nursing home and then the hospital, and when he passed, my aunt gave it to me and it hasn’t left my side since. It’s starting to show it’s wear and tear but it’ll always be my most used blanket."
19. They're the companion who was with you during childhood turmoil and who's there for you when adulthood sucks, too.
20. They take you to your safe place when you're sick or anxious.
21. They can come into your life at a terrible time and be with you ever since.
22. They can help you feel safe in your gender presentation.
"I can’t go anywhere without wearing a jacket. More specifically, a soft, plushy hoodie. It can be 90 degrees and I’ll just tough through it. I’m transgender (FTM) and haven’t started hormones or had top surgery, so it helps me feel like you can’t see my chest. It makes me feel safe and passing."
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Sally Tamarkin is a health editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Sally Tamarkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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