Blankets, stuffed animals, clothes, and other soft objects we can’t live without.
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:
They can smell like home and feel like a hug from a friend.
"As a kid I worried constantly over nothing. By the time I was 10, I was dealing with constant anxiety, and by 11, I had my first panic attack. Now as an adult, I deal with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and depression. One of the things that has helped calm me down since I was little was a blanket. I have had three different blankets over the years, each one for a different stage in my life, it seems. They smell like home and home is my safe place, plus the soft fabric feels like a hug from a friend. Right now it's a plaid blanket with some stains and some holes my bunny chewed in it. But I still love it and all the memories it carries."
"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."
"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."
"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."
Scented stuffed animals can help with nausea and anxiety during chemo and just cheer you up.
This is Ruby. She is a Scentsy Buddy. When I was 30, I was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma. My son gave me Ruby. With every doctor appointment, chemo, and long hospital stay, Ruby has been there providing a sense of familiarity, hope, and comfort. In addition to her sweet face and soft texture we choose scents that help with nausea and anxiety."
"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!"
They're the little piece of home you can bring on an unfamiliar journey.
"Meet Beanie. I got him after tonsil surgery in second grade. He travels everywhere with me. In grad school I studied in five countries and he came to all of them. I've had two Peace Corps services — he's come to both (thank goodness because Peace Corps can be rough and I need snuggles occasionally!). My fiancé made him his own passport before leaving for my first Peace Corps stint. He even got me flags of the world stickers to fill his passport with! He's got 22 countries and counting!"
"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!"
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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. ❤️"
"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."
"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."
They can feel like your own friend when things get really bad.
"I'm 23 and I've had Sunshine since I was probably 5 or so. He was a present from my grandma, who I've never really gotten along with, but I adored him instantly. Out of all my stuffed toys, he's the one I always took on vacation or trips. I'd arrange it so he could always see out the window. I took him to college all four years and I never once felt embarrassed. About a year ago, I moved some place far away from home where I didn't know anyone and was unfamiliar with the environment and culture. I felt completely cut off from everyone. My depression became severe and I started cutting. But I would curl up on the covers and hold onto him, and for a little while, it felt like everything was okay, even when the world was crushing me. Whenever I'm scared or depressed, I hold him and squeeze him and whisper my problems into his ears because I know he'll never judge me or tell anyone."
They can serve as a reminder of all that you've overcome.
"I had a pretty crappy childhood. I went to eight schools in 12 years. Both of my parents had substance abuse problems and I spent a decent amount of time in foster homes. But my dad got me this Barney doll as a kid and he was always my constant. He was the one thing in my life that always stayed with me, and more importantly, always stayed the same. Now as an adult, Barney sits in a box tucked in my closet. He serves as a reminder of all I’ve overcome and how thankful I am for my obstacles. I’m a strong person and now I’m in control of my own life and I’ve provided myself stability."
They're always there waiting to be squeezed when you need it.
"This is Murray. I got him for my birthday when I was five. I’m 27 now. He has been cried into, squeezed, stitched up, lost, found, everything. I sleep better with him next to me. My boyfriend accepts the fact that we have a three-person bed."
"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."
They're the companion who was with you during childhood turmoil and who's there for you when adulthood sucks, too.
"I was 3 years old when I got Panda, and I’ve loved him for 24 years. Though most people don’t understand why I still have Panda, the answer to me seems so obvious.
Panda has been the only stable thing in my life for as long as I can remember. Anytime that I was sick, moved states, or felt alone, Panda was there. When my parents would scream and yell at each other while I was growing up, Panda was there for me to cry into. When my twin brother died two years ago, Panda was the only thing that felt safe and familiar in my world that had been ripped apart.
He’s traveled with me all over the country and has seen me through more good and bad times than any person ever will. Panda is so much MORE than fur and stuffing to me.. He’s a reminder that no matter what’s happening or where I go, that there will always be comfort. He’s a reminder that I’m never truly alone and I will always love him for that, even if all anyone can see is an old panda bear. ❤️ "
They take you to your safe place when you're sick or anxious.
"This is my blanket, Cheetah! I’ve had her for over 10 years and she goes everywhere with me. My 11-year-old son and I fight over her sometimes and occasionally my husband gets jealous of her ability to comfort me, but she just takes me to my safe place. When I’m sick or sad or anxious, she makes me feel calm. I told my husband that if anything ever happens to me, to make sure my son gets Cheetah. I live in Phoenix and regardless of the 100-degree temps at times I’m still wrapped up in her."
They can come into your life at a terrible time and be with you ever since.
"I have this Stitch plushie that has been a huge comfort to me on some of my worst days. I got him right before what was easily the worst day of my life and have cried into him so many times. I even brought him with me the day I was getting top surgery, since I knew I'd be anxious. The nurses and surgeon thought it was cool that I knew what would help keep me from being anxious, and even let him stay on my hospital bed when they wheeled me into the operating room. I woke up with him snuggled next to me and it was honestly so comforting."
"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."