I got myself a Weighted Blanket, and now I am trapped inside my Bedroom
This all started because of a simple sentence that would come out of my mouth
“I just feel so tired.”
Now, anyone who has a fulltime job in any sector would use these words at least once a week. I mean the only people who ever seem immune to this feeling are your high-earning career people (who I am sure are all on some form of upper, if not straight up cocaine), or people who have graduated from tired to just plainly no longer giving a shit. The latter are characterised by a simple “I’m fine”.
All I know is that my mental and physical fatigue must be brought on by my inability to switch off at night. I can point out several possible culprits to blame for this: The anxiety of an overworked, underpaid career. My recent breakup with a girl I had been with for the last three years. It could also just plainly be the fact that I am out of shape and tend to stress eat (a truly vicious cycle).
Regardless of the reasons, at the end of the day I am simply not getting the required eight hours of rest needed to keep a healthy lifestyle, but c'mon, no one has time to sleep anymore. Bills need paying and that rich asshole above you doesn’t give a crap how tired you are.
You are replaceable.
I was able to function on three to four hours of sleep in the past, but for the last week or two it seems my body has set an ultimatum for itself: either I get a full eight hours of sleep, or I don’t sleep at all.
This had begun to influence my ability to work as I would pretty much turn into a zombie staring at a monitor.
Don’t get me wrong, I still get some work done, but it sure as Hell isn’t the amount expected of me.
Thankfully my team manager was a friend, and had known about my insomnia before I had even started working there.
She remained as supportive as she could for as long as she was able to (and bless her heart for that, I would have made a formal complaint if I saw someone sleeping during that many team meetings), but when the bottom line started to feel it she had to step in.
I remember how terrified I was when she asked me to stay behind on Wednesday before quitting time.
When I was entering heroffice (well shared office with the other team managers, small space and all) my palms were slick with sweat and I felt as though all the blood in my face had retreated to the recesses of my stomach.
“Jason, you don’t need to look so pale, man,” she gestured to the chair opposite her.
With my slightly blurred vision, I attempted to keep eye contact (well as sure as I could be it was eye contact) and sat down.
“Wanted to see me, Becca?” (Her full name is Rebecca, but you only called her that when you were looking for a bruised shoulder).
She gave a blurry smile and replied, “Jason, you’re tired. And it is pretty obvious that you can’t cope with the work I am sending your way.” she gave a slight shrug, “Your numbers aren’t going down and I can’t keep hiding it my man.”
I gave a shaky nod, she was right. I’m not much of a senior team member if I am barely keeping up with the new hires.
As I was getting ready to form some sort of apology and promise of improvement, the awkward silence was broken, “So I sorted out a quick fix for ya. Well, maybe.”
I stared up at her and replied a bit louder than intended, “Anything! I really can’t lose this job. Whatever you suggest, I’ll do.” My vision had returned as though my mind had managed to fight through the tiredness, eager to learn the secrets of a good night’s sleep.
“Like you I was having some trouble sleeping a while back, I mean you think you have a lot to do,” she smirked, “just never become a team manager. The hours are shit and the pay is even worse,” she paused and looked over at me half expectantly. In hindsight I realized she wanted me to laugh. I was just too eager to hear what her solution was to pay attention to any unrelated details.
She awkwardly cleared her throat, “You ever try a weighted blanket?”
I could honestly say no. You ever have that feeling when someone mentions something you both knew about but have never actually thought about? The concept just seemed odd to me way back when. My goto for fixing my sleeping problem was medication and trying to tire myself out with exercise (well, back in the days when eating was not my comfort after a long day).
“No, never really tried it.”
I heard her give a small snort, no doubt in response to how I have been suffering with lack of sleep, yet was too tired to explore all the possible ways of fixing the problem.
“Well, I remember you used to look more alive with your ex-chick… Amanda?”
“Amy.” I auto corrected, not really sure why my head wanted to get online again now.
“Yeah, her. Anyway, I remember when I was having issues I slept better when I felt like someone was with me in bed.”
I assume I pulled an odd face because the next response from her flew out at max speed.
“And I am not talking about bumping uglies, I just mean good wholesome cuddling. People feel safer and can fall asleep easier.” the thought had honestly not even crossed my mind, I was too busy daydreaming about Amy, wondering what she was up to.
“Sorry, kinda dozed off. So I should just get some heavy blanket?”
She let out a sigh and took out her phone, “Link. Read. Glass beads. Yes?” She looked at me as though I was a confused child trying to get which end of the spoon goes in its mouth, a test I honestly felt I could fail at that point in time.
“Yes mom.” I said, trying my best to balance the gratitude with the sarcasm.
“Yeah, yeah. Stop slouching and go play with the other kids then. Let me know if you need an advance on your pay, I really suggest going with the more expensive option.”
And so I spent the rest of my week researching weighted blankets, looking online for the prices and I must say, shit is expensive…
The pricing naturally being influenced by size, but also by what they actually put in the damn thing. When I read glass I actually imagined them putting fist sized crystal balls that would hang off the sides of my bed. I was actually a little disappointed when I saw that everything they stuff in the blanked was essentially the size of sand.
So in the end I took up my Manager’s offer of getting an advance payment, it was only the second week of the month (and I kinda went a little crazy the weekend prior), and got myself a 13kg glass bead blanket.
They said that shipping could take from three days to two weeks depending on whether or not you were stupid enough to trust the mail service of my home country. Like any sensible person I opted for a courier. It was the pricier option, but I’d rather actually get the blanket than let some disgruntled postal worker run off with it.
The following three days were excruciating, my sleep had somehow managed to get worse since now my head was occupied with thoughts of the blanket. You could say the anticipation was actively trying to kill me.
I remember how, on the third day, I had pretty much been sleeping through my shift when I was awoken by my manager, “Damn, what planet did you go to?”
The grasp on my shoulder felt firmer than usual, pretty sure Becca was more annoyed with my sleeping than she was letting on.
“Sorry, sorry. Will take a walk and get some coffee in me. I am so so--”
She squeezed my shoulder to quiet me down, “Package for you at the front desk, take it and go home. We’ll write it up as sick leave, alright?” a genuinely warm smile came across her face, and I knew she was right to send me home. At this rate the day was a writeoff anyway.
Upon arriving home (thank god I take the bus, I’m pretty sure if I had to drive myself I’d hit every car on the way) I grabbed a knife from the kitchen and basically went Mike Myeres on that box, I felt surprised when I remembered that the blanket was in there and I could have easily damaged one of the most expensive pieces of cloth I had ever owned.
Once out of the box I could say it looked like it was worth the ridiculous price, velvety soft and thick, not at all course like I imagined it. I could feel the weight too, my brain almost screaming that the blanket should be about five times bigger than it was.
It was around 1 pm but I was so floaty that I decided I might as well test the blanket out right away. Being optimistic I set my alarm for my usual wake up time for work. I was too tired to care about waking up for supper, I would just make up for it the next day during lunch.
I got onto my bed and burrowed underneath the new blanket.
At first it felt slightly odd, as though I was buried under several pillows. Slowly I began to think that this too would end in failure, just another expense in the unwinnable battle of sleep, but then the weight began to settle around me. My mind began to imagine the embrace of my mother and I could feel myself fall away.
The park smelt like spring, I could hear the faint sizzling of meat on grills along with the laughter of my friends. It was summer holiday and we were all at the park for my birthday. I was turning 12 and my parents decided that rather than doing a stuffy celebration at home or restricted in a restaurant (also a horrible place to try and control the chaos that is an army of children), that we would go to the local botanical garden and set up several picnic spots.
“Jason. Why are you just sitting there son?” I looked up at the warm, wide smile of my Dad as he loomed over me.
“Don’t know, felt like sitting,” I replied, scanning around us to see where my friends had gone.
They were all running near the trees, yelping and jumping as they tried to avoid everyone who was it.
“Don’t you want to join them, kiddo?” my Dad asked after I stared for a while.
“Not yet, I want burgers.” I looked up at my Dad with a toothy grin, feeling the gentle breeze blowing past the gap at the bottom row of teeth.
Dad raised an eyebrow with a mock stern face, “You want burgersssssssss?”
“Please!” I responded with a giggle. Dad would keep holding sounds and refuse to move until we remembered our manners. My sister and I once got him to hiss like a snake for almost five minutes before Mom decided the game had to end.
With his smile returning he said, “Sure thing kiddo. Go find your Mom for me, huh? Bet she wants to see the birthday boy for a bit.” I presented to him my arm, he took a firm grip and, in one swift motion, lifted me so I was on my feet.
The moment he let go I shot off towards my Mom who was walking with my little sister near the trees.
Before I reached her I saw her turning to me, “And here he comes! Can the birthday boy make it all the way!”
Sarah (my sister) took on the role of a proper hype man for Mom by beginning to “Ooh” and “Aah” at the comments.
I leapt at my Mom once I was within arms reach, we both fell to the ground and I began to half panic when I realised I knocked her over. But these fears were immediately extinguished when I heard a laugh under me, “Ouch. I was more thinking of a racing car than a wrestler, what do you think, Sarah?” Mom looked up at her while she started tugging on my arm.
“He’s just not happy that he can’t make Daddy fall.” I heard her small voice say in between the tugs.
“Sorry Mom, did I hurt you?” hoping the concern in my voice would be very obvious.
“Oh don’t worry Jason, your Mommy isn’t a pushover…” she paused, “alright usually not, but you got me by surprise is all,” I felt a kiss on my forehead, “my little boy is getting too big and he is only 12, we’ll need to start stocking up on more food or you might eat the house with how fast you are growing.”
Once we were both on our feet, Mom knelt down and hugged me so tight I thought my eyes would pop out, “Mom! You’re crushing me!”
I could hear her laughing as her grip loosened, “Oh, don’t be such a baby. Pain builds character.”
“Burgers are ready you animals!” Dad’s voice boomed out over the park.
The army of kids stormed my Dad at his station. I could see him holding some of them back since they almost ran into the grill.
I looked back at Mom and Sarah to walk back with them for food, I was starving.
The only problem was that I couldn’t see Sarah anymore, my Mom was staring at something in the opposite direction of me and the party.
“Mom, where’d Sarah go?”
We had fallen into the shade of the trees, it was a warm day so the shade was welcome but I don’t remember it being so close. My breath began to get louder in my ears, it sounded as thought I had run flat out only moments ago.
My Mom turned around and, with a gentle smile, said, “she wants to play hide and seek, silly. You shouldn’t be rude now,” She raised an arm and pointed at the trees, “Get going now.”
She seemed so--
The loud screeches of my alarm were ringing in my ears, I swear sometimes I hated Becca for suggesting making the sound of a car crash my alarm.
But damn if it wasn’t effective, never slept through it (well the handful of times that I had somehow managed not to wake up before it went off).
I couldn’t believe it though, I slept right through until morning. And I felt amazing, the only oddity was that dream I had and how clearly I could remember it.
My face was not buried under the blanket as it had been the previous night, my head had popped out during the night, however the blanket was still wrapped around me. It felt like a warm embrace that almost made we want to go back to sleep out of pure comfort. The deep, slow breaths in my ears began to mesmerise me back to sleep.
The thought left my mind when my stomach reminded me that I had committed the cardinal sin of not eating supper the previous night, and, for once, I wasn’t too tired to make myself a real breakfast before work.
I had a feeling it was going to be a good Friday.
Once I reached the office I did what I no longer thought possible, I started working immediately. I got there at about 8 and made such good progress I started to worry I might run out of work to do.
“Well hell! Look who finally rose from the dead,” Becca’s voice was unmistakable.
“Mind keeping it down? People are trying to work here.” I said without turning to her.
A palm colliding with the back of my head made it clear that the snarkiness was noted.
“Look at us, we wake up for once and now we think we are some hot shit, huh?”
I turned to see a giant grin on her face.
“So, it worked then, huh? Unless you just did a shitload of crack and drink some of that Jet Fuel they call energy drinks?”
“Ha, uh,” I made my voice more sincere, “Thank you Rebecca, that blanket really helped. And thank you so much for sending me home, really needed--” I was silenced by a raised hand.
“Get me a bottle of the good stuff and we call it even, alright?”
We shared a laugh and I reminded her that the blanket was fairly expensive so her bottle would have to wait. I was not surprised when she left me with a numb shoulder.
Work went by quickly thanks to me actually being present. As I had predicted, it was a good day.
I got home and cleaned up the place while my supper was cooking, this excess of energy was alien to me, but it was a good feeling.
Not getting home drained and trying to run out an internal clock that didn’t want to listen was a welcome change.
I enjoyed my supper of steamed veg and some oven fried chicken (I have a recipe that makes it all crumbly like the good old Colonel used to make, naturally without the secret stuff that I think is just a load of shit).
It wasn’t ten minutes later when I had decided that I was going to have an early night. The prospect of another deep and actually restful sleep excited me. Going through the shower in record time, along with the other bathroom activities, I dove head first into bed and eagerly wrapped myself up in the blanket. Once again I opted to submerge myself completely under it so no parts of my body would stick out, emulating the feeling of being cradled in a way (insert Freudian garbage here).
I’m not sure how long I layed there, maybe 10 or 20 minutes, I wanted to check my phone for the time, but I was worried about the whole, “synthetic light tricks your brain into thinking you should be awake,” thing.
Maybe I had gone to bed too early?
Or I was too excited and now I can’t sleep?
I could hear breathing fill my ears. Was my breathing always that loud?
The blanket began to feel heavier, as though it was only now trying to cover me properly. I found it odd that the blanket was actually heavy enough to force me to lay flat on my back.
It’s all very…
The burger was awesome!
I looked over at Dad, “Is swo guuud.” I felt a few crumbs eject from my mouth, Dad looked amused.
That was until he saw Mom’s angry face, “Uhhhh, bad Jason. No eating with a full mouth.” Besides the obvious blunder in his speech, he tried to put on a serious expression meant to show me his displeasure, he was really bad at it since he looked more like one of the other kids at the party pretending to be an adult.
Mom just rolled her eyes, and then gave me a full blast of her serious expression. My next bite was tiny and was chewed 40 times.
I began to look around at my friends, but I couldn’t see anyone. At the table it was only myself, Mom, and Dad.
He didn’t look up, well not right away. It looked like he was trying to be dramatic by lifting his head as slowly as possible. I couldn’t help but giggle at the ridiculous sight of his slomo act.
My giggle however came out sounding like a long, drawn out, sarcastic laugh, you know a kind of “ Ha. Ha. Ha.”
It was funny but I wasn’t aware I was trying to copy Dad’s slow motion joke.
A deep inhale sounded in my ears, why was I breathing so heavily?
“What is it kiddo?” I shot back to my Dad who was now no longer pretending to be in the Matrix. It took me a second to remember what it was that I wanted to ask, “Uhm… Oh yea! Where did everybody go?”
My Dad made a big toothy smile and pointed over my shoulder, “To play hide and seek in the trees, silly.”
I looked over at the trees, fairly sure I would have trouble seeing my friends from so far away.
But the trees were a lot closer than I remembered, I had to run a decent distance last time to reach them. Now they were just a small jog away.
“Are you sure, Dad?” I asked, trying to hold my breath to listen for the obvious sounds of my friends playing. My breath, however, kept filling my ears, deep inhales with long exhales, yet not a single laugh or yell. The only other sound in the air was a breeze that I could see passing through the trees.
I couldn’t tell how long I stared at them, swaying back and forth. The long shadows reaching out from beneath them.
My trance only ended when I saw a figure move in my peripheral. It was moving so slowly that at first I assumed it was a post or something, but after a while I could make out my Mom in her white summer dress.
She was walking, but moving too slow to be walking. It seemed more like she weighed down by the air around her.
At first I considered that my Mom might be making a joke, pretending to move in slow motion because I was spacing out (my parents are very funny people, they like trying to make us feel awkward). But as she entered my vision properly I noticed that the breeze going through her hair and making her dress billow, was also in slow motion. My Mom was moving at half speed, all while I saw the trees swaying normally, the shadows they casted reaching out further and further.
Through deep and distractingly loud breaths I managed to mumble out, “Mom?”
She didn’t reply, she just kept walking towards the trees in slow motion. The shadows that they casted seemed similar to clawed hands, beckoning her to enter their grasp.
My breathing became more erratic, I could feel myself begin to panic. I wanted to save my Mom but I couldn’t move. I tried calling for Dad to save her but I couldn’t speak.
The world around me began to get drained of colour and I felt a pressure on my chest. My breathing became louder and louder in my ears.
And then I saw--
My eyes shot open and I felt a terrible stinging pain in my head, as the light hit my eyes it got even worse. I had woken up once again with everything except my head covered by the blanket, however unlike the day before where I felt rested and rejuvenated, now I felt drained and my body ached as though I had been doing intense exercise.
What the hell was with that dream? Some sort of stress that I am unaware of, maybe the sudden increase in sleep is alien to my body?
My thoughts were interrupted by the alarm on my phone, my head feeling as though it was now in an actual car crash. I cursed and reached out for the phone, the only problem was that my body didn’t respond to the command.
I attempted to will myself more, but it felt as though I was being held down. The blanket no longer weighed 13kg, it felt more like a building was placed on my body. Simple twitches were the most I was able to perform.
I began to panic, could feel the muscles in my body tensing, but through all of this the breathing in my ears remained even.
Just as tears began to fill my vision of the absolute dread I was feeling, I shot up and immediately threw the blanket off of me. Running to the corner of my room I remained frozen there for a while, frantically searching for a threat that was not present. It took me a few minutes to notice that the alarm had timed out, all I was able to focus on was the blanket now lying in a bundle on the floor.
After what felt like an eternity I approached my bed once more and picked up my phone to turn off the alarm…
The alarm had been going on and off for the past five hours.
I have never slept through an alarm, never mind how I managed to do so for five hours. My body continued to ache and the scare of the morning left me feeling even more drained than I felt when I first woke up. Every fibre of my being begged me to rest more, but I was too terrified to get back into that bed.
In the end my unease drove me from my home, I went walking around in the local park, ate at the mall near my house, and just generally did anything I could to avoid going home. Throughout the entire day my head throbbed and I jumped at the sound of rustling trees (part of the reason why I opted to go to the mall rather than staying in the park).
But as it got later the curfew time for the virus began to kick in. Most shops had already closed their doors at six and the mall made the final call at ten. I had no choice but to return home.
The simple act of opening the front door filled me with dread and unease, how could a dream be causing me such terrible anxiety? I had done some research throughout the day and believed that my frozen state was a form of sleep paralysis, a prospect which also terrified me as I was not looking forward to suffering through shadow people conjured up by my own mind.
But whether I liked it or not, I was exhausted. At first I tried to keep myself awake with the tried and tested technique of drinking a ridiculous amount of coffee. Did you know drinking caffeine when you are tired actually makes you more tired?
I found that out while reading random facts online to keep my mind preoccupied, which was about as effective as building a house made of ice in the desert.
I had been drifting in and out of consciousness on my living room couch until about 3 am when I finally decided I needed to stop being a child and go to bed, a stupid nightmare can’t cause me this level of discomfort.
As I got into bed I decided to cover myself in my old blanket, to test if perhaps the added weight of the new blanket might have been the cause for my sudden nightmares.
My old struggles of falling asleep returned and I probably lay awake in bed for several hours…
She looked over at me again, “What is it darling?”
I turned away from her and stared at the trees again, the park seemed so much smaller.
“Is Sarah still hiding?”
As I turned to face my Mom again I noticed a strange sight, birds in the sky.
Now, alright yes, birds would be in the sky and that isn’t strange at all. But these birds weren’t moving.
And before you think I meant they were gliding, no, I meant that they were stationary.
Not a flap, not a peep, no forward momentum. They just hung in the blue… no, grey sky?
My Mom was standing at the edge of the tree line now, facing me.
I saw her stretch out her arms to beckon me closer, she shadows of the trees now reaching all the way to my feet where I was sitting on the park bench, I felt something touch my hand and nearly jumped out my skin.
I looked down and saw my Dad holding onto my hand, “We should get closer don’t you think, kiddo?” The breathing in my ears started up again, it seemed so calm, too calm.
My body stiffened when I attempted to look at my father, stubbornly defying my order to move. A faint panic once again building in my chest as I felt a pressure slowly cover my body.
The breathing was once again in my ears, but for the first time I realized… I was holding my breath.
“Is that you?”
The hand on mine began to lose colour, as it slowly began to resemble the trees that had surrounded us. I could feel the air becoming cold.
And the breathing in my ears was becoming louder and more erratic.
A raspy voice came from above me, “Let's go play with your Mom and Sarah.”
I felt a tug on the arm that was being held and felt my body shoot backwards over the park bench.
The figure that had once been my mother was sprinting towards me on all fours--
My eyes opened and I immediately thanked whatever deity was out there, existing or not.
I wanted to get out of bed but I felt a weight covering my entire body, as I looked down I saw the weighted blanket covering me once more.
With the outline of something sitting on it.
The breathing that filled the room was exactly the same as the breathing that had been in my dreams.
Still coming from above me.
I can’t remember how long it was that I lay there frozen in fear, the presence on my chest just keeping me pinned down. But after my prolonged captivity I felt the weight retreat from me. First the pressure relieved from my chest and then released my limbs as it slithered off the end of my bed.
I have been laying in bed now, at least this time I was able to reach for my phone.
The tiredness has been hanging over me ever since I woke up, I’ve been typing out what has happened to help me stay awake (yes it is very story like, but forcing myself to edit helped keep me more engaged).
It is now 8am, the sun is out and you are probably wondering if I have left my room yet.
The answer to that is simple.
The breathing is still in my room, I can hear it underneath me.
submitted by TheWritingMephisto
[11/11/2020] Wednesday's Off Topic Free Talk Thread
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