Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Figuring Out a Solution for my PTSD Triggering Problem with Luroy Slats for my Ikea Malm Bed

I freaking hate PTSD, especially Complex PTSD, which is caused from long term trauma (often the result of abuse or war), because it makes my life infinitely harder. (What does this have to do with my bed? Read on.)

When people think of PTSD flashbacks they tend to think of the stereotypical ones where you relive the traumatic event, often with your senses involved, such as visual, auditory, or more. But sometimes there are flashbacks that you don't realize are flashbacks; it took me many years to learn that what I was experiencing was PTSD flashbacks. Emotional flashbacks are intense emotional responses triggered by situations, because your brain gets triggered and thinks that you are back in that traumatic situation, which makes you relive those emotions that you had then. I never understood why I'd react in ways that were "overblown" compared to what actually happened, and felt so stupid about reacting that way, but knowing that it is a PTSD response helps me be just a bit more forgiving to myself. 

When I separated from my ex, I built myself a single bed using some wood I already had from the bed we'd had while married, and some reclaimed wood. A little later I was having back issues and my physical therapist told me that I needed to get a better mattress (mine was at least 20 years old) because the sagging mattress was bad for my back. So I spent money on getting the best and firmest Ikea spring mattress I could afford, because I knew my back was worth the money.

However... all was not good.

Once I had my newer mattress, the flaws in my homemade bed were clear. I must not have sanded down the slats on the bed enough, because the bottom of my brand new mattress was ripped up along the slats. Whenever I needed to pick up the mattress to put on sheets or whatever, I would get so triggered and start having emotional flashbacks. I'd hear the voice of my abuser degrading me, saying things like I'm so irresponsible, I don't think things out, I destroy things, I cause money to be wasted... and I knew I couldn't continue to have that bed. The bed was triggering me a lot. So when I got approved for disability, I used some of the money I got to buy myself a new bed. A bed that wouldn't trigger me the same way.

Or so I thought.

I spent a nice chunk of money on an Ikea Malm bed. I was very particular about the type of bed I'd be getting since my room is quite small and there's no room for a wardrobe in it, so my clothes are all in boxes under my bed and in Ikea shoe boxes that I used to make a headboard. I had to buy new (different dimension) boxes from Ikea and get rid of some of my clothes to be able to fit them, but going around Ikea I found the single bed with the most room underneath it was the Malm bed.

All good, yes? Brand new bed, new enough mattress, problem solved. No more getting flashbacks because of my bed.



I have to say I freaking hate the Malm bed. Well, it isn't just this bed. It's many different Ikea beds. They come with these slats called Luroy and they are notorious for falling off the rails that they are supposed to stay on. (There are so many Reddit threads and Quora questions about this topic which shows that this isn't just me with the issue.) 

Every time the slats fall off the rails and fall down, the mattress falls down, and I need to get off the bed and fix it. I tried duct taping the slats in place and it helped for a little bit and then it happens again. While the rails slats are longer than the edge of the rails, when you go on them, the weight makes it bow and dip towards the ground and it makes it fall off.

And every single time that it happens, I get so triggered.

My bed is my "home". It is the key part of my home. The place where I relax and read books. Where I sit and watch movies. It is my safe space. My place that I come to when I need to hide from the world. The place I curl up into a ball and listen to music and cry when I need to. When my bed isn't usable, its like the earth that is supposed to be under my feet is suddenly gone and I'm falling.

And each time I am sitting or lying on my bed and I need to get off because the slats slipped, I start having such a bad emotional flashback. When it happened once every few months it was bad enough. But over time it kept happening more and more frequently. Each time I taped the slats on better, which meant that each time they fell off I first had to spend a while pulling off all the old tape, taking the entire thing off (because when the slats weren't bent from being weighed down they were too long to fit through the rails, so I had to pull the entire thing off so I could turn the slats diagonally to pull the whole thing out out) and putting it back on and reattaching it.. 

I kept on trying to find solutions but screwing the slats in, which seemed like the best solution at first, meant that the screws would stick out the bottom of the metal rails and likely rip my clothes I keep under there. I had some other possible ideas, but each time I fixed the slats, I put the topic aside.

But each time they fell off, especially since it was totally unexpected and when I was either sitting trying to do something, or lying down in need of a rest, it triggered me more and more. Not only did it make me feel unsafe because my bed, my "rock" was no longer safe to be on, it also made me hear that same "You're so irresponsible, you don't think, you waste money" because I'd be seeing the bottom of my ripped mattress... and I'd hear a voice on a loop telling me that it's all my fault the slats fell off, that I must have built it wrong, and I'm just too fat and thats why... and I'd feel this intense shame and panic... And each time I fixed it and it happened again I would feel this incredible frustration that no matter how hard I worked to fix something it was never enough and never would be good enough, and it would make me feel helpless and hopeless which is another huge trigger of mine. This was one of the biggest and most recurrent triggers of mine.

Especially because I'd have no way to prepare myself for this stress. Just out of the blue. Living my life. And then boom. Spiraling.

And of course, each time I'd spiral more for "making such a big deal out of nothing", yet another line from my abuser.

And even once it was fixed, I would still be in a very unsettled state for hours after. A horrible feeling I couldn't shake off.

Today it happened. Again. It happened last just 3 weeks ago!

I just screamed. I just couldn't anymore. Couldn't stomach another round of trying in vain to "fix" something and having it all go down the drain. 

And I just couldn't anymore. I couldn't take it.

I looked at my watch and saw that it was only around 4:00 PM. I took some measurements with my son hopped into the car and drove down to the lumber mill where I ordered the wood to build my son's loft bedroom, which only is a 10 minute drive away.

When I got there, they told me that they basically closed to the public for the day a few minutes before I arrived, but I told them that if they could help me I would really appreciate it so much. I told them I was having a panic attack which hopefully they could help, but it really was just really bad PTSD. I told them what the issue was and showed them the picture of what the slats did... and told them I wanted to buy a piece of solid wood that would stretch from one side to the other and the entire length of the bed to use instead of the slats because I just couldn't take it anymore. 

They were really nice and accomodating, and I really appreciate them helping me after their hours were more or less over. They told me to keep the slats there, but super glue them down, and then put this wood across the top. It's plywood, but not the thinnest kind, because I needed it to be strong and to not bow.

It cost me about $60. but I honestly don't care how much I needed to spend as long as it fixed this problem and I didn't need to buy a new bed.

Of course when I got home I realized that the measurements I'd taken were incorrect and the wood was too big to fit in my frame. This did not help my anxiety in the slightest. Because now I had spent $60 and my bed still wasn't usable.

Fortunately, after my kids and I hunted around for about 20 minutes, I was able to find the oscilating tool that I used for building my son's room, and I marked off 1 cm that I needed to cut off the edge of the board, and started cutting it. It was killing my back to do that so I got my son to help me finish it.

With that cut off, we finally were able to slide the board into place and put my mattress back on.

I hope this is the last time I ever need to do anything to this bed and what should be a safe place no longer will trigger me.

I hope that if you are also dealing with this shoddy Ikea slats, this solution might help you too and you won't need to go through round after round of temporarily fixing your bed only to have it fail once again.

And if you never understood why someone with PTSD or other mental health issues might suddenly seemingly overreact to something that doesn't seem like it should be such a big deal, maybe my description of what happens when someone has an emotional flashback can help you be more understanding of their reaction. 

And if you maybe have PTSD yourself, maybe you can understand what is happening to you, if you never heard the term emotional flashback before...

Have you had to deal with this really frustrating issue with the Ikea Luroy slats? How did you take care of the issue?
Have you ever heard of emotional flashbacks before? Do you ever have them?


  1. i thin it is a common problem with slats, which doesn't explain why they still sell them. But I have a bed that kept breaking/slipping under the mattress so I looked up on Amazon and they make a thing called "Bunkie Boards" which is basically slats attached with fabric, so I bought one horizontal and one vertical and have ethem both on my bed under my mattress and so far, k.e.h. no problem.

  2. So sorry you had to go through that.


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