Why I Share My Mental Health Challenges

If you follow me on Instagram stories (or read my last post), you know I have been in a dark place the past few weeks or so.

To be incredibly honest, I felt really hopeless about my current station in life and didn’t see it getting better. I can usually dig deep and see some light; I saw none. Where things *should* have been light, I could only see darkness, and that made me even more frustrated.

For example, we had a Junior League wellness day and there was an incredibly inspiring panel of female wellness entrepreneurs. This should have been my JAM. And it was, sort of. I sat there in awe of these badass women…but immediately went to feeling frustrated I haven’t accomplished more in my own life. One negative thought led to another, and I found myself sitting on my couch an hour later sobbing with my shades down, wrapped in my favorite blanket. I felt like I was dropping the ball on…everything because I couldn’t motivate.

I was feeling so many physical signs too: fatigue, headaches, jaw pain from grinding my teeth, poor digestion.

Finally, frustrated, I made an appointment with my doctor. “You’ve been talking about not feeling [your own level of] functional since before your mom died. You don’t need to feel this way.” And so we made a med change. I hope I don’t have to take an additional med forever, but if it keeps these feelings of hopelessness away, it’s worth it.

I went to BlogHer Health the other day (thank you, Chase, for the ticket) and was thrilled to see a panel on mental health and media representation on the schedule, talking about the importance of sharing mental health information. There was an exhibit called Be Vocal, Speak Up for Mental Health — its goal is to portray honestly and accurately people living with mental health challenges. It’s showing that it’s not just the overdramatized images we see in the media; it’s also people like me who can (for the most part?) hold down a job, get dressed in the morning and get out of the house. People who put a smile on despite the pain in their hearts. But people who have so much going on that you don’t see.

And that’s why I share. If you didn’t read my blog or follow me on social media, you’d have no idea that I have faced depression and anxiety. You’d just see the races, the dinners out, the trips. You’d just see my highlight reel, like most people’s.

Preppy Runner Ali on the Run Show Theodora Blanchfield

I had the opportunity to be on my friend Ali’s podcast!!!! I’ve listened to it since Day 1, and so it was an honor to be on it (even if I was a little demanding and basically dictated to Ali what I wanted in the show notes.)

I talked really honestly about my career, losing my mom, therapy, etc., and I got so many amazing messages from people thanking me for my honesty or telling me their stories of how they’ve overcome similar or just telling me they’re thinking of me.

And that’s why I share — grief, anxiety and depression can all make you feel so, so alone. (Even though I know I have amazing friends and family.) If I pretend I’m OK (when I’m sure as hell not), nobody else will know how I’m feeling, so then I’ll really feel alone.

By opening up, I realize I’m not alone. So yes, I open up sometimes for selfish reasons, but also because I hope that by showing that when you’re honest is when you realize you’re not at all alone.

You’re never alone, I promise. I’m always here via email [theodora at preppyrunner dot com] or via IG DM [@theodorable], and the Crisis Text Line is always there for text or online chat. You don’t even need to pick up the phone.

16 comments on “Why I Share My Mental Health Challenges

  1. Kristin

    Hi Theodora, I’m sorry to hear you are struggling so with this. Did / do your parents or anyone in immediate family struggle with depression or anxiety? Is it more of a genetic thing or an environmental thing – or combo of both, do you think?

    Reply
  2. Maureen

    I wanted to say that I commend you on your honesty sharing your grief, and mental health. My dad died 11 years ago from cancer when I was 24 and in the time since I have yet to see anyone so accurately articulate and share what it feels like to lose a parent so honestly. Thank you for the instagram stories and all you have written about grief, I have no doubt that it has (and will) help many people who lose a parent or loved one.

    Reply
  3. Nikki

    Theodora, I’ve always loved your blog and your honesty. I’m hoping your new med works for you and you can see the sunshine through the clouds. Thank you for sharing so fearlessly!

    Reply
  4. katie

    I’ve got your episode downloaded to listen while I drive up to my parents house this weekend. Thank you for being vocal, it really does help people to hear honesty, especially when it isn’t the prettiest stuff. Here’s hoping the med change is helpful!

    Reply
  5. tracey

    I love your honesty and can’t wait to listen to the podcast. I’m a long time blog reader and Instagram follower. I always feel uncomfortable commenting on your Insta stories since I don’t actually “know” you, but I wish you so much comfort and peace as you deal with your grief. I suffer from depression and anxiety and can’t imagine how much it would ramp up if I were in the same position as you (losing my Mom). I’m inspired by your honesty and hope that the new medication offers you some relief.

    Reply
    1. Theodora Blanchfield Post author

      I was also feeling SO BAD about feeling bad…and my doctor was like um, you’ve suffered the biggest loss of your life, plus other smaller losses when you’re already prone to depression, of course you’re going to be so depressed.

      Reply
  6. Taylor

    Theodora – we met at the Girls on the Run/Coach Jess last 10 miles of the marathon run back in October. We ran together for a while and talked about how we had not trained for the marathon. ANYWAY.

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful post. As someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, has a partner who struggles with the same, and works for an organization teaching mental health in schools, it really hit home for me. I’m very passionate about destigmatization and actually having conversations about mental health, because it is such a critical part of our own personal culture of health.

    Thank you for using your platform to discuss this. You got this, girl.

    Reply
  7. Lindsay

    I thought this was beautifully written. Thank you for your openness and honesty. You are not alone and it will get better. Hang in there!

    Reply
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  9. Tara

    I am glad you are able to seek help. it can feel so lonely and confusing when you are in a place that noone can see or understand.

    I just started using organic CBD oil for anxiety because I didnt want to get on pharmaceutical medication. It helps with anxiety, depression, pain, gut health and so much more.

    Maybe do some research to find alternatives.

    xoxoxo

    Reply
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  11. Jill

    Make sure that you are getting enough Vitamin D, so many of us can become Vitamin D deficient this time of year. Also so glad that you posted a link to Crisis Text Line – it is a wonderful resource founded by Nancy Lublin, Founder of Dress for Success. Take care of yourself!!

    Reply

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