Author Archives: Theodora Blanchfield

Black Lives Matter

I should have written this post weeks ago, but with lots of work and school deadlines and freezing my eggs and all the appointments associated with that, I didn’t have time to come up for air. And I know that is also a privilege.

I don’t write here very much any more, but I also can’t ignore what’s going on in the world—systemic racism and police brutality against Black people finally getting the attention they should have gotten a long time ago. Black lives matter.

Two good points I’ve seen online:

  • You’re not an influencer if you’re just posting about products to buy—you’re a salesperson. (I don’t consider myself an influencer, but I do have a small audience.)
  • I don’t know how to tell you you should care about other people.

In grad school, I’ve taken a few classes already focusing on cultural differences, for us to educate ourselves on the experience of someone from a different group. I listened to an episode recently on a podcast for therapists about cultural sensitivity and micro-aggressions, and the guest, a Black therapist named Narissa Harris talked about how cultural competency may not be attainable—but cultural humility and recognizing where we’re wrong is more realistic.

This graphic has been floating around social media, and I’ve found it really helpful. I know I’ve fucked up a lot here, in ways that I now recognize and probably in ways I don’t even know about yet. (But am learning.) I think I’ve been called out from time to time here on my privilege and didn’t recognize it. I’ve always realized I’ve been privileged socioeconomically, but never quite realized the extent of that, plus all the other ways I’m privileged, or even the extent of white privilege. (Here’s an interesting article I read for school that enumerates many of the ways white privilege shows up.)

It’s not enough to be silently “not racist”—I’m learning how to be anti-racist, and one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from what I’ve watched is that impact matters far more intent. Just because you didn’t mean for something to be racist, doesn’t mean that it wasn’t.

Cool, Theodora. Lots of words. What are you going to do?

I don’t post regularly enough to make some kind of statement about my content here that I can live up to. What I can do on this site is diversify the kind of resources I share, whether I’m talking about mental health/fitness/spirituality/books/products. (You can find some in this post.)

IRL, I’m working my way through these books, continuing to learn how I can be a culturally humble therapist—and human, donating to Black causes (Loveland Therapy Fund and the Black Journalists Therapy Relief Fund are two near and dear to my heart), and spending my money supporting Black-owned small businesses.

For some reason, particularly Black-owned jewelry businesses are coming onto my radar! (As an FYI, these are *not* affiliate links.)

I AM OBSESSED with Aur Jewelry, which makes jewelry that changes color throughout the day. (The modern mood ring?) I got these studs.

BR Design Co makes really cute and affordable earrings.

This is out of my price range and probably yours too, but one of my friends told me about Mateo New York, and I am drooling.

I know I’ll fuck up, and I know that’s part of this too.

National Mental Health Awareness Month Resources

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I haven’t written a damn thing about it here. Admittedly, I’m at kind of a crossroads with sharing online—I’m starting to think about what I want out there for future therapy clients to find…and also future possible romantic interests. (Yes, I’ve only really started thinking about the latter 11 years in. No, I have no idea why I’m single.)

Plus, I’m really just trying to make it day by day through this pandemic. I’m incredibly lucky in so many ways, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t hell on my mental health some days.

With all of that said, while I sort through what I’m comfortable sharing these days, I still wanted to pull together some resources in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. As always, I think it is so important to talk about mental health, but now more than ever—prescriptions of anti-anxiety meds and antidepressants are up dramatically right now as people’s lives fall apart and people deal with the implications of being isolated. I don’t know about you, but when I am in the thick of depression or anxiety, I feel so alone. My goal in writing has always been to make others feel less alone in their struggles.

What follows is a combination of what I’ve written about mental health plus other resources to help you right now.

Anxiety

I would like to say I’m an early adopter to writing about anxiety—I first wrote about panic attacks in 2012, before there was as much openness about mental health on the internet as there is now.

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

Podcast Ep (remember when I did that?!): How to Deal with Anxiety at Work (with Katherine Schafler, therapist)

How to Overcome Anxiety, Starting Now (Daily Burn)

Depression

Whatever You’re Feeling is OK (this is specifically in regards to our current covid situation but is also universal!)

Not All Objects Are As They Appear: my decision to begin antidepressants

The Workouts I Use in My Mental Health Toolkit

Sharing My #LifeUnfiltered Story

Depression Wanted to Steal My Will to Live: my time in inpatient treatment

What a Friend with Depression Needs to Hear

Ketamine: A Depression Treatment That’s Working: Ketamine was the game-changer for me, and I still get infusions roughly every month. (See also: Former Club Drugs and Puppies)

Grief

I put together a whole page of my grief writing here, and also some other grief resources. Recently, I wrote here about the collective grief we’re all facing right now.

Becoming a Therapist!


If you somehow have missed this, I’m currently in grad school to take what I’ve experienced and use it to help others and become a therapist! It is really overwhelming to think that I still have another 3.5 years before I’ll be a licensed therapist (my heart started racing typing that), but it feels right, and I am so excited.

Going Back to Grad School!

Other Mental Health Resources

Crisis (also 911!)

Crisis Text Line: I have both used this when in crisis and volunteered as a crisis counselor.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (both chat and phone)

NYC Well: Talk/text/chat line

Warmlines: peer-run listening lines staffed by people in recovery themselves—my understanding is somewhere between therapy and a hotline

Meditation

Headspace: Meditation app that is currently free for New Yorkers, Angelenos, healthcare workers and anyone unemployed

I love Gabby Bernstein’s meditations, and she also has a really detailed list here of mental health resources—plus her own mental health story.

Therapy

Psychology Today therapist directory

Talkspace (online therapy…though in this covid time all therapy is online, so)

Advekit: a “therapist matching” service

Open Path Psychotherapy Collective: you pay a one-time membership fee and from then on out, pay between $30-60 a session

Therapy for Black Girls

Therapy for Black Men: According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, Black people are 20 percent more likely to experience serious mental health problems—but may have a more difficult time accessing services, especially finding providers who look like them.

Ayana Therapy: online therapy for marginalized and intersectional communities

One of the things my grad program focuses a lot on is understanding the lives and issues of those in cultures/populations different than ours. As a privileged/cis/white/etc woman, I know I have a TON to learn. And in a private practice setting, I know that a POC likely wouldn’t choose me as their therapist, and I don’t blame them, but when I will be working in the community, my clients won’t have that choice, and I want to show up for them as best I can.

It’s also really important to me to do what I can to improve access to mental health care. I have been beyond lucky and privileged to be able to access the mental health care that I have, and it shouldn’t be that just those with means can access mental health care. I eventually want to set up my own foundation, but for now, I’m donating to the Loveland Foundation Therapy Fund, which provides financial assistance to Black women and girls seeking therapy.

Are there any mental health resources you’d add that have been helpful to you?