Author Archives: Theodora Blanchfield

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?

OK, So I’m Obsessed with Peloton

Ahhhh, Friday. I have class on Thursday, so I have one marker of what day of the week it is. I typically study through the weekend, so I give myself Friday afternoon to take some time for self-care. Right now that means writing here! And I wanted to do a little Peloton review—of both the bike and the app.

I’ve written a lot here about the heavy emotions I’ve felt during the pandemic, but I want to write more about how I’m managing them (outside of processing them with my saint of a therapist.)

WORKOUTS! My OG coping skill, before all the ones I learned in therapy.

Y’all, I caved. I bought a Peloton. (If you are thinking of it, this code gets you $100 off: 8P95DZ)

An Aquarius at heart, I am reluctant to join most bandwagons, at least at first. Everyone loving something is a good reason for me to not.

But then there was a global pandemic that locked me in my house, and a chunk of change that appeared back in my bank account after my canceled school trip to Japan.

I’d been kind of thinking of buying the bike even before this, though. I’d noticed that my legs still had muscle memory for running but my cardio just wasn’t there, and I wanted another source of cardio. WELL I GOT IT NOW.

And I’m so glad I did. During these days when virtual connection is all we’ve got, it’s PERFECT. I love high-fiving randoms on the leaderboard, I love the ability to ride with friends. (Charlie and I did a ride “together” the other day and even video chatted at the end! It blows my mind I can work out “together” with a friend 5,000 miles away.)

Fun fact: I first tried Peloton years and years ago before they even opened. I have always loved the bikes and have always said they ride like butter, and this has not changed. (Fun fact #2: they aggressively tried to recruit me at one point to run their social media but they were still tiny and I was afraid to take a risk on a smaller startup than DailyBurn. Oops.)

But!! Even if you don’t have the Peloton bike, if you have another spin bike at home, you can still just get a digital subscription (and they are doing a free 90 days right now!) and watch on a phone or tablet. I did this when I was in treatment.

Some of my fave instructors: Robin, Ally, Hannah, Cody (omg he’s so adorable).

My username is theodorable211 if you want to follow me!

And speaking of the app, I’ve been doing a virtual run club with my friends!! At the beginning of the week, we pick about four running workouts—typically a 20-minute fun run, a 30-minute fun run, some kind of 30-minute intervals and a 45-minute longer run for the weekend. My running motivation has been low for a while, so knowing that my friends are doing this workout—and that we’ll talk about it afterwards!—is excellent motivation for me. Some fave running instructors: Robin (I just love anything she does, really), Becs (cutest English accent), Rebecca, Matty. AND I can feel my running getting easier—both because I’m doing it more and because I’m pushing my cardio more on the bike.

I said this the other day on my IG, but for so long my workout mindset has been: I can’t. I’m not in good shape, etc. Which is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Of COURSE your workout is going to suck if you think that way. But having my workout already picked out gives me less time to think and get in my head. I feel like I’m getting stronger and have moved into an “I can” mindset, and it feels good.

A lot of people are picking up new hobbies right now, but running feels new to me right now—I’m excited about it all over again—and that feels really good. It is so good to have as an outlet right now.

pandemic chic: I’m running in this buff, keeping it down until I see people and then putting it up

As long as I’m waxing poetic over Peloton and their app: they also have great strength, foam rolling and yoga classes. For yoga, I adore Kristin McGee. I’ve known her since way back in the day (she used to have a blog!) and she is just the sweetest, and she’s a very smart yoga teacher.

Speaking of yoga, I honestly don’t have more free workouts to share right now that I’ve done (but here’s a good list), except for my fave yoga teacher, Danielle Zuccarelli. I love her for her New Yorker-in-California vibe. If you follow her on IG (linked at her name), she does free IG Live classes sometimes.

What about you? How have you been coping? What kind of workouts are you doing right now?