Author Archives: Theodora Blanchfield

Grateful for…

T’is the season for gratitude, yes? I’ve written these lists a few years, and you can see the ups and downs in my life through them.

This has been a massive year for me. I started the year on a big vacation (great on the outside, but I was still suffering deeply inside) but fell even deeper into depression and checked in to a mental health facility for six weeks.

Back to New York for six weeks, and then I moved to California. I got a dog.

So, here’s what I’m grateful for:

The ability to access the mental health treatment I needed this year. From inpatient to ketamine, I know how lucky I’ve been to be able to get that level of care, and I know how fucking unfair it is that not everyone can.

But I am so grateful for my mental health. It is certainly something I need to work on all the time, but I’m grateful for inpatient giving me more tools to manage it, and for the effectiveness of ketamine for giving me the relief to put those tools in place.

As long as I’m on this mental health tangent, I’m very grateful for my therapist. I was looking for a new therapist even before inpatient, and my doctor recommended her. “Erica is bicoastal, and I’m sure you’ll need that at some point.” I see her when I’m in NYC, when she’s in CA (we sit on the beach sometimes, how is that real life?), and the rest of the time we FaceTime. She’s helped me work through a lot of big emotions—and learn how to actually feel those emotions, rather than stuffing them down—in the most supportive way. But she’s also very direct, and she sometimes makes me so uncomfortable that I am squirming, wanting out of my body and mind. She’s amazing at her job.

California. I moved to my happy place. In a place that’s a little slower (though *I* am still learning to slow down), I’m finding the continued healing I was craving through daily walks on the beach and all the hippie dippie shit I love LA for. The new start is also giving me space to come into my own and really get to know myself without old ties holding me back. I’m grateful for my apartment with an ocean view, I love my car, and I love Santa Monica.

MY DOG. When my doctor recommended ketamine, she also said she thought I should get a dog. “So, club drugs and puppies, huh?” I’d already been on the hunt for a dog and had serious dog fever, and I continued my search. I found Lhasa Happy Homes, a small dog rescue in Southern California, and after applying for one dog and not getting her, I found my furry little best friend. She is the calmest, most well-behaved little girl, and I could not love her more. As I write this, she’s curled up next to me. I forgot how amazing dogs can be for your mental health.

Oh, you wanted another picture of her? Excellent. Here she is in her winter coat for the east coast.

Friends. For both the old friends (MVP award to Morgan) and the new ones I’m making. I know I’m lucky in that I make friends pretty easily.

Family. I definitely took them for granted when my mom was alive, but I’ve become much closer and more grateful for my family since my mom died. I contemplated not coming home for Thanksgiving, but I thought I’d miss my family too much. I’m also excited for Thanksgiving dinner today WITH FOUR DOGS!!! Lucy can’t wait to meet her cousins.

My mom. She’s not here physically any more, but her presence and memory is everywhere, and I know I am so lucky for the 34 years I did have with her, even if they weren’t enough.

I know firsthand how hard the holidays can be, so I’m sending love to everyone reading this, but especially those who might be having a difficult day today.

Heroes of Hope 5K Recap

This morning I ran a really shitty 5K, the Heroes of Hope 5K. (It was me feeling shitty, the race wasn’t shitty.)

I’m about to lose all of my readers who don’t live in warm areas, but it was really freaking hot—80+ when we were done.

My dear friend and former coworker Jordan was looking for her first race postpartum, and I gladly jumped to the challenge! …and then another friend swooped in and found this race happening first. Fine.

The Heroes of Hope Race for Research was to raise money and awareness for childhood brain cancer. There were many attractive men in UCLA Neurology t-shirts, but I’m sad to report that I did not, in fact, take an eligible neurologist home with me.

The race started at Dockweiler Beach (I love that all the races I run are at the beach now), and ran .75 north, turned around, and then ran south from the start and down a big hill to the finish.

We started the race off talking about how easy this used to come for us and how hard it was now, and it continued to be hard. Maybe not the best mindset? I know I’m a different person than I was then, but it’s so hard for me to shake that mindset, though I’m working on it.

The race (“race”?) clearly had a lot of first-time racers who weren’t aware of race etiquette and would come to a complete stop in the middle of the course when they needed to walk. There were also a ton of walkers to weave around. Which is all fine since we were just trying to survive, not PR.

The actual running wasn’t the best, but the company was. (And clearly I have no complaints about oceanfront running.)

It was clearly a super casual race, because we came in 6th/7th in our AG with a time of 31:41. Number one in our AG ran a 24:20.

The race was really just a means to an end, though: breakfast at Uncle Bill’s Pancakes in Manhattan Beach. We’d both been wanting to go for a while and it DID. NOT. DISAPPOINT.

This iPhone pic does, but whatever.

I’m making friends in LA, for sure, but I really miss those deep connections that I had in NYC (that, ugh, I totally took for granted.) Some of my friendships are so new that they’re still pretty surface-level and I just don’t have the level of comfort that I’ve had with friends in the past. (Though I know this will come with time.)

But Jordan and I have known each other for six years. We worked together at Daily Burn and sat next to each other for 50 hours a week for three years. You get to know someone pretty well then, and I was just so happy in that job that I let all of my weird out. I caught myself being so goofy this morning and initially being self-conscious about it, but realizing that Jordan’s seen it all with me—my lows, my highs. I was so grateful to feel so at home with her, and it was such a nice morning.