Category Archives: Mind

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.

Sharing My #LifeUnfiltered Story

Did you read this article about Madison Holleran? She was a beautiful, smart, accomplished athlete at Penn who took her life last year because she was so depressed. Her friends and family talk about how she was constantly comparing her life to others’ that she saw on Instagram and while she knew that she, too, was posting things that made her life look perfect when it wasn’t, she ultimately wasn’t able to really believe that.

There was another great article that showed what her friends were really thinking when they posted certain shiny happy pictures online.

Loopy Doopy Popsicle Prosecco

Last night, Ashley and I went to the Conrad Hotel’s rooftop bar, Loopy Doopy, to celebrate her sister-in-law’s engagement. On the surface, it looks like I’m happy and enjoying myself (minus that stray hair in my bangs that pissed me off all night) with friends at a swanky NYC rooftop bar.

What you don’t see is the texts to Ashley just an hour before about how I wasn’t sure I wanted to go because I was feeling depressed and couldn’t drag myself out of bed. That I wasn’t sure I wanted to be the only single one with all couples…again.

The other day, I posted a picture of myself doing wheel at work. In a dress.

What you don’t see is the panic attack that came out of nowhere just hours earlier and my amazingly kind manager/friend/favorite person who took a walk with me and held my hand and hugged me while I cried.

I have a blog. I work in social media. I obviously love the good it’s done for us in making the world seem smaller, but I’m also acutely aware of how it can lead us to portray our lives with this shiny veneer and make us feel less than.

The Instagram effect is all too real. I love this quote:

You never know what’s going on just below the surface of that perfectly staged Instagram photo. Don’t assume someone’s life is perfect just because of how it appears. Ask people how they’re doing. If you’re the one struggling, reach out to someone. It scared me telling Jordan and Ashley how I felt, but I’m glad I did. Charlie said it really well: “it’s OK to not be OK.” And it is. We’ve all been there at some point.

On this Mother’s Day, I also just wanted to say that I’m thinking of everyone: my wonderful mother, my wonderful friends who have been blessed with children — but also those who are struggling to get pregnant, those who can’t be with their mothers today, those who have lost their mothers and those who don’t have great relationships with their moms.

That’s enough sap for today, I’m going to go ride my bike.