Tag Archives: grief

Me, After Grief.

Sea Girt

“I’m really proud of how well you’re doing.”

I heard it first from my psychiatrist the other day—a woman who has certainly seen all of the ups and downs over the past 18 months or so. My best friend verified it when I told her how my doctor gave me a huge hug on the way out. “Yup, we all think the same.”

I heard it again last night, sitting across from a dear friend of my mom’s.

“You’re going to be OK, Theodora, I really believe it.”

Quotes About Grief — Somet Things Cannot Be Fixed, They Can Only Be Carried

(this is a great quote from this great book by Megan Devine)

That wasn’t the first time I heard that in these past 53 weeks since losing my mom—but it’s only been the past week or so that I’ve believed it. I sure as hell didn’t believe it four months ago. But here we are. I don’t think grief ever ends —it’s something we carry.

Last year, I wrote: “I feel as though I’m wearing one of those lead jackets they give you for X-rays at the dentist’s office, only it’s made of fear and worry.” After my mom died, that jacket became a heavy lead jacket of grief, depression and hopelessness.

I’ve been wrestling and writhing in discomfort with that jacket, but I think I’ve finally switched it for just a light jacket.

In telling my BFF how I’m trying to reign in spending (eating/drinking/other bad habits grief has been an excuse for) and quite honestly, forgetting how I did that pre-grief, I realized this:

I am not the person I was before my mom got sick. 

I am not the person I was while she was sick, and in that horrific first year of my grief.

I am this new version of me. In some ways, it feels like I am Kimmie Schmidt, just dropped from the bunker. I’m this new person living in this world that’s totally new to me, and I need to figure out so much all over again, which is terrifying and exciting all at once.

I woke up on July 8 feeling like it was the first day of the rest of my life. It’s obviously not just the marker of one year, as Meg reminded me—it’s also all the hard work I’ve done on myself, with myself, with an extensive mental health team.

My doctor reminded me there’d still be some tough days—and I’ve had some “normal” tough days since in addition to a tough grief day, but I’m rebounding so much faster, which is such a relief to me.

But I am legit so ready and open to the future and setting big goals and making big plans.

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.