Former What Not to Wear star Stacy London is getting candid about a very difficult time in her life. In a new essay she penned for Refinery 29, the 48-year-old shared details on her depression, pain, and financial struggles following her December 2016 back surgery, which she says left her "broken."
“The truth is, I didn’t understand the extent to which back surgery would cripple me — emotionally and physically,” she shared. “The time in the hospital alone included some of the most agonizing moments I’ve ever had.”
Her post-surgery year ended up lasting longer than she had expected, which put her in an unfortunate situation where she was worried about her finances. "Everything was foggy" for the TV star during that time. Stacy added,"Which is when I realized I wasn’t just untethered from a job, I was untethered from a purpose. I had nothing to hold on to. And, honestly, I just wasn’t thinking about my finances. In fact, I would have thrown money at anything — material or procedural — to make the recovery process easier."
She continued, "The problem was that while I had planned financially for the first year off, I hadn’t planned for the second. I felt secure enough not to panic right away — I just had to get through six weeks, right? But it became obvious that six weeks was just the start of my recovery, including the first follow-up visit to my surgeon post-surgery (which I am still paying off). I wasn’t even allowed to start physical therapy yet — only venture outside wearing a brace the size of a jet pack."
Stacy eventually started spending a lot of money to cope with the physical and emotional pain that came along with her surgery. And then eventually, she started to really not feel good. “Sometime after the eight-week mark, I started to feel... well, weird,” she wrote. “Paranoid in a way I’ve never experienced before. I didn’t want to go outside because my anxiety of slipping or someone bumping into me was too much to bear. I was so anxious it was impossible to sleep; I’d have uncontrollable fits of crying. I didn’t feel sad exactly, I just felt sick. Like something was eating me alive. As it turns out, what I had been feeling was clinical depression (who knew?), which I later discovered is quite common with surgeries involving the spine, brain, and heart. The body is traumatized on a deep, subconscious level. My guess is the body feels like it’s dying. It’s scary. And no one really explained this to me.”
She added, "You know what is a great salve for depression? Pretending you don’t have it. More fantasies. More shopping. There just wasn’t much else I could actually do to escape what I was feeling physically and emotionally. A kind of hell, really. I begged my surgeon to let me start physical therapy a bit early, which made a difference. In fact, having appointments gave structure to my days and a way to chart my healing."
After many more months of healing, Stacy is feeling better today. "Today, though, there is a new year ahead of me. And I am very conscious of my mistakes and my need to rectify them, not just to stay afloat but to banish this serious knock to my own sense of self-esteem. A lot broke last year. And from all that brokenness, there is no other choice but to affirm life," she said. "It means picking up the pieces of mine off the floor. There are so many shards, sometimes I feel like it will be impossible to put them all back together. Being broken doesn’t presuppose you can put yourself back together just as you were. It means there will be cracks and wounds, battlecries of a life lived and mistakes made. We move forward, and everything changes. Nothing is static, including me. I don’t know if this new year will be better than the last one. Everyone keeps telling me not to worry. How could things get worse? I honestly don’t want to know the answer to that. What I want now is some glue. And hope is very sticky, indeed."