Back in January we learned that What Not to Wear‘s Stacy London started off 2018 with a new, more positive mindset when she shared that she was letting go of grudges and “finding peace” by unblocking people on social media (like her old co-host Clinton Kelly). But in a new article written for Refinery 29, she revealed that her fresh new start to 2018 was the result of picking herself up from one of the worst years she ever experienced — when she nearly went broke.
In her article, she writes that her year of breakdowns all started in December 2016 when she needed to have spine surgery after suffering from chronic back pain. Despite being told she would have have six weeks of recovery, the experience post-surgery was “crippling – emotionally and physically” she wrote. She developed anxiety about going outside and experienced uncontrollable fits of crying. “I didn’t feel sad exactly, I just felt sick.”
She learned that she was suffering from clinical depression and could not find the motivation to work, even if her bank account could have used the boost. After coming off a sabbatical year in 2016, she wasn’t as prepared for the financial burden of not being able to work — but none of that reality caught up with her in the moment, especially as she began coping with depression by escaping into the realm of online shopping.
Stacy London ‘Finds Peace’ by Unblocking People on Social Media After Clinton Kelly Calls Her Out
“Shopping provided me with a very interesting version of magical thinking at this time,” she wrote. “I imagined parties and places I’d go, the people I’d be with, and when I bought this one last dress, shoe, bag, or necklace, my image in these imaginary scenarios would somehow be complete…or whole. I realize now it was just a fantasy future, to distract me from an agonizing present. And it was easy to fool myself.”
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She also spent to distract herself from the dissolution of her relationship with her boyfriend, booking fancy hotels and ordering an entire suitcase full of “photo wardrobe” clothing for a European trip she planned in an attempt to reconnect. They broke up while on the trip, and she returned to find her apartment severely damaged from flooding; shortly thereafter, she received the devastating news that a friend took his own life.
“If I wasn’t completely broken before, I was now,” she said. “Life has barely made sense since then. I doubled up on physical therapy sessions. I hired a trainer. I bought oodles of vintage bags and more Zara coats. I even started looking at country houses upstate and apartments in Manhattan…to BUY! Because I was determined to live. I was determined to have a life that made me happy. Why I thought material items had that much to do with it, I can only attribute to wanting things that stay. Because heartbreakingly, people can’t always do that.”
By the end of 2017 she received the news from her accountant that she did not have as much money as she thought. She started selling off anything she could and recognized her need to have to get rid of this habit.
“A lot broke last year. And from all that brokenness, there is no other choice but to affirm life. It means picking up the pieces of mine off the floor,” she wrote, adding that she’s working hard to do just that.