Stacey Robbins turned her struggles with Hashimoto’s disease into a journey of healing.
Written by Stacey Robbins
This past year and a half has been weird.
Actually, if I’m being totally honest:
This last lifetime has been weird.
There’s almost no season I can look back on in my life and quote the Staples ad,
“Well, that was easy.”
I’m not sure why that is…maybe it has something to do with my name AND my astrological sign both meaning, “Like a phoenix rising from the ashes.”…
Maybe when you’re here to be a phoenix, that means there’s going to be something to rise from –
And there are going to be ashes involved…
Or maybe not. Sometimes, we know the ‘why’ and sometimes we don’t, but there’s always the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ to deal with:
What do I do with the circumstances I’m in?
How do I make them work on my behalf?
Like this last 18 months…
My then, 12 year-old being bullied to the point that he pulled himself out of school and ended up with PTSD. He was by my side during the day, this tall, hormonal kid who’s definitely an empath – feeling all my emotional twists and turns as I watched him struggle – while at night, he slept sitting up because the acid from the stress in his stomach wouldn’t die down. For four months.
I fell apart because he was falling apart, only I couldn’t show it. I stopped going to yoga, I stopped taking care of myself, and I devoted myself to him being better (which is like putting the proverbial oxygen mask on him first. Mistake #1 on my part.)
After a month of him being home and me being frazzled, my husband announced his division was sold and everyone was losing their jobs. He would be the last to go, working long days and being distracted for long nights.
But it’s okay, because his job ended just in time for our 11 year-old to fracture his foot in soccer and end up in a wheel chair for 2 ½ months, needing to be waited on hand-and-foot in our cozy (read ‘too small for a wheelchair’) condo we rent by the beach in So Cal.
We launched e-books in a kitchen with kids underfoot, needing to be fed and supported while my husband was looking for work and I was going to school: First for my certified health coaching and then, for my yoga teacher cert.
The pickle on the sundae was our landlord surprising us with a 30% rent increase as a ‘thank you’ for taking care of his property during two years of mind-numbing construction.
I waved the little white flag.
Something had to change…
The Hashimoto’s diagnoses happened 20 years ago – give or take a couple of years of misdiagnosis where I gained 100 pounds, looked like an alien, and felt like poop on a cracker. I went from being a successful musician and recording artist – who was booked a year or two out for events — to sitting on my couch, staring at the ceiling and wondering what happened to ‘Life As I Knew It.’
It was a process for me those years of mystery, where it just seemed like my life and body were failing, one part after another.
First it was my energy.
Then, it was the infections.
And the body aches,
And the depression.
I feel like I’m being unfair to the other symptoms if I don’t give them a nod:
The skin reactions.
The crankiness, anxiety and mood swings.
The brain fog, memory loss, and disconnect.
And of course, libido that escaped down the fire exit and took off for Aruba without telling me.
I tried to plow through, keep going, and pretending.
But you can’t hide 100 pounds and exhaustion when you’re standing on a stage in front of hundreds of people.
After two years of muscling through, I got the diagnosis, ‘Hashimoto’s’ and after muscling through a little while longer, thinking I could fix what I didn’t even understand was broken,
I waved the little white flag.
Will power and performance-pressure weren’t going to cut it anymore:
Something had to change.
The years that followed were part of that beautiful mess I would call ‘healing.’
When you stop trying to get skinny as your main goal of the day and you start trying to figure out what the hell happened to you and what you’re going to do about it.
I spent a lot of time in reflection: About my somewhat tragic childhood and my choices that followed. Whether it was my work-aholism, food hang-ups or relationships – I was looking at patterns that were a reflection of what my body was telling me: It was at war with itself. Hashimoto’s is when the body turns on itself and goes to war against its own thyroid (which affects every cell in the body.)
And now, I was seeing where I was also at war with me – in my thoughts, patterns and beliefs – as well as my relationships and spirituality. In all of those places, I had the screwed-up belief that punishment was the just reward for my imperfections. My life of trying to be perfect had failed me and all I had ended up with, was being an enemy of myself.
Hashimoto’s, grounding me on my living room couch, making me fat, ugly, sick and bitchy, gave me that opportunity to see.
So, I went on a new journey – one where I explored what it would be like to actually love myself and be kind to me. To stop expecting perfectionism and start accepting me, in all my glory – and not-so-glory.
I ended up finding different practitioners to help me, and I started actually taking the supplements on my counter (instead of staring at them) and I started making food changes and moving my body – from places of love and not fear.
Okay, there was some fear, but at least I could see it and understand it for what it was instead of letting it drive me to perform like I used to…
That road led me to getting better, losing 80 pounds, and helping others. It led me to writing my book, “You’re Not Crazy and You’re Not Alone: Losing the Victim, Finding Your Sense of Humor and Learning to Love Yourself through Hashimoto’s” where I share my story and learnings of 20 years so I can short cut others…
…to help others see that this journey brings out the Alchemist in us: Where we can use our circumstances and turn them into gold.
This path that’s hard can become the same ground we walk toward our healing.
It’s our pilgrimage.
We don’t have to keep waiting for new circumstances: We can take the ones we have and turn them into our opportunity to do something great.
That’s what I did with Hashimoto’s years ago, and that’s what our family is doing now.
We’re going on a journey.
We’re taking this weird year and turning it into a Magical, Healing Adventure: Packing up everything and putting it in storage, leaving our condo, and going on the road for a couple of months to meet with women who have Hashimoto’s all over the country. Through the workshops, dessert evenings, and coaching sessions we’re going to have the most amazing, healing time – full of laughter, inspiration and support – where women (and those who love them) will feel loved and encouraged, instead of crazy and alone.
I’m so excited to be with everyone! To have them feel the love and care my family has for each one there – as they form stronger community with the other Hashi girlfriends in their area and get the support they need.
It’s a win-win-win. Yay!
Do I know why I have Hashimoto’s? No.
Do I know why I’ve had the weird year (or lifetime) I’ve had? No.
But even when we don’t know why something is hard, we can find that powerful Alchemist that lives deep within and turn this thing that threatens to undo us
into something healing
That’s the power we have.
And sometimes, it’s the circumstances we find ourselves in
that help us to see
just how powerful
we truly are.
About Stacey Robbins
After almost 20 years of dealing with symptoms, gathering wisdom, and doing tons of inner work, Stacey Robbins wrote You’re Not Crazy And You’re Not Alone: Losing the Victim, Finding Your Sense of Humor, and Learning to Love Yourself Through Hashimoto’s.